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What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Visit

What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Visit

Are you headed to the chiropractor for the first time? Read on to learn what to expect at your first chiropractic visit.

Keyword(s): chiropractic visit

Every year, chiropractors treat over 27 million Americans (both adults and children).

Are you interested in joining this group? Or, are you feeling a little hesitant about your first chiropractic adjustment?

It's okay if you're on the fence about the benefits of chiropractic care. But, if you're anxious about your treatment, it can help to gain a better understanding of what a typical visit looks like.

Read on for some information that will help you feel confident and prepared when you go in for your first chiropractic visit.

Reasons to Visit a Chiropractor

Most people think about chiropractic care as something that's only beneficial for treating chronic back and neck pain.

It's true that chiropractic care works very well for these issues. But, there are lots of people who can benefit from visiting a chiropractor.

Some other conditions that chiropractic treatments can help with include:

High Blood Pressure

Some studies show that chiropractic adjustments reduce blood pressure just as much as certain medications.


Chiropractic care can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. This helps eliminate pain severity and pain duration.

Headaches and Migraines

A chiropractor can help repair the misalignment that creates tension in the neck and shoulders and triggers headaches for many people.


Chiropractic adjustments can improve blood flow to the brain. This may reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in people -- especially children -- with epilepsy.


People who struggle with vertigo and dizziness may benefit from adjustments that realign the vertebrae and improve balance.

What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Visit

Clearly, there are lots of reasons to consider visiting the chiropractor. But, you might still be feeling anxious about your first visit.

If you've never been to the chiropractor before, your first visit can be pretty intimidating.

It's understandable that you might be nervous about having a stranger crack your neck or back. But, it's also important to note that there's a lot that happens before the actual adjustment to help you feel more at ease.

A typical first-time chiropractic visit usually goes something like this:

Patient History Consultation

Before any adjustment takes place, you'll need to fill out some paperwork explaining your situation and your reason for visiting the chiropractor.

Some common questions you'll answer on these forms include:

  • When did your pain start?
  • Where is your pain located?
  • Describe your pain -- sharp, dull, throbbing, burning, continuous, sudden, etc?
  • Did your pain start after an injury?
  • Do specific activities or circumstances make your pain better or worse?

You'll also have to provide information about your family medical history, current medical conditions, prior injuries, and previous or current health care providers and treatments.

When you've finished filling out these forms, the chiropractor will sit down with you to go over them and talk more about your condition.

Chiropractic Exam

Once they've learned as much as they need to about your condition and medical history, the chiropractor will perform a thorough exam. This allows them to get a better understanding of your movement patterns, pain, and spinal alignment.

Your chiropractor may perform some general health tests to measure your blood pressure, reflexes, pulse, and respiration.

They might also perform more specialized tests to gain information about your range of motion, muscle strength, muscle tone, and neurological integrity.

They may have you move in a specific manner or they may analyze your posture during this portion of the appointment, too.

Diagnostic Studies

Your chiropractor may also perform some diagnostic tests to get a better idea of what's happening in your body.

X-rays are the most common test that chiropractors use. But, depending on your condition and what they learn during the initial parts of the exam, some may also call for MRIs or other lab tests.

Explanation of Findings

Once their tests are complete, your chiropractor will sit down with you again to explain what kind of information they gathered from those tests.

You'll receive a diagnosis at this time.

The chiropractor will also go over their proposed treatment plan. They'll let you know how many adjustments they recommended and the anticipated length of your treatment.

Initial Treatment

Most chiropractors also begin treatment during this initial visit.

Some common treatment modalities they'll use include:

  • Manual neck and spinal adjustments
  • Soft tissue healing modalities (electrical stimulation, ultrasound, traction, massage, hot/cold application, etc.)
  • Stretching and/or strengthening exercises to help improve muscle balance, coordination, and strength

Your chiropractor may also talk to you about ways that you can manage your pain and condition outside of the office.

This might include adjusting your workspace to make it more ergonomic. They might also suggest making changes to your nutrition to reduce inflammation and promote faster healing.

How to Find the Right Chiropractor

Treatment from a chiropractor doesn't seem so bad, does it? Of course, every chiropractor is a bit different. But, most follow an outline that is similar to this for patients' first visits.

In order to experience all the benefits a chiropractor can provide, it's important to do some research to find a qualified chiropractor.

When it comes to finding the right chiropractor for your needs, it's best to start by asking for a referral.

Talk to a friend, your primary care physician, or family member to see whom they recommend. You can also look online to see which chiropractors in your area are rated most highly.

Once you've found a few potential candidates, reach out to them to learn about their rates and to see whether or not they accept your insurance. Most chiropractors these days do accept health insurance, which can significantly offset the cost of your treatment.

Visit a Chiropractor Today

Are you ready to give chiropractic care a try? Are you feeling a little less anxious about your first chiropractic visit?

If you live in or around Saratoga Springs or Malta, New York areas, contact us at Matt Smith Chiropractic today to schedule an appointment.

Whether you're dealing with an acute injury, chronic pain, or just need some help to relax, we're here for you.