I have been a practicing chiropractor in San Diego for the last 20 plus years. Over that time we have seen many first time chiropractic patients. As a profession, chiropractors only provide care to somewhere around 10% of our population. I have always wondered why this number is so low since patient satisfaction with chiropractic treatment is so much higher than it is with traditional medical care and that most independent research indicates that chiropractic care is more effective than western medicine for back pain.
First Time Chiropractic Patients Expectations
Chiropractic care is an excellent , conservative treatment for many types of back injuries including those caused by auto accidents and various work injuries. That being the case, I have always thought that more people don’t seek out chiropractic care for their back and neck injuries because they don’t know what to expect with a chiropractic visit.
When first time chiropractic patients come to our office they are asked to fill out a brief health history form that covers both past and current problems. After they are done with their form, I review the history to acquaint myself with current and past complaints that are relevant to the reason for the appointment.
With the history form reviewed, I take the patient to one of my exam / treatment rooms where I ask the patient to tell me more about their pain. During this time I also ask additional questions to help me get a good understanding of the patients’ concerns.
After I am satisfied with my understanding of the patients’ concerns and they have nothing else to add to the history, I perform an examination on the involved areas that includes range of motion tests, necessary orthopedic tests and neurological tests. Usually the information that I obtain from these tests is sufficient to allow me to make a decision regarding treatment.
If treatment is indicated, care usually involves therapy to relax the muscles followed by chiropractic adjustments to relieve the pain / dysfunction of the involved joints. Since first time chiropractic patients have never been to a chiropractor before, I always ask them to help me keep all of our procedures within their “comfort zone”. I have always thought that this is important since so many first time chiropractic patients are unfamiliar with manual type therapies.
The number of chiropractic visits varies person to person depending on the severity of the injury and each persons response to care.