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.
- Initial Information: You will complete a health history form and be asked for contact information for your patient file. The reception staff will answer any questions you may have about what to expect.
- Case History: Once in the examination room, your chiropractic doctor will introduce themselves, review your paperwork and ask further questions about your condition and history. Further notes are made to your chart depending on your answers.
- Informed Consent: Your doctor will discuss the informed consent form with you and request your signature before the examination. Informed consent is about ensuring the patient is clear as to the diagnosis, treatment options and anticipated outcomes of the treatment.
- Examination: Your chiropractor will conduct a physical examination which may mean touching or palpating areas of your body. They 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 examination provides clues for your doctor as to what is causing the problem. After they have gathered all of this information, your doctor will provide a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects that the problem is caused by something out of chiropractic scope of practice, they will refer to a specialist or other health care provider.
- Treatment: Your doctor will propose and discuss a treatment plan including the number of visits required. Once you understand your treatment plan and feel comfortable moving forward, your doctor will treat you which may include an adjustment. Adjustments are generally performed on a chiropractic table, similar to a massage table. If you are not comfortable with an adjustment, your chiropractor will utilize other therapies to treat you.
- Prevention: Your doctor will help you identify the cause of your condition, whether it is from poor posture, a repetitive strain injury or anything else in between. They will prescribe various exercises and offer lifestyle advice to accompany your treatment plan. The goal is to get you well sooner faster 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 the 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 6-8 visits* on average, 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 to recover.