While visiting a chiropractor care place is similar to visiting other healthcare providers, it does have some unique elements. You will likely find the office setting and intake procedures quite familiar, but many notice the distinctive appearance of the chiropractic treatment table. These tables are allowing specific positioning and movement during spinal adjustments and thus assist the chiropractic treatment.
The following describes the initial visit to a chiropractic care office, which generally includes 3 areas
- Patient History and Symptoms
- The Chiropractic Exam
- Diagnostic Studies
Patient History and Symptoms
An initial chiropractic consultation is very similar to that of a standard medical intake. You will complete a health questionnaire and answer questions about your health history.
Types of questions typically include:
- When and how did the pain start?
- Where is it located?
- Describe the pain – is it sharp, dull, searing/burning, or throbbing? Does it come and go, or is it continual?
- Did the pain start as a result of an injury?
- What activities/circumstances makes it better or worse?
The Chiropractic Exam
Next is a routine physical exam, then follow it with an exam that focuses on the spine, with particular attention given to the areas of complaint. We will examine your whole spine. For example, if you had a low back complaint, we would also perform a neck exam because the adaptations resulting from injury or subluxation in one area can result in secondary irritations somewhere else in the spine. The physical exam typically includes a variety of assessments, such as range of motion tests, palpation, reflex testing, muscle strength comparisons, and neurological and orthopedic tests focused on the main complaint.
Based upon the results of the patient’s history and chiropractic exam, diagnostic studies may be helpful in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities to more accurately diagnose a condition. Diagnostic studies are not always necessary during the chiropractic exam, and should only be undertaken if the chiropractor has a good reason to believe that the X-ray or other test will provide information needed to guide the patient’s treatment program.
The most common diagnostic studies during chiropractic exams include:
- X-ray exam
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
- Other laboratory tests
At ChiroAcuHealth we can perform basic X-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are usually referred to an outside center.
Patient Diagnosis after the Chiropractic Exam
Findings from the history, physical examination and any required diagnostic studies lead to a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, we can determine if the patient’s condition will respond to chiropractic care or not.