Prior to your initial consultation, you will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about your symptoms and condition. Questions may include:
- When did your pain/condition start?
- Where is the pain located?
- Did pain/condition immediately follow an injury or accident?
- Is anything improves or worsens the pain?
- What treatments have you already tried, and how successful were they?
You may also be asked to provide family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments. To properly diagnose your problem and design a treatment program your doctor of chiropractic needs to know about any of the following:
- Bone disorders such as osteoporosis
- Implants like pacemakers, artificial joints, cosmetic implants, etc.
- Circulatory problems
- Dizziness or blurred vision
- Heart conditions such as hypertension
- Injuries, such as bone fractures, muscle sprains/strains, or disc injuries
- Joint disorders such as arthritis
- Any current health condition for which you are receiving care from another health care practitioner
When applicable, bring with you any copies of previous tests (for example, MRI or X-ray reports), lab results, and a list of any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs, teas, and homeopathic and/or naturopathic substances.
The next step is a physical examination your chiropractor will perform to evaluate your condition and develop a working diagnosis. In addition to general physical examination procedures such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature, the examination will include specific orthopaedic and neurological tests to assess:
- Range of motion of the affected area that is observed while you walk, turn, bend, or lift
- Muscle tone
- Muscle strength
- Neurological integrity
Diagnostic studies help diagnose conditions more accurately. The most common used by chiropractors include:
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT, or bone scan
- Laboratory tests
Many chiropractic offices have their own X-ray equipment, but an MRI scan and more extensive tests may be referred to an outside center.