What to Expect When Visiting a Chiropractor

Do you have an upcoming chiropractic visit? Knowing what to expect at your chiropractic visit can make a big difference in creating a positive experience.

The chiropractor is a healthcare professional who manipulates your spine and other joints to get them in a better position. Chiropractic care is not just spinal manipulation or adjustments. Chiropractors study for as long as a medical doctor is in school.

Chiropractors have training in orthopedics, neurology, and sports medicine as well as exercise therapy and nutrition. They conduct nervous system tests and evaluate how your spine moves, among other things.

As with other doctor appointments, the first visit starts with your medical history and a physical exam.

During Your Visit: Medical History

First visits often last about an hour. Your chiropractor will ask about your medical history and about your symptoms. Tell your chiropractor about:

  • Why you want help
  • Past injuries
  • All your medical conditions
  • Any medications you take
  • Any use of drugs or alcohol
  • Your lifestyle habits including exercise, diet, stress and sleep

A variety of chiropractor offices have ‘new patient’ forms you may download from their website. It is less stressful and more efficient to answer medical questions from home than to answer them at the doctor’s office. This can also better help you concentrate when you meet in person with your doctor.

Physical Exam

After reviewing your medical history, your chiropractor will examine you physically. The chiropractor may be able to feel your spine, move your joints, and observe the way you walk. He or she will also assess your range of motion, muscle strength, reflexes, and reflexes.


A chiropractor might start treatment at your first visit. If that’s the case, this is what may happen:

  • For an adjustment, you will lie on a special treatment table.
  • Your chiropractor will treat the affected body part-usually the neck or back—by adjusting it to its full range of motion.
  • To make an adjustment, the chiropractor will apply additional force.
  • A popping sound could be heard, similar to cracking your knuckles.
  • During an adjustment, you should not expect to feel pain.

Your chiropractor might give other treatments along with an adjustment. This could include heat or ice and a muscle massage.

After treatment,

You may be given exercises to do at home by the chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained in nutrition and diet as well. They cannot prescribe drugs, but they might give diet advice, and your chiropractor might recommend diet supplements or vitamins for you.

Following your initial visit, you will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment. Most chiropractic treatments last several weeks. The chiropractor will likely recommend two or three follow-up appointments every week. Follow-up visits usually last between 10 and 20 minutes. Ask your chiropractor when you will begin to feel better.

After a treatment, you might have some soreness in the area your chiropractor adjusted. Let your chiropractor know if you have pain that continues or gets worse.