When you attend a chiropractic office for the first time, it has a greater chance of being a positive experience if you learn more about what happens there.

The spine and other joints are adjusted by chiropractors in order to improve their position. Chiropractors call this manipulation or adjustment. But chiropractic care includes more than spinal adjustments. Chiropractic doctors go to school about as long as medical doctors do.

During their training, chiropractor have been taught how to assess nerve function, as well as the range of motion in your spine and large joints.

As with other doctor appointments, the first visit starts with your medical history and a physical exam.

During Your Visit: Medical History

First visits often last about an hour. Your chiropractor will ask about your medical history and about your symptoms. Tell your chiropractor about:

  • Your reasons for seeking assistance
  • Injuries in the past
  • Any medical conditions you may have
  • If you take any medications
  • Using alcohol or drugs of any kind
  • Diet, exercise, stress, and sleep all affect your lifestyle.

It can be more time efficient to answer your medical questions when you are at home rather than at the doctor’s office. This will also help you focus on the problematic area during your face to face appointment.

Physical Exam

During the physical examination, your chiropractor will take your medical history, move your joints, and watch how you walk. He or she will also check your reflexes, range of motion, and strength. In some instances, your chiropractor might also order X-rays.

Treatments that work

A chiropractor might start treatment at your first visit. If that’s the case, this is what may happen:

  • On a special treatment table you will lie for an adjustment.
  • In general, your neck or back will be stretched to its maximum range by the chiropractor.
  • An extra thrust will be used by the chiropractor in making the adjustment.
  • If you crack your knuckles, you will probably hear a popping sound.
  • There should be no discomfort when you undergo an adjustment.

Your chiropractor might give other treatments along with an adjustment. This could include heat or ice and a muscle massage.

Following treatment,

Before you leave the chiropractor’s office, you may be given exercises to do at home. Chiropractors are trained to help you with diet and nutrition and they do not prescribe drugs, but they might give you diet advice as well as recommend supplements to your diet.

Following your treatment, you can be expected to be scheduled for a follow-up visit. Most chiropractic treatments require several visits. The chiropractor may suggest two or three visits a week.

Your second visit is usually shorter than your first, lasting from 10 to 20 minutes. Be sure to ask your chiropractor how long your treatments will last so you know when you can expect to see results.

In some cases, you might feel a certain amount of soreness in the area that the chiropractor has adjusted. Tell your chiropractor if the pain does not go away or progressively worsens.