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What to Expect at your first Chiropractor Exam

We will do everything in our power to help relieve your symptoms as fast as possible – with as few treatments as necessary .  We’ll also give advice on how to avoid future episodes of back pain or sciatica. Because this profession has a wide variety of practice philosophies and techniques, individuals should feel comfortable asking all the questions necessary to understand the chiropractic examination, diagnosis, and treatment program.

Your First Chiropractic Visit

We’ll have an initial interview either over the phone or in person that is focused on discussion (e.g. our philosophy, expertise and general approach, and your personal preferences).  The initial clinical exam, generally includes:  Patient History and Symptoms,  Chiropractic Exam, and Diagnostic Studies.

Patient History and Symptoms

In preparation for the chiropractic consultation, you will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about his or her symptoms and condition. Types of questions typically include:

  • When and how did the pain 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 start as a result of an injury?
  • What activities/circumstances makes it better or worse?

Patients are usually asked to provide information on family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments.

The Chiropractor Exam

A thorough chiropractor exam may include general tests such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes, as well as specific orthopedic and neurological tests to assess:

  • Range of motion of the affected part
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength
  • Neurological integrity

Further chiropractic tests may be necessary to assess the affected area, such as having the patient move in a specific manner, posture analysis, or chiropractic manipulation of the affected body part.

Diagnostic Studies

Based upon the results of the patient’s history and chiropractic exam, diagnostic studies may be helpful in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities to more accurately diagnose a condition. Diagnostic studies are not always necessary and will only happen if we have good reason to believe that the X-ray or other test will provide information needed to guide your treatment program.

The most common diagnostic studies during chiropractic exams include:

  • X-ray exam
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
  • Other laboratory tests

We can perform basic X-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are referred to an outside center.

Patient Diagnosis after the Chiropractor Exam

Findings from the combination of the above described history, physical examination and any required diagnostic studies lead to a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, wewill determine if the condition will respond to chiropractic care.