How To Prepare For Your First Visit
The best way to get the most out of Your First Visit is to arrive prepared. Be ready to provide your medical history, as it will be essential for preparing the course of treatment that is right for you. Medical records, such as test results or imaging results, will also provide vital insight about your condition.
Certain aspects of your health history are particularly vital to a chiropractor as they strive to identify your condition. This includes whether you have or have had:
- Bone disorders, such as osteoporosis
- Circulatory problems (poor circulation could be a sign that you have a subluxation, for example)
- Dizziness or blurry vision
- A Heart condition – such as hypertension or high blood pressure
- Infections, particularly any affecting your spine
- Any injuries – bone fractures, muscle sprains, or disc injuries
- Sleep apnea
Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- Did your pain begin right after an injury?
- Is there anything you do that improves or worsens your pain?
- When and how did your pain start?
- Where exactly is the pain?
The physical exam
After looking over your medical history, we will perform a physical exam to help us learn even more about your condition. First, we’ll check your vital signs, reflexes, and blood pressure. Sometimes measurements will be taken to determine arm and leg length. Next, you will be asked to do a series of simple and easy activities or exercises. These exercises will provide information about your motor skills, balance, muscle tone and strength, range of motion, and gait, among other things. Any abnormalities could provide clues about a condition. You may be asked to:
- Bend forward, sideways, or backwards — Misaligned spinal vertebrae can sometimes be detected during this exercise.
- Flex and extend your leg — This is a test for signs of sprain and helps determine the integrity of your joints. This is called the Yeoman’s Test.
- Grip something such as a rubber ball — Your grip strength is vital for showing signs of muscular or nerve damage.
- Lie down and raise one leg — This is often referred to as the “Thomas Test.” The chiropractor gently pushes on your raised leg to check for hip joint mobility.
- Stand and raise one leg — This test can sometimes show whether you have sciatica, a nerve disorder in your lower back.
- Another test may involve pushing on your raised leg to determine whether you have pain, inflammation, or imbalance in the joints between your spinal vertebrae. This is called the “Psoas Muscle Test.”
- Stand or sit — Posture can sometimes show whether you have misalignments in your spine.
- Walk a straight line — This test measures your gait, and helps to determine if you have a normal walking pattern.
- Walk in Place — Abnormalities in the way your pelvis and spine coordinate can be seen during this test.
After these tests are performed, a short physical exam by the chiropractor will involve palpation, or use of the hands, to explore the alignment of your spine and other structures. The chiropractor will also look for any stimuli that may cause you pain. Depending on your condition, a series of diagnostic tests may follow. These tests may include MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, blood work, and other laboratory tests. The chiropractor may also consult with you about making important lifestyle changes, such as exercise, nutrition, and smoking cessation to improve your chances of healing faster or preventing further injury. You could be surprised at how much of a difference these little things can make!