What Can I Expect When Visiting a Chiropractor?
What is a chiropractic visit like? A visit to the chiropractor begins when you walk through the clinic door and are greeted by the receptionist. Visits are very similar to what you might expect at any health clinic.
- Information: Paperwork is provided to you to be completed including a health history form and information about your health complaint. You may also be asked for contact information for your patient file. The reception staff can also answer any questions you may have about what to expect.
- Case History: Once in the exam room, your chiropractic doctor will introduce him/herself, review your paperwork and ask further questions about your condition and history. Further notes are made to your chart depending on your answers.
- Examination: A physical exam is conducted which may mean touching or palpating areas of your body. Your chiropractic doctor will also look for neurological symptoms that could point to an injury involving your nerves. An x-ray or other imaging is recommended in some cases. This will also include some physical tests such as leaning your body to one side and then the other, checking your reflexes and or moving your arms and legs. Depending on your symptoms, you may be asked to wear a gown for examination and treatment purposes.
- Diagnosis: The exam provides clues for your doctor as to what is causing the problem. After all of this information is gathered, your doctor will provide you with a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects that your problem is not caused by the spine, you may be referred to a specialist or other health care provider.
- Informed Consent: Your doctor will discuss the informed consent form with you and request your signature before you continue treatment. Informed consent is about ensuring the patient is clear as to the diagnosis, treatment options and anticipated outcomes of the treatment.
- Treatment: A treatment plan including the types of treatment and how many visits is proposed and discussed. Your doctor will make sure you understand what this means. Once you understand your treatment plan and feel comfortable moving forward, your doctor will perform the treatment, which may consist of a chiropractic adjustment. Adjustments are generally performed on a chiropractic table, similar to a massage table.
- Prevention: How did you end up in this situation? Your doctor will help you identify the cause of your condition, whether it is from poor posture while studying, a repetitive strain injury from the workplace or anything else in between. Exercises and lifestyle advice will accompany your treatment plan. The goal is to get you well and keep you well.
After your visit you may feel some discomfort or fatigue but this should not last more than 24 hours. Many patients feel relief and increased mobility immediately after treatment while others notice changes more gradually. If you follow your treatment plan, you should notice a change in your level of pain or mobility within 3 to 5 visits and maximum recovery within on average 6-8 visits* depending on the nature of the condition or injury. Your Doctor of Chiropractic will review and discuss what you can expect from your treatment.
*Although the Provincial average is 6-8 visits, the range is large with some patients responding much quicker and a few taking much longer.