What to Expect in Your First Chiropractic Consultation

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Trying out a new treatment like chiropractic care is always nerve-wracking, but you can counter the anxiety with information and preparation. A chiropractic adjustment, commonly known as spinal manipulation, is a widely used pain management treatment for a variety of lower back, sciatica, and neck pain conditions. 

Patients should expect a complete chiropractic exam during their first chiropractic visit. It usually lasts 45 minutes or longer and may include the beginning of chiropractic treatment.

Following the initial consultation, chiropractic appointments are usually much shorter.

Below are things you should expect in your first chiropractic visit.

Things to Think about before Visiting a Chiropractor

Before deciding on a chiropractor, some individuals carry a preliminary interview with a chiropractor, either over the phone or in person. This interview is discussion-based and does not include a test. 

Questions concerning the chiropractor’s philosophy, skills, and overall approach, as well as the patient’s preferences, are possible subjects.

The Initial Chiropractic Consultation

The initial consultation unusually consists of the patient history and symptoms, the chiropractic exam, and diagnostic testing.

1. The Patient’s Medical History and Symptoms

In order to prepare for the chiropractic appointment, the patient will be asked to fill out questionnaires that reveal background information about their symptoms and condition. Questions about how the pain began and where it is felt are common. 

You will be asked to explain the pain they are experiencing, including if it is severe, dull, scorching, or throbbing. You’ll also be questioned whether it comes and goes or is constant.

Perhaps the discomfort began as a result of an injury. If this is the case, patients may be asked if there were any activities that improved or worsened their condition.

Patients are usually questioned about their family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, as well as previous and current treatments from other healthcare practitioners.

2. Chiropractic Examination

General testing such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes are all part of a full chiropractic examination. Specific orthopedic and neurological tests may be utilized to measure the range of motion, muscle tone, muscular strength, and neurological integrity of the damaged body part.

Further chiropractic examinations, such as having the patient move in a specific way, posture analysis, or assessing the motion of the affected body part, may be required to identify the affected area.

3. Diagnostic Assessments

Based on the outcome of the patient’s history and chiropractic exam, diagnostic findings may be valuable in exposing pathologies and detecting structural anomalies to diagnose a problem more accurately. 

X-rays are the most common diagnostic test conducted during an initial chiropractic examination; however, they are not always required. They’re usually used in a chiropractic context to aid in the diagnosis of a recent trauma, the diagnosis of spondyloarthritis, or the investigation of a potential spinal deformity.

An x-ray scan should only be done if the chiropractor has reason to believe it will provide information that will assist in the patient’s treatment plan. Because of the hazards of ionizing radiation exposure that occurs during an x-ray, its use should be confined to medically necessary situations.

While an x-ray can aid in the examination of bones, it is ineffective in the examination of soft tissues. An MRI scan is usually advised with suspected soft tissue damage, such as a disc problem, torn muscle, or nerve compression.

Although many chiropractic clinics can do basic x-rays, an MRI scan and other imaging studies are usually recommended to a specialist.

Chiropractic Exam Diagnosis

The chiropractor’s diagnosis is frequently assisted by information from the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. The chiropractor can determine if the ailment will respond to chiropractic treatment following the diagnosis. 

Certain conditions, such as fractures, tumors, and infections, may not respond to chiropractic treatment and will need to be treated by a specialist physician.


The chiropractor will describe the patient’s diagnosed ailment, specific chiropractic treatment plan, and expected length of chiropractic therapy after the patient’s initial session.

Some chiropractors will provide their patients with the above information in writing so they can think about it and do their own research at home.

If you need the services of a chiropractor in Atlanta, you will find that at Kindspine. We’re a premier in-town chiropractic facility, delivering advanced upper cervical chiropractic care for optimal healing and wellness. Check out our services to learn more!