What To Expect On My First Visit With A Chiropractor?

Taking Your History

The first thing a chiropractor will do is taking a history to obtain more information of your chief complaint. The doctor will ask detailed questions about your complaint as well as your family history, diet and visits you may have had with other physicians. All these questions will allow the doctor to get a better idea of your condition and to determine the best way to treat the problem.

Physical Examination

A physical examination then follows, which if necessary may include x-rays, laboratory analysis or other diagnostic procedures. The doctor may also perform postural analyses and a gait analysis to attain a better idea of your total health profile. A chiropractor will most definitely perform a spinal examination and analysis to detect any structural abnormalities that may impede your normal function, or be causing your current complaint.


X-rays play an important and significant role in working with patients who have bony and muscular complaints. X-rays can show fractures, tumors, arthritis and other changes that can occur in bone and the surrounding soft tissues.

Examining Soft Tissue, Tendons And Muscles

Almost any degree of moderate force can cause some level of tearing of soft tissue, muscles and tendons of the body. This occurs commonly with activities that require a sudden pushing or pulling against substantial resistance such as quickly lifting a heavy box from the ground or pushing against a heavy object. A sudden back and forward cervical whipping motion resulting from a rear-end collision is one of the most common injuries that Chiropractors treat.

Palpating Soft Tissue And Examining Range Of Motion

Chiropractic doctors spend years learning how to palpate, which is the act of feeling with the hands, by applying various amounts of manual pressure through the surface of the body, to determine size, shape, position and mobility. Determining any limitations in a patients range of motion is important in deterring the type of treatment needed.

Physical Adjustment 

Doctors palpate in order to determine where a specific adjustment is necessary. An adjustment is a chiropractic procedure that uses a controlled force with a specific direction and velocity aimed at a specific joint or region in order to restore that joint or region to its proper motion and function. There are various types of adjustive techniques used by doctors today. The doctor you see will more than likely explain to you what type of adjustment you will need and why.

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