Scheduling any type of appointment is the last thing a person wants to do while battling pain, stiffness, or injury – but booking a chiropractic visit should be the first item on the list. Waiting too long to seek treatment can just make things worse, and your productivity is sure to suffer in the meantime.
But where should a first-time chiropractic patient begin? This quick guide will help you get started.
How to Choose a Chiropractor
The best way to choose a chiropractor is to ask for recommendations from family and friends. This is because the chiropractic adjustment process is extremely hands-on and the office environment and personality of the chiropractor makes a huge difference. Your doctor may be able to make a recommendation as well.
If you have trouble obtaining suggestions, contact your local chiropractic society or association. Most of these organizations have websites so you can find a licensed chiropractor nearest you.
Now that you have your chiropractor picked out, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Timing is very important – you want to allow at least an extra fifteen minutes prior to your appointment so you can fill out forms at the office. After the appointment, you will want an extra hour or two to relax and recover from the chiropractic adjustments. Plan accordingly.
But scheduling an appointment is a little more complicated than just setting up a time. Scheduling an appointment is very hands-on (and you might have to show up at the office for part of it) so expect to answer plenty of questions about your symptoms. The next section will help you prepare.
The Initial Interview / Intake Process
Scheduling the initial interview is just a matter of giving your name, insurance information, and a short description of your symptoms. But each of these questions can become slightly complicated depending on the level of detail your chiropractor wants.
It helps to dig up all the relevant records and information beforehand for a seamless process. The health questionnaire might require some information about your medical history (including your family medical history). You might need to provide a written recommendation from your primary care physician.
Take notes about your pain and symptoms – the more accurately you describe your troubles, the more efficiently the chiropractor will be able to diagnose and treat your condition. How did the pain start? Which part of your body hurts? Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and searing? What makes it feel better or worse? Is it the result of an injury?
What to Expect at Your Appointment
The first appointment will include the paperwork, and interview already mentioned in this guide, but it will probably include an examination, diagnosis, and preliminary treatment as well. The examination will include various stretches, reflex tests, and motion tests. You’ll also demonstrate your posture and your chiropractor might ask you to take an x-ray.
You probably won’t have to change into a gown for anything but the x-ray, so dress accordingly. You’ll want to wear something comfortable enough to allow for easy movement through the diagnostic tests described above. If the doctor decides to administer any corrections, you’ll want to make sure that all jewelry and accessories are out of the way. Consider tying long hair back into a ponytail or a bun.
If you are still feeling uncomfortable about the appointment, you might want to take some time to call or visit the website of the chiropractor you choose. Many chiropractic clinics have descriptions, explanations, and sometimes videos to help patients understand the chiropractic process. Visit BottiChiropractic.com for a great example.
Chiropractors that don’t have websites often have pamphlets and other educational materials to share, so never be afraid to ask. The receptionist might even show a video that can answer some questions and set your mind at ease while you’re waiting for the appointment. It is very important to remain calm and comfortable during the adjustments.
When the pain, stiffness, or soreness just becomes too much, seeking out a reputable chiropractor and dragging that achy body across town seems like a lot of work. Experienced chiropractors understand this and respond by working their hardest to make the first-time patient feel comfortable, confident, and prepared for that important first visit.
There is no need to feel nervous. In fact, you should feel excited! The relief from a much-needed chiropractic adjustment is well worth it.