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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Corbin D.C

What should I expect on a first Chiropractic visit?

One of the first questions I ask a new patient is, "so how are you feeling?, excited, or nervous? Or both?

Some patients are exited and nervous or, either excited or nervous. We can deal with the excited, but if someone is nervous then thats the time to find out why? The most common reasons patients feel nervous is because they are not sure whats going to happen, and some are not even sure they are in the right place and just looking for help. So lets break it down. Ive found when ive explained the process, the patient settles and we can make the whole process as smooth as possible.

During your first chiropractic visit here in Cardiff, you can expect to undergo an in-depth initial consultation and examination.

Here’s what you might expect:

Health History Assessment:

I will likely ask you about your current health status, any existing medical conditions, medications, family health history, and the specifics of your current symptoms. Any potential causes for you visit. The chat is casual but this is the most important part as we can tell a lot by the case history alone. It's like a detective using clues to solve an answer.

Physical Examination:

I will perform a physical examination which may include tests such as range of motion tests, palpation of the affected areas, reflex testing, and orthopedic and neurological examinations to assess your muscle strength, sensation, and reflexes.

Diagnostic Tests:

In some cases, diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI, or other imaging studies may be ordered to help diagnose your condition accurately. I have various centres to refer you to if needed. I can also write a letter to your GP to help speed things up also.

Report of Findings:

After the examination, I will discuss the findings with you and present a diagnosis or clinical impression. I will also explain what treatment I recommend and why. I use a 3D digital model to explain your diagnosis. And make sure it is easily understood. Some patients care about this part and others just want to get on with the treatment. Either way the more we know about our issue, the better the recovery.

Treatment Plan:

If i think I can help you, I will discuss an initial treatment plan. This might include the frequency of visits, the kind of treatments I will provide, and the estimated timeline for recovery. I may also discuss maintenance care. This is usually for people who have had pain for many years and chiropractic is the only treatment that gives them temporary relief. I've had patients say to me "I bet you can cure people in one session, but like the repeat business? I tell you what, if I could cure everyone in one session I wouldn't have any space in the diary! I try and get people better as quickly as possible. But sadly pain is complex and no doctor fully understands why pain becomes chronic. Hopefully one day they will figure it out. But maintenance care is a great solution to lower medication and get people more active and healthy.

Informed Consent:

I explain the proposed treatment plan, making sure that you understand what will be done, any associated risks, and any alternative options available to you. Informed consent is an essential part of any chiropractic care plan.

Questions and Answers:

I encourage you to ask me any questions you might have about your diagnosis, treatment plan, or any other concerns you may have. To be fair most patients don't ask anything. But I love to be tested, no question is too silly ask. I've heard it all after my 10 years in practice.

Overall, the goal of the first visit is for me to gather as much relevant information as possible to develop a clear understanding of your condition. It's also an opportunity for you to ask questions and express any concerns you may have. Remember, effective communication is key to a successful chiropractic relationship.

Keep in mind that the details of a first visit can vary among different chiropractors, but the elements of thorough history-taking, examination, and a discussion of findings should be consistent across professional practices (sadly they are not, i can rant in another blog). My approach here in Cardiff is relaxed, yet professional. I've spend years reading, learning, practicing and educating my patients to get the best out of each other. Sometimes we will fit, sometimes we won't and sometimes issues are fixed in a few sessions and others can take more. The main reason patients come to me is because of their pain and the main reason I go to work is to help people's pain, so we are already on the same page. I think a doctor patient relationship with quality communication is the foundation for recovery.


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