If you are experiencing chronic pain or muscle aches, your primary doctor might refer you to a chiropractor. While the concept of what a chiropractor does is well known, you may have some questions about what the experience will be like if you've never paid one a visit before. Here are some tips to follow to make sure your first chiropractor visit goes smoothly.
Write Down Your Symptoms in Detail
A first chiropractor visit will include a detailed conversation in which the chiropractor will seek to understand exactly what ails you. In the days ahead of your visit, pay attention to your body. Write down things like the exact location of the pain, if the pain tends to spread after certain activities, when and how the pain first started and so on. Close your eyes and focus on how the pain feels. Is it a constant throbbing or does it come sharply but then recede for a while? All of this information could help with your treatment.
Be Prepared for a Lengthy Exam Prior to Treatment
If the pain is particularly bad, you may want your chiropractor to just jump in and start treating you. But you should prepare yourself for a lengthy physical exam at the start of your first session and keep in mind that the exam itself could actually feel unpleasant. The chiropractor will need you to demonstrate the range of motion you have for the affected part of your body and will examine things like muscle strength by asking you to move the body part around. This could end up being physically painful, but it is a necessary first step so that the chiropractor can pinpoint the best treatment options.
A Full Diagnosis Might Not Be Made at Your First Visit
Sometimes the chiropractor will need more information than just a physical exam to determine the exact problem. This can be frustrating as a patient, but you need to have a mindset of being in this for the long haul. For example, the chiropractor might ask you to take an X-ray exam or to go get an MRI so that more information can be obtained. Sometimes other lab tests like blood work might even be required.
When going to the chiropractor for the first time, show up with as much detailed information about your source of pain and symptoms to help the chiropractor diagnose the problem. But understand if a full diagnosis or even treatment can not be given right away. You can expect to undergo a lengthy physical exam and possibly more advanced tests before the chiropractor will go to work on your body.