What Happens At Your First Visit?

What a chiropractor will do on the first visit

Your first visit can last from 30 to 45 minutes. The length depends on the chiropractor, injury or condition you’re there to treat. Subsequent visits are usually quicker, but there are three main goals for the first visit:

  1. Start identifying the cause of the problem.
  2. Build the therapeutic relationship between you and your chiropractor.
  3. Discuss a recommended plan of treatment.

Your chiropractor will ask you to fill out some basic forms detailing your medical history. Family medical history, pre-existing conditions or other health-related information can help with treatment. Highlighting your health history is the most crucial step. It’s considered as or more important than the physical assessment itself. This provides the chiropractor with insight into your condition to start to narrow down what may be ailing you, faster.

What a chiropractic exam includes

After the chiropractor reviews your paperwork, they’ll do an exam. this will constitute asking you a series of questions about what your current and past issues. The chiropractor may ask questions like, is there a burning sensation? Is the pain sharp, travelling or radiating? All of these questions can help pinpoint the source of the patient’s problem, discomfort or pain. So, be completely truthful. Describe the level of and type of pain you're experiencing as well as where it's located.

Even if you're not sure of the right words to describe what you are feeling, do your best, and most importantly, if you're not sure, say so! We can always ask questions in different ways to help get the information that we are looking for.

Next, will be the neurologic and othopedic exam. Basically this is to make sure that there is a clear understanding of the problems and non-affected structures. You may need to twist your body in different ways to check your range of motion and particular structures. Your chiropractor may press on areas and ask if it hurts to help identify the problem.

What happens when you get a chiropractic adjustment

If you get an adjustment during your first visit, expect a painless procedure in most cases. The chiropractor may pull, push or rotate a section of your body. You may hear a “popping” sound as your joints move. Don’t be alarmed! It’s a completely normal side effect of joint cavitation. And sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.

While some patients even report that an adjustment causes instant relief, that sudden relief may or may not happen on your first visit, depending on your condition and its severity.

What to do after a chiropractic adjustment

After the adjustment, you may experience a little muscle soreness, but it will likely resolve quickly. This is common as your spine and muscles adapt to the correct range of motion.

I always tell my patients to listen to their body. If you feel good, don’t push yourself. If you don’t feel good, contact your chiropractor immediately. If you have more questions or concerns, write them down to be discussed at a follow-up visit.


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