Your first visit
First visit to a Chiropractor
Initially you will be asked to fill in a new patient questionnaire which will be emailed to you and must be completed before your appointment. During your visit, the Chiropractor will take a detailed assessment of your complaint. You will be asked for information about your current condition and previous issues, in addition to your medical history and overall health. Some of the questions you will be asked may not seem important, but they help to establish an overall picture of your health and will help determine whether Chiropractic care is appropriate in your case.
What to expect on your first appointment
After taking a thorough history, a physical examination will be carried out (unless there is a specific reason not to). A gown will be available for you to wear, as you may be asked to remove some of your clothes. A range of tests will be carried out, which may include assessment of your posture and range of movement. The area of complaint may be examined, in addition to other relevant parts of the body.
Once the initial assessment and physical examination has been done, your Chiropractor may recommend you undergo further investigations such as an X-ray, MRI scan or blood test. If these are required, your Chiropractor will explain why they are necessary, and how and when they may be arranged.
After these assessments and tests, a report of findings will be given, which includes an explanation as to what is wrong and whether your condition can be helped by Chiropractic treatment. A care plan will be discussed if treatment is thought to be beneficial, setting out what you can expect when receiving Chiropractic care, as well as the costs and treatment options available to you. You may also be given exercises and advice on lifestyle that can help you to manage your condition and assist with your recovery.
You will be able to ask questions, so that you fully understand what treatment is being proposed. If you are happy to proceed, you will be asked to give your written consent to treatment. Your Chiropractor will keep all details about your health and treatment strictly confidential, and no one will be allowed to see your records without your permission.
If we feel we are unable to help, or we establish that an alternative treatment would be more beneficial for your condition, then you will be referred to your GP or an appropriate health care professional.
Chiropractors are trained in using manipulation to free stiff or restricted joints. This can also be called ‘adjustments’ or ‘manual therapy’. Manipulation involves the Chiropractor using their hands to apply quick, precise thrusts to the restricted joints. During manipulation there may be popping sounds (similar to the ‘crack’ heard when people flex their knuckles). This is harmless – it is just the sound of gas bubbles popping in the fluid of the joints as pressure is released. Manipulation will only be used when necessary and if appropriate for a patient.
Treatment may also include massage, stretching, taping, medical acupuncture (dry needling), Activator and the gradual moving of joints (‘mobilisation’).
Self-help advice and rehabilitative care form an important part of Chiropractic treatment. You will be given advice on how to manage your condition and prevent it from recurring. This may involve the application of ice or heat to reduce pain and inflammation, and advice on activity, posture and exercises you can do at home.
Chiropractic treatment often takes place over a number of weeks initially, particularly if you have had the problem for a long time. Some patients only require a short course of treatment whereas others may choose to receive Chiropractic care on a more regular basis to keep themselves mobile, relieve pain and help prevent recurrences. Your Chiropractor will discuss your programme of care with you and may recommend a series of treatments given at defined intervals.
Throughout the course of your care, your Chiropractor will be able to answer any questions you might have about the management of your condition and your treatment.