What stops someone from trying something new? Sometimes it is a sense of comfort in a certain way they’ve always done things. Other times it is a concern about what others will think. And for others it’s a lack of understanding about what they can expect.

Sometimes what we don’t understand can keep us from trying new things. Even we still hear occasionally from new friends that they don’t know what to expect from a chiropractic visit, so they won’t try it. That’s why we’ve outlined the following information about what you can expect from your first chiropractic visit.

  1. All chiropractic patients will experience an initial assessment before treatment. You will be asked to share information about your health, such as any injury or surgery, medications you are taking and family health history.
  2. The first visit will take longer than following visits, because your chiropractor will conduct a physical assessment/exam based on the reason for your visit. This might include a posture assessment, range of motion test, checking your reflexes, and other orthopaedic and neurologic tests. Depending on the reason for your visit, your chiropractor may also order x-rays.
  3. From your physical exam, your chiropractor will determine your diagnosis. Your chiropractor will talk with you about the diagnosis and propose a treatment plan before you receive treatment/adjustment.
  4. You may receive an adjustment on your first visit, but most likely you will be asked to make a second appointment so that your chiropractor can fully consider your needs and develop your treatment plan.

What is spinal manipulation therapy (SMT)

Most chiropractors use a hands-on treatment called spinal manipulation therapy (SMT).

This main form of treatment is also known as an adjustment by chiropractic patients. SMT is a non-invasive procedure consisting of a precise directed movement to help relieve pain and discomfort, and restore range of motion.

It is common to feel the pressure from the adjustment and to hear a sound. The sound is the release of air in the joint space. This sound is identical to the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles or your ankles, and research has proven it is not harmful.

Other treatments that your chiropractor may propose include: decompression therapy, ultrasound, laser or shockwave therapy. Your chiropractor may also recommend acupuncture or massage therapy as additional courses of therapy.

Your chiropractor will help you understand what side effects, if any, you can expect to experience from SMT or any other form of treatment.

As your condition improves, your chiropractor will also likely recommend exercises or stretches that will help ensure you recover fully and regain full strength/mobility.

If you have any questions about anything during your visit or treatment, always ask. You are encouraged to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.

The last thing to note about your chiropractic experience is that since there is diversity in how chiropractors treat, you may need to try a different chiropractor who offers a different type of treatment if you don’t feel that a particular chiropractor’s method is helping you.

Read our Patients’ Charter of Rights to understand your rights as a patient, including: access to services, respect during treatment, privacy parameters, and safety and options for care.