Visiting a chiropractor

What to expect on your first visit

Your chiropractor may be treating your back pain, neck pain, headache, or other aches and pains, but he or she needs a complete picture of your health history and overall current health in order to provide the best possible treatment for you.

On your first visit, your chiropractor may ask about the following:

  • What brought you to see the chiropractor
  • How your condition is affecting you, and what are you trying to achieve by seeing a chiropractor
  • Personal and family medical history
  • Major illnesses you have experienced
  • Surgeries or operations you have had
  • Medications you are taking
  • A description of your present condition
  • The steps you have taken to manage your condition
  • Your diet and exercise
  • Your sleeping habits, daily activities, work routine, stress level, and home life

It is a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and shoes for your visit to the chiropractor. Your chiropractor may perform some of these tests:

  • A check of your blood pressure, pulse and breathing
  • A test of your reflexes, strength and sensations
  • Orthopedic tests
  • An analysis of your posture
  • An X-ray of your spine
  • An analysis of your movement — he/she will observe how you walk, turn, bend or lift things, as well as how your body moves in the affected area
  • A hands-on evaluation of how well your spine moves, identifying restrictions and areas of improper motion

Tip: Bring a copy of any X-rays or radiology reports you have. These assessments give your chiropractor a better picture of your complete health. He or she will make a diagnosis, prescribe a course of treatment, and once the matter of informed consent has been discussed, treatment usually begins.

Your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment specific to you that may also include mobilization of the joints, soft tissue therapy, electrotherapies such as ultrasound, and therapeutic exercises. Chiropractors may also provide nutritional counselling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies. Your chiropractor will discuss any treatment options with you so that you can collaboratively decide together on the best course of action for you.
If your chiropractor diagnoses a condition more appropriately treated by another health care professional, he or she will make a referral.