If you’ve never had a consultation with a doctor of chiropractic before, your first appointment may be overwhelming. You are, after all, entrusting your spinal health and condition to someone.
However, there’s no reason to worry. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat and manage spinal issues. Prior to your appointment, presumably, you’ve already done some research about your chosen chiropractic clinic. You have done your homework. You’ve looked up the reviews on your chosen doctor of chiropractic, either by referrals or online.
Before going to your first appointment, we suggest you ask the following questions.
- How long do I have to wait until the doctor sees me?
- How long will my appointment last?
- Do you accept my health insurance?
- What are your payment options?
- Will I need to see other healthcare providers, such as massage therapists or physical therapists?
Since you need to get valuable information, you may want to write down your questions beforehand. At the actual appointment, you can also jot down the answers of your doctor.
Preparing for Your Appointment
As you get ready for your first chiropractic appointment, think about all your health issues – past and present – and write them down. These health issues would include all symptoms – whether or not they’re related to your spine.
However, pay close attention if you have symptoms affecting your shoulders, neck, and back. A lot of health conditions may be traced back to the spine because that’s where most of the nerves in our body pass. This way, your doctor will have a clearer picture of your overall well-being.
Wear comfortable clothing. The doctor of chiropractic will need to examine your body. This examination also includes manipulation of the joints. Avoid wearing jeans, jackets, or other articles of clothing that won’t allow you to move freely. Opt for shorts or loose pants. For women, wear back-clasp brassieres that are easy to work with.
During the appointment, your chiropractic doctor will ask your medical history. Be prepared to answer this as comprehensive and truthful as you can. Also, let the doctor know of any allergies or pre-existing conditions you may have.
Bring all pertinent health insurance documents with you to your chiropractic appointment. A majority of chiropractic offices accept most health insurance plans. However, make sure to verify and confirm this information with your doctor prior to your appointment.
Customized Treatment Plan
A competent doctor of chiropractic should be able to provide you with a treatment plan tailored to your medical needs and goals. During an initial visit, it’s uncommon to do the actual spinal adjustment or manipulation techniques. However, some chiropractors go straight to that. There’s no right or wrong way; it will all depend on the patient’s condition, and the treatment plan developed for them.
If, however, you were told that your doctor would do the adjustments or manipulations during your visit, it’s a good idea to do minor stretches prior to your visit. This will get your spine ready for the adjustment. If you’re not sure of what stretches to do, ask your chiropractor.
Also, you must avoid strenuous physical activities before your appointment. You must not put any stress or tension on your spine and neck areas.
Similar to the treatment plan, each patient will have a specific wellness goal. The doctor of chiropractic will set individual goals based on the patient’s treatment plan.
The short-term goals will include alleviating any pain the patient is experiencing. It will also involve restoring the joints and muscles’ normal function and balance.
On the other hand, the long-term wellness goals include a fully functional restoration of the patient’s condition. This includes complete tolerance and independence to do their regular day-to-day routine.
To reach these wellness goals, your doctor will schedule a set number of chiropractic visits. After these visits, your chiropractor will re-examine your condition and see what the next steps should be.
He or she will re-evaluate if you need continued chiropractic treatment, if the treatment goals were met, or if you need to be referred to a different healthcare specialist.
Lastly, as you head over to your chiropractic appointment, just take a deep breath and relax. Doctors of chiropractic, as well as their staff, are dedicated to their patient’s well-being.
Know that you’re taking the necessary steps to a better, healthier life.