Originally published: April 2016
It is common to have questions and even trepidations before your first visit to any new healthcare provider. Luckily, chiropractors know that new patients may need extra time to discuss their questions or concerns. You can play a role in your own chiropractic care before your first visit. An effective way to be involved in your own healthcare is to learn about what you can expect from visit #1.
Duration of visit
Depending on the injury or condition for which you are being treated, initial visits can last from 45 to 60 minutes. Subsequent visits will likely be shorter, but the first visit aims to start building the therapeutic relationship, identifying the cause of the problem and discussing a proposed plan of management. As MSK experts, chiropractors are extensively trained to assess, diagnose, manage and prevent reoccurrence of MSK conditions while specifically addressing your needs and goals. Make sure you communicate your needs and goals to your chiropractor.
As mentioned, your first appointment includes a comprehensive assessment to help determine the cause of the problem and how to treat it. To do so, expect that the history-taking portion of the visit may include questions about the following areas of your health1:
- Personal and family medical history
- Major illnesses you have experienced
- Surgeries or operations you have had
- Medications you are taking
- A description of your area(s) of concern
- A description of the general state of your health
- The steps you have taken to manage your condition
- Your diet and exercise
- Your sleeping habits
- Your daily activities
- Your work routine
- Your stress level
- Your home life
Typically, patients can expect a chiropractor to go through a more diagnostic process during the initial visit. However, this may be different from person to person depending on the nature of the injury and personal history.
Maximizing the benefits
Building a therapeutic relationship with a new practitioner can take some time, but investing in good communication at the outset can help you maximize the benefit of your chiropractic treatment. Your chiropractor will be happy to answer questions, address concerns and explain different options to you. This may include preventative strategies and changes in lifestyle practices.
After the appointment
You may feel some slight discomfort or fatigue after your visit, but it should resolve quickly. After your visit, if you have additional questions or concerns, simply contact the office or write them down to be discussed at a subsequent visit.