A health care approach that includes personalized treatment and education is the key to empowering patients to live healthier lives. This process starts with your first visit, where your chiropractor will collect information about you and your health history, perform a physical examination, make a diagnosis and provide a treatment plan. Additional details about each step are provided below.
1. Patient Intake
During this step, you will be asked to provide a brief description of your health issue, as well as some personal information such as your contact details, age, sex, etc. All information collected during your visits should be kept private and confidential.
2. Case History
After reviewing the information provided in your patient intake form, your chiropractor will ask you about the details of your condition. Typical questions may include:
- How did the pain start?
- How long have you had the pain?
- What makes your pain better/worse?
- Have you had the pain before?
- Any other health issues e.g. smoking habits, medications, exercise habits, etc.?
After obtaining a case history, a physical examination that is relevant to your area of complaint(s) will be conducted. A physical examination is a critical part of establishing an accurate diagnosis. The examination may include any or all of the following:
- Range of motion tests
- Orthopedic tests
- Neurological tests
- X-rays, MRI or other imaging exams
- Blood tests
After completing a physical examination and/or with other necessary imaging studies, your chiropractor should have enough information to provide you with a diagnosis or a number of differential diagnoses. A diagnosis is a medical description for your condition, and your chiropractor will explain to you what it means and the cause(s) of it. Sometimes a working diagnosis may change through the course of treatment, as new clinical symptoms or findings develop.
5. Treatment Plan
Based on the diagnosis, a treatment plan that is appropriate for your condition will be presented to you. The discussion should include the recommended type(s) of therapy, the benefits and risks involved, the course and frequency of treatment, potential lifestyle changes, expected outcomes, and any possible adverse reactions. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions or to express any concerns regarding the treatment plan.
The initial treatment may be conducted on the first or subsequent visits. Depending on your condition, it may or may not include a chiropractic adjustment. Advice on self care, such as avoiding certain movements, applying ice/heat to affected area etc. may also be given.