What to Expect on Your First Visit
Many new patients are not sure what to expect during their first appointment with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). Chiropractors start by taking a patient’s history and then performing a physical examination to develop a working diagnosis. Imaging or lab tests (such as MRI, CT scan or X-ray) may be used to confirm a diagnosis.
The combination of the history, exam, and diagnostic studies will enable your doctor of chiropractic to reach a diagnosis, which will help him or her to determine whether chiropractic services are appropriate for your condition. If your doctor determines you would be more appropriately managed or co-managed by another health care professional, he or she will make the proper referral.
Through a process of shared decision-making, you and your doctor will determine if chiropractic services are right for you. As part of this process, the doctor will explain your condition, recommend a treatment plan and review the risks and benefits of all procedures.
Based on the extent, timing or severity of the patient’s condition, chiropractic interventions may require several visits. Patients may also receive advice on home care, lifestyle modifications, exercise instruction and nutritional advice.
Some of the best things you can do to promote healing after an adjustment include:
• Use an ice pack on the treated area (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off)
• Sleep on a suitable support system – a mattress and pillow, not a couch or recliner
• Avoid heavy lifting
• Refrain from intense exercise for at least three to five days
• Eat a balanced diet
• Drink plenty of water
• Wear properly fitting, comfortable shoes
When to schedule a follow-up session
Patients sometimes make the mistake of allowing themselves to receive treatment once and then fail to follow up with their chiropractor for the recommended treatments afterward. For this reason, patients can still feel pain after their initial adjustment. You should complete the treatment plan that you discuss with your chiropractor for optimal performance.
Chiropractic: A Safe Treatment Option
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of back pain, neck pain, joint pain of the arms or legs, headaches, and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.