Because the chiropractic profession has an abnormally large range of practice philosophies and chiropractic techniques, individuals should feel comfortable asking all the questions necessary to comprehend the chiropractic examination, diagnosis, and treatment program.
The First Chiropractic Appointment
Sometimes people ask for an initial interview with the chiropractor either on the phone or in person that is centered on discussion (e.g. about the chiropractor’s approach, knowledge and general approach, and the patient’s preferences) and does not include a clinical examination.
Good chiropractors do whatever in their power to help relieve their patient’s symptoms as fast as possible – with as few treatments as necessary – and also give advice on how to avoid future episodes of back pain or sciatica.
This article explains what sufferers can expect during the initial chiropractic consultation. This initial consultation involves the chiropractor completing a exam lasting 45 minutes or more.
On the first formal office appointment. The patient will have a Chiropractic professional exam, which generally includes three areas:
1. Patient History and Signs and Symptoms.
In preparation for the chiropractic consultation, the patient will be asked to fill out forms that give background info about his or her symptoms and condition. Kinds of questions typically consists of:
* When and how did the irritation start?
* Where is it located?
* Describe the pain – is it sharp, dull, searing/burning, or throbbing? Does it come and go, or is it continual?
* Did the pain begin as a result of an accident?
* Which activities or circumstances make the pain get better or worse?
Patients are typically asked to provide information on family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or previous injuries, and past and present health providers and treatments.
2. The Chiropractic Exam.
A thorough chiropractic exam includes general tests such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and reflexes, as well as certain orthopedic and neurological checks to assess:
- Range of motion of the affected part.
- Neurological health
- Muscle tone.
- Muscle strength and power.
Further chiropractic tests could be necessary to determine the overall health of the injured area, such as having the client move in a particular manner, posture evaluation, or chiropractic manipulation of the impaired body part.
3. Xray and Other Diagnostic Imaging.
Based upon the results of the patient’s history and chiropractic exam, diagnostic studies (or imaging) may be helpful in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities to more accurately diagnose a condition.
Diagnostic tests are not always necessary during the chiropractic exam, and should only be carried out if the chiropractor has a good reason to believe that the X-ray will provide information needed to direct the patient’s treatment plan. The most common diagnostic studies include:
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans.
- Various other laboratory assessments.
Many chiropractors can perform basic X-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are usually referred to an outside center.
First Session Treatment.
Most chiropractors begin treatment during the patient’s initial visit, although some may wait until the next appointment.
Chiropractic treatment may include some or all of the following:
- Adjustments to key joint problems. (using techniques agreed upon by the patient).
- Various treatments to improve soft tissue recovery and reduce pain, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and even traction.
- Patient information to improve posture and motor control, as well as reducing stress, anxiety and tension.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises to further improve muscle balance, strength, and coordination.
4. Continuing the Treatment
The goal of the initial treatment is always to eliminate pain as much as possible.
Because the philosophy of chiropractic care is the body will heal itself, the chiropractor’s job is to put the tissues into the best position for healing to occur. Getting the patient out of pain is always their primary job. Then the healing can begin.
Future treatments will continue this pattern and put your joints back into the most ideal possible alignment and locations so that natural healing can continue.