Your first chiropractic appointment
We feel it is important to know what to expect from your first chiropractic appointment. Most importantly remember that you are in control about what happens and that you ask your chiropractor any questions that you have.
Here we will take you through:
- What to wear
- What forms to complete
- What to expect when you arrive
- What kind of questions you will be asked
- What to expect from your examination
- What your report of findings involves
- What to expect from your first treatment
- What happens next
What to wear to your chiropractic appointment
We want you to be as comfortable as possible but it is really important that we can see and feel the area you want help with. Whilst many chiropractors may ask you to wear a gown and your underwear, we feel that it is more comfortable for you if you can wear your own clothing.
Lower body - Flexible jeans/trousers, jogging bottoms, leggings or shorts are ideal. We will ask you to remove belts or chains and to empty any pockets. Whilst we can work around most clothing, tight, restrictive clothing can limit our testing and skirts may make it difficult to maintain decency during testing or some treatments.
Upper body - Topless for men. A vest top or bra for women. Whilst we can work through more clothing, to help make our diagnosis easier and treatment as effective as possible, less clothing is generally better.
If you are uncomfortable with our recommendation here, please discuss it with your chiropractor. If you wear something to your first session that makes it difficult, we will do our best at the time and discuss future options with you.
What forms we ask you to complete
Before your first session you will receive two forms via email to complete. These are done and submitted online to avoid excessive paper use. All information is kept for 7 years after your last appointment with us as a minimum and is completely confidential.
The first form is a simple intake form to complete your patient details for our records. This will also record your consent to us keeping your record, allowing us to communicate with other healthcare professionals about your problems and your understanding of our late cancellation or "no show" fee.
The second form is unique to chiropractic and asks a few questions about the problem you want help with. This helps us get a head start on your problem and get a more accurate diagnosis and prognosis. This form has 3 further follow up forms which come through at 2, 4 and 12 weeks later to make sure you are on track and doing as well as you should be.
What to expect when you arrive
Our reception is unstaffed which means when you arrive it is most likely you will find yourself in our waiting area alone or with one or two other patients. We ask that you simply take a seat and your chiropractor will be with you when they are finish with their previous appointment.
If for any reason your chiropractor is delayed, they will let you know how long they expect to be.
What questions will you be asked?
The first part of the chiropractic assessment is a verbal history of your current problem. Questions to think about that you are likely to be asked include (please do not worry about remembering this list, your chiropractor will make sure they get the information they need):
- Where do you feel pain?
- What caused it?
- How long have you had it?
- Have you had this before?
- What does it feel like?
- What makes it better?
- What makes it worse?
- Do you get any shooting pains or pins & needles?
The more information you can provide us, the better. Often patients will feel worried they are providing information that is unneccesary or strange but everything, no matter how strange it may seem, could be useful.
Your chiropractic examination
The physical assessment will involve the following:
- Feeling (palpating) the area of pain and related areas
- Moving joints through their normal ranges of movement
- Orthopaedic tests - special tests which place different structures understress allowing us to indentify the likely cause
- Relevent vital signs like pulses and blood pressure
- Muscle reflexes and strength testing
Explaining your report of findings
Once your chiropractor feels like they have enough information to diagnose your problem, they will take a few minutes to explain it in terms which make sense to you. Whilst we can go into plenty of detail if you like, we find that most people prefer a simplified version which we then follow up with a written report to explain a bit more. The most important information we will get to you is:
- We understand what is causing your problem
- We know how to get you better
- What treatments we would recommend
- How long it will take
- If we do not know the cause - we know who to send you to and what to say to them
Your first chiropractic treatment
Treatment techinques we often use include chiropractic manipulation (a short, quick, specific push to a joint to get it to move better) and soft tissue work such as massage and trigger point therapy.
All techniques we would consider using will be explained fully and we will make sure you are as comfortable as possible throughout. Our goal will be to get you feeling and moving better even after your first treatment. We will use the tests from your examination to see how well we have done and recheck these each time.
What happens next?
Most problems will require more than one chiropractic treatment to resolve. How many to expect will be explained in your report of findings as well as how often they will be needed. If this changes at any point, for better or worse, we will discuss it with you and work out why if needed.
You will be given some exercises to do at home to help recover. These are just as important as your treatment and equip you with tools that will help if you ever struggle with the problem again.
We will book your next appointment in, take any payment that is owed and make sure you know what you need to do between now and the next appointment.