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What to Expect on Your First Chiropractic Visit

If you have considered scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor and may have some questions about what to expect during your first chiropractic visit, this blog is here to answer your questions and guide you through what you will experience at our Clinics with the CURAVITA health group.

Chiropractic intake Paperwork

Upon entering our chiropractic clinic, you will be greeted by our team of professional chiropractic health assistants (CHA’s). Each of our CHA’s will guide you through the steps of your first visit and review the clinic policies with you. Once that is complete, you will be asked to fill out some brief paperwork. The paperwork provides your chiropractor with general information about you, your condition, and your lifestyle. Prior to your visit, think about your medical history. You will be asked about previous care you’ve received, diagnoses, previous imaging, medication you are taking, etc. Reviewing your health history is an important part of your visit with a chiropractor. The more thorough and precise you can be, the more helpful it is to your chiropractor in forming a proper diagnosis for your condition.

Chiropractic Examination

There are multiple parts to your examination. Each part gives the chiropractor specific information that will inform your diagnosis, prognosis, and care recommendations.

Posture Screen

First, the chiropractor will perform a posture screen after taking your medical history. This simple screening consists of two full-body pictures; one from the front, and one from the side. Using these two pictures, the chiropractor will then evaluate your posture by looking at your eyes, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. This quick screening provides your chiropractor with some valuable insight into your spinal health.

Small postural changes can have large effects on your overall health. While it is easy to fix bad posture, it is more difficult to solve chronic musculoskeletal issues. Abnormal posture has been associated with the development and progression of many spinal conditions and injuries. Examples include increased muscle activity and disc injury, scoliosis, work lifting injuries, sports injuries, back pain, neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel symptoms, shoulder injuries, and many other conditions. You will be provided with a copy of that screening at the time of your report of findings, which will occur in a separate appointment with your chiropractor, after your initial visit.

Surface EMG

Secondly, you will be asked to change from your regular clothes into a gown so that the chiropractor can check your back muscles and joints. Surface electromyography (sEMG) is a diagnostic tool used in our clinic for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by your spinal muscles. The scan evaluates muscular activity and symmetry in the spinal muscles. This provides the chiropractor with additional information on the underlying muscular patterns in your spine. You will be provided with a copy of your electromyograph to review with the chiropractor at the time of your report of findings. The sEMG is an easily reproducible, objective test that is redone at the time of re-evaluation with each patient.

Range of Motion, Functional Movement, Orthopedic Tests and Neurological Exam

Next, the way you move will be assessed. Your chiropractor will guide you through lumbar and cervical ranges of motion, looking for the fluidity of movement, restriction or pain. You will also be asked to perform some functional movements such as squatting and grasping your hands behind your back. This assesses the movement in your hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders.

Your chiropractor will then perform some specific tests called orthopedic tests. Orthopedic tests help the doctor narrow down their diagnosis and to identify precisely the injured tissue.

The neurological exam will assess your nervous system thoroughly. The chiropractor will use different tests to assess how your central and peripheral nervous system is functioning. This will further guide your diagnosis and prognosis.

Digital X-Ray Studies

Your specific condition may require us to take X-rays to rule out more serious conditions. This will be important to assist us in developing the most effective care plan for you. Our clinic is set with state-of-the-art digital X-ray equipment. Findings will be reviewed with you upon your return to the clinic. Furthermore, a copy of your X-rays can be provided for you upon request.

Your Next Visit: The Report of Findings

After your initial visit, you will be asked to schedule your next appointment so that the chiropractor can review his or her findings and a detailed report will be reviewed with you at that time. This appointment is referred to as the Report of Findings. Generally speaking, patients are seen within 1-2 days and are provided with a complete review of findings and a report that they can take home. A complete report will also be sent to your family physician upon request.

Care will commence after review of the examination and all appropriate studies, your case is one the chiropractor deems appropriate for care. The doctor will make their recommendations and review your options. The length of the required care for your condition will also be discussed during this time. The doctor will also explain and demonstrate the chiropractic adjustments and any equipment that will be used in your care prior to your adjustment.

Your proper understanding of your condition and care is very important to us. That is why we take the time to explain your care as thoroughly as possible and provide you with an abundance of resources to keep you well-informed during the length of your care.

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our chiropractors, give us a call or visit our clinic websites at Curavita Byward and Curavita Glebe.

Byward Market

333 Cumberland Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7J3
Phone: 613.860.8600


108A Third Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 2J8
Phone: 613.237.9000

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