What to Expect on Your First Chiropractic Visit

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There is no need to be nervous about your first chiropractic visit.  If anything, the chiropractor helps you relax and “sets things straight” for you.

by Kristy Donnelly, D.C.

Many of our patients have not been to a chiropractor before coming to one of our offices.  Some of them are nervous because of stories they may have heard in the past.  Many people say they are afraid to “get their neck cracked.”  Then they are surprised about how their first visit proceeds.

chiropractic visit
Here is what it looks like during your first chiropractic visit:

  1. Just like any doctor’s office, the patient fills out some paperwork; and we need to verify the patient’s chiropractic coverage through their insurance.
  1. The chiropractor goes through a thorough history of all of the patient’s medical history including any past accidents, surgeries or illnesses to make sure they are candidates for chiropractic treatment.
  1. A detailed physical examination will be performed which may include temperature, blood pressure, posture analysis, reflex tests, muscle testing and range of motion as well as specialized neurologic and/or orthopedic tests. At that point, the chiropractor will determine if any x-rays, MRIs or any other imaging is warranted to rule out any pathology.

Many serious illnesses such as kidney infections, gallstones or even tumors can cause back pain. Chiropractors are trained to be able to recognize signs of serious pathology and refer the patient to get necessary testing done to exclude illnesses.

Since we can’t write prescriptions, we can also refer our patients to a medical doctor if this is something they need. Many chiropractors have an x-ray machine in office and may take x-rays on the first visit.

  1. As long as patients are candidates for physiotherapy, we may begin treatment with various modalities such as Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS), therapeutic ultrasound, intersegmental traction, decompression, stretches, and/or exercises.

At this point, the patient’s muscles are usually more relaxed, and then we talk to them about doing an adjustment.  If they have been in an accident recently or do not want a manual adjustment, then we can do an instrument adjustment which is a gentler option.

Some of our patients are either not candidates for manual adjustments or prefer not to receive them. This simply means that we customize a treatment plan for them that does not include the adjustments that cause a cavitation or popping sound.

We encourage our patients to ask questions so they fully know what to expect from their time with us and feel comfortable about their treatment options at our clinic.

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Dr. Kristy Donnelly

Author: Dr. Kristy Donnelly

Kristy Donnelly, D.C. is not just a Chiropractic Physician, but also a certified nutrition coach, and personal trainer, thus providing a well-rounded approach to patient care. She taught Anatomy at Florida State College in Jacksonville, and fitness classes in college.

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