What to Expect

What to Expect During your First Visit with a Chiropractor

Although each Chiropractor’s process will vary, there are a number of things you can expect at your first appointment.

Before your treatment

While a typical visit to the Chiropractor lasts about 15 minutes, your first visit will take much longer. Set aside at least 60 minutes, and wear comfortable shoes.

As a new patient, you will first be asked to complete a full medical history questionnaire. Topics on the form may include:

  • 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

Your Chiropractor may also want to see copies of any recent X-rays or radiology reports that you have. He or she will then complete a full physical examination, which will include an analysis of the following factors:

  • Reflexes, strength and sensations
  • Posture
  • Movement
  • Spine mobility
  • Muscle tension/strength imbalances
  • Joint pain/restrictions

At this point, your Chiropractor will make a diagnosis, construct an individualized treatment plan with you, and ask for your informed consent to begin treatment.

During treatment

At this point, your Chiropractor will give you your first adjustment—he or she will apply manual pressure or movement to your joints. This adjustment will loosen the joint to restore proper movement and function. During adjustment, it is normal to hear gas escaping from the joint, which creates a popping or cracking noise.

After treatment

There are three stages of Chiropractic care: relief care, which involves one treatment to address immediate pain, restricted mobility or comfort; corrective care, which involves recurring treatments to address an ongoing condition; and support/maintenance care, which involves regular visits to maintain the progress you have made through corrective care. Your stage of care will dictate how often you should return to see your Chiropractor.