Chiropractic treatment/care is a recommended pain relief option for musculoskeletal automobile, sports, personal – injuries, strains, sprains, pain, and rehabilitation. An initial chiropractic examination is similar to a standard examination administered by health care providers. What an individual can expect at their first consultation includes:
- Condition or pain symptoms
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Initial exams last around 45 minutes or more.
- Follow-up appointments are shorter.
Online Conference or Phone Call
Some chiropractors offer individuals an initial interview over a video conference and/or phone call. It is focused on discussion with topics like the chiropractors:
- Types of insurance taken
- Types of forms to fill out
- Specialization areas
- Individual’s preferences
Initial Clinic Visit
The initial in-office clinical exam generally includes:
Patient History and Symptoms
The patient will be asked to fill out forms that can also be filled out online before the visit, saving a patient time if they so choose. This provides background information about symptoms and conditions in preparation for the in-person chiropractic consultation. Questions include:
- Did the pain start as a result of an auto, sports, personal, work injury?
- How did the pain start – activities, sports, work, etc.?
- When did the pain start – a few days, weeks, months, years?
- Where is the pain located?
- Does the pain spread out to other areas?
- Is the pain dull, sharp, burning, or throbbing?
- Does the pain come and go, or is it constant?
- What activities or body positions make it better and/or worse?
- Patients are also asked to provide information on pre-existing medical conditions, family medical history if necessary, prior injuries, and previous and current treatments provided by other medical professionals.
A chiropractic examination includes:
- Blood pressure
Certain orthopedic and neurological tests can also be used. These include:
- Range of motion
- Neurological integrity
- Muscle strength
- Muscle tone
- Walking gait
- Posture analysis
Based on the medical history and physical exam results, diagnostic studies could help reveal pathologies and identify structural abnormalities to diagnose more accurately. X-rays are the most commonly used during an initial chiropractic exam and are used to:
- Diagnose recent trauma
- Diagnose bone fractures
- Study spinal deformities
An MRI scan is recommended for soft tissue damage like a herniated disc, torn muscle/s, or nerve compression.
Patient Diagnosis after the Chiropractic Exam
All the findings from the medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests help the chiropractor form a diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, the chiropractor will discuss personalized treatment options.
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Many factors can contribute to heart disease, and research has pointed to inflammation caused by obesity as one of the most significant factors to its development. The main contributor is cytokines produced by excess body fat. Cytokines cause inflammation in the walls of the arteries causing damage and increasing pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the vessels. High blood pressure means that the heart is not pumping blood effectively, and the heart begins to enlarge. An enlarged heart is a significant risk factor that can lead to heart failure if interventions are not taken to repair the damage.
Jenkins HJ, Downie AS, French SD. Current evidence for spinal x-ray use in the chiropractic profession. Chiropr Man Therap. 2018; 26:48.
Wang, Zhaoxia, and Tomohiro Nakayama. “Inflammation, a link between obesity and cardiovascular disease.” Mediators of inflammation vol. 2010 (2010): 535918. doi:10.1155/2010/535918
Weeks, William B et al. “Public Perceptions of Doctors of Chiropractic: Results of a National Survey and Examination of Variation According to Respondents’ Likelihood to Use Chiropractic, Experience With Chiropractic, and Chiropractic Supply in Local Health Care Markets.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 38,8 (2015): 533-44. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2015.08.001
The information herein on "Initial Chiropractic Examination" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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