Your first visit to see a chiropractor should take some time. If the doctor walks into the room and immediately tries to “crack” your spine, leave as fast as possible. No reputable chiropractor would ever begin to adjust the patient without knowing any information about their particular case.
The doctor should first sit down with you and discuss your problem in detail. They should ask a number of questions. When did your pain begin? Where does it hurt?
Does the pain ever travel to different areas of your body? Are their any positions, or a time of day when your pain is better or worse? Have you ever had pain like this before? If you had to describe the pain, does it feel sharp, dull, or achy? All of these questions are important to determine exactly what is causing your problem.
After the doctor has asked all of the questions they need, they should move onto an examination of your spine. Depending on the chiropractor you see, the exam may vary some, but it will likely include a number of different tests. They may check your range of motion to see if any movements are restricted or cause an increase in your pain. Orthopedic tests may be performed to test your joints, while neurological testing may be done to determine how your nerves are functioning.
After the doctor has completed the exam, they may decide that x-rays of your spine are necessary. If they take x-rays, your doctor will be looking for a number of things. First, they will ensure that there are no broken bones or any sign of disease in the spine. However, unlike medical doctors, your chiropractor will also use x-ray to check the alignment of your spine. They will check to see if each vertebrae is lined up properly with the vertebrae over and below it. They will also look to see if the vertebrae has rotated to one side or the other.
After the doctor has all of the information they need, he should then explain in detail his findings and recommend a treatment plan for your problem. Only after all of this has been completed should the doctor begin your treatment. Our next post will detail what you should expect for your first chiropractic treatment.