It's normal to feel a little nervous before a new type of healthcare appointment. Chiropractic care is safe, and usually, patients walk out feeling even better than when they walked into the office. Here, we'll take a look at exactly what you can expect from your first appointment with a chiropractor.
Step One: Health History
Before you meet with a chiropractor, expect that you'll fill out forms detailing your health history. This helps your chiropractor understand more about your needs, and can help them tune into any underlying issues that could be creating pain or discomfort.
Step Two: Chiropractic Exam and Diagnostics
After you complete your health history, be prepared to discuss your reason for seeking chiropractic care. Your chiropractor will conduct an exam to assess your reflexes, blood pressure, pulse, and other factors that will inform your care.
Be sure to talk with your chiropractor about any pain or discomfort you've been experiencing so that they're able to customize your exam to ensure your comfort. After your exam, your chiropractor may run diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, to get more information that can inform your treatment plan.
Step Three: Treatment Plan Discussion
After your exam, your chiropractor will talk with you about their findings. You'll have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the potential implications of any chiropractic issues noticed during your exam. If both you and your chiropractor agree to move forward with treatment, they'll talk with you about a potential treatment plan.
Your treatment plan may specify the types of chiropractic treatment necessary to improve your health, at-home exercises or stretches to take to ease any pain or discomfort you've been experiencing, and/or lifestyle changes. Sometimes, a chiropractor may decide that a patient is not a good fit for chiropractic care. If this is the case, your chiropractor will talk with you about alternative treatment options for your issue.
Step Four: Chiropractic Treatment
Once the determination is made that chiropractic treatment is a good fit for your symptoms, you may begin your treatment plan at your first appointment. Your exact chiropractic treatment will depend on your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Many chiropractic treatment plans include chiropractic adjustment, during which your chiropractor gently manipulates your joints by hand. Chiropractic adjustments do not hurt, and many people find that they have immediate pain relief following an adjustment. Your treatment may also include strengthening exercises, stretching, and other treatments that work to help align your body and provide symptom relief.
Step Five: Schedule Follow-Up Care
A chiropractor may give you steps to follow in between appointments to ensure that you continue to experience symptom relief. You'll also schedule your next appointment based on your chiropractor's recommended visit frequency. If you have any questions or concerns between appointments, it's important to ask your chiropractor to see if you should come in sooner than scheduled.
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