First time at the chiropractor? Your frequently asked questions answered

first chiropractor visit

By Dr. Samantha de Castro, Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)

Chiropractic care is utilized on a daily basis in Alberta, but what exactly does a chiropractor do? You may assume they only deal with neck or back pain, but they can treat much more than that. Chiropractors are highly trained in neuromusculoskeletal system, meaning their areas of expertise include nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints.

At Movement Performance and Health, our goal is to provide not only the best care, but to also make you feel as comfortable as possible in our clinic. You may have many questions before your first visit to a chiropractor. To help, here are answers to FAQs that may be on your mind before your first visit.

Q: Do I need a referral to visit a chiropractor?

A: No, a doctor’s referral is not required. You can call, schedule online or visit us in person to schedule your first chiropractic appointment at your convenience.

Q: How long does a chiropractor appointment take?

A: Initial chiropractic appointments are scheduled for 1 hour to give enough time to review your history and detail your specific concerns and issues, but may be shorter. This is solely dependent on your particular concerns and their complexity.  Subsequent appointments are booked as a 30 minute or a 40-minute extended appointment.

Q: What do I need to do before my chiropractor appointment?

A: When you book your first appointment, a confirmation and reminder email will get sent to you. Attached is patient intake form, as well as a covid screen. You’ll need to complete the online intake form fully and completely.

Providing details on your history and concerns is really helpful to give us a good idea of how to best support your needs and what questions we’ll need to ask when we meet you.

chiropractor treatment

Q: What can I expect at my first chiropractor appointment?

A: When you arrive at the Movement Performance & Health clinic, you will be welcomed at the front desk, and asked to remove your shoes and sanitize your hands. If your intake form is done, great! We will confirm any details we may need like insurance and you can relax and await your appointment.

Once in the room, we will begin with a history and going over your intake form. Diagnosis can be up to 80% based on your history, so this is important! Next, an exam will be completed based on our discussion of your concerns. Then we’ll discuss our findings, the diagnosis, and next steps.

In most cases, we will discuss the consent form and the type of treatment we recommend. For most, we can get into a treatment on day 1. For some, we may need more information like x-rays, MRI, blood work etc. and will discuss with you the best way to attain these. 

Q: What should I bring with me to my chiropractor treatment?

A: Yourself! Comfortable clothes can be helpful, but we have gowns and shorts available if needed. Your insurance card can also be helpful for billing. If you have any braces or orthotics you wear regularly, bringing those can help us as well.

Q: First chiropractor appointment complete! What can I expect now?

A: After this first visit, a large percentage of people feel some form of improvement. You can feel some soreness, and other side effects as discussed in your consent form, but these are rare. We usually want to see you within a week of your first appointment to see how you react, and to iron out your treatment plan.

Q: Do I need to see a chiropractor forever?

A: The short answer is no, but most patients choose to continue chiropractic treatments. Once the initial issue is addressed, some patients choose to only come back when the pain returns. Others continue with preventive maintenance care, to help keep their bodies moving and functioning at their best.

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