What does a chiropractor do on the first visit?

St. Peter Chiropractor, First Visit for Back pain
What Does a Chiropractor Do at Your First Visit?

Your First Visit At Rising Sun Chiropractic

When you have never been to a chiropractor and you have made the decision to give it a try you should expect a few things to happen to make sure its a good experience.  A first experience that helps you achieve  the health concerns you have.  In this post we’ll talk about what to look for and what to watch out for. Get ready to learn “What a chiropractor does at the first visit.”

At your first visit to Rising Sun Chiropractic you can count on a few things to make sure you get a great experience. 

  • A warm welcome from our team and some short forms to fill out.
  • We accept most insurance so we’ll have a basic idea of your out of pocket responsibility. There are non insurance options as well. You won’t be blindsided by a big bill. 
  • An opportunity to talk with Dr. Nelson about your health concerns.  You’ll be heard and be given the chance to ask questions. You won’t be rushed. 
  • A thorough chiropractic exam. We will make sure that you are in the right place. If your injury is something we can help you with we will tell you. Some back and neck injuries require referral for additional testing or medical co-management. 
  • We will discuss what is going on, how we will treat it, what therapies are indicated for your injury, teach you exercises and injury avoidance techniques and give you an idea of how long it will take for your body to heal.
  • It typically lasts about 45 minutes or more.

What does a chiropractor do at the First Visit?

What to consider before your first visit at Rising Sun Chiropractic

Chiropractors have a wide variety of approaches when it comes to helping a person heal. At Rising Sun Chiropractic we pride ourselves in being evidence based and patient centered. No one wants to live at any medical office and we do not recommend large treatment plans with dozens of visits.  Dr. Nelson and the team at Rising Sun Chiropractic want to learn your goals and your health challenges, based on that and your exam, we make recommendations.  We always encourage you to ask questions and “kick the tires’, come meet our team, see the office ask questions before you make the decision to start care with any office. 

Patient Centered Care
Have a role in your recovery.

First Chiropractic Visit at Rising Sun Chiropractic

The initial in-office clinical exam generally includes the following 3 areas:


Your history and Symptoms

In preparation for your chiropractic consultation, you will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about your symptoms and condition. Typical questions include:

  • When and how did the pain start?
  • Where is the pain felt?
  • Describe the pain—is it sharp, dull, searing/burning, or throbbing? Does it come and go, or is it continual?
  • Did the pain start as a result of an injury?
  • What activities/circumstances make it better or worse?

We will also ask you questions about your family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current treatments provided by other health professionals.


The Chiropractic Exam

A thorough chiropractic exam includes general tests, such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, reflexes, orthopedic and neurological tests. We have also specialized training in disc and movement injuries that can be included in your exam.  This specialized training gives us additional tools to use during your exam as needed.

Just a few things we evaluate:

  • Range of motion of the affected body part(s)
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength
  • Neurological integrity



Diagnostic Studies

Based on the results of the patient’s history and chiropractic exam, diagnostic studies may be helpful in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities to more accurately diagnose a condition. While an x-ray is the most common diagnostic study used during an initial chiropractic exam, it is not often needed. In general, an x-ray is used in the chiropractic setting to help:

  • Diagnose a recent trauma.
  • Diagnose spondyloarthritis.
  • Study a spinal deformity that might progress, such as scoliosis.

At Rising Sun Chiropractic we only refer for x-ray studies if there are specific concerns that only x-ray will reveal.  We strive to keep your costs down and unless it’s needed we won’t recommend getting x-rays done. Due to the associated risks of ionizing radiation exposure that occurs while taking an x-ray,  we limit it use to cases when they are medically necessary.

While an x-ray can help view the bones, it is not useful for studying the soft tissues. Even when we suspect soft tissue injuries or disc injuries we will often undergo a trial of care to determine response to treatment.  If there are no immediate concerns we will also try to avoid having an MRI taken. 

At Rising Sun Chiropractic we refer out for both X-Ray and MRI studies so they can be evaluated by a trained radiologist. 


Where is my pain coming from: Your Diagnosis and Recommendations

Findings from the your history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests usually help us to arrive at a specific diagnosis.  Your diagnosis will drive our recommendations.  There are some emergency conditions that we will refer out for like, tumor, fracture or infection. 

At the end of your initial visit, Dr. Nelson will explain your:

  • Diagnosed condition
  • Individualized chiropractic treatment plan(adjustments, therapies, exercises etc.) 
  • Anticipated length of your trial of chiropractic care

We will start you on the path to recovery on your first visit, based on the intensity of your symptoms and your exam findings we will start with the appropriate treatments. Here is an overview of the typical goals of chiropractic care, available treatment options, and average length of treatment.


Your Goals and our Goals of Chiropractic Care

Your chiropractor at Rising Sun Chiropractic will establish specific goals for your individual treatment plan:

Most of our immediate goals include pain management and avoiding re-injury but during our consultation we will establish the goals that are important to you and your life.  For example, if you are a tennis player and cannot due to back pain, that would be included in your set goals. 

To reach these goals, a specific number of chiropractic visits, treatments, therapies and home exercises will be recommended, depending on your diagnosed condition and treatment plan.


Length of Chiropractic Treatment at Rising Sun Chiropractic

Each person that comes in for chiropractic care at Rising Sun Chiropractic will have their own specific recommendations and treatment plan.  You are unique! There are some excellent studies that show improvement from injuries that we take into consideration. For example, most types of lower back pain, a treatment recommendation of 1 to 3 chiropractic visits per week for 2 to 4 weeks may be prescribed, followed by a re-examination by Dr. Nelson. While not all studies agree, some research suggests that having a few chiropractic treatments per week for a few weeks may be beneficial for reducing back pain:

  • One study found that having 3 to 4 chiropractic treatments per week for 4 weeks provided substantial back pain relief.
  • Another study looked at people who visited a chiropractor over a period of 6 weeks, getting anywhere from 0, 6, 12, or 18 sessions with hands-on adjustments. During this study  all groups with chiropractic treatment saw benefits, the group who had gotten 12 treatments over 6 weeks (2 per week) had slightly better results.

Depending on the condition, sometimes Dr. Nelson may recommend a maintenance program that involves continuing with exercises and occasional spinal manipulations. This is also a case by case situation.  Many of our patients enjoy how good they feel after having an adjustment, sometimes more severe injuries benefit from continued maintenance and many arthritic conditions get relief from some maintenance care. These options will be presented as needed and are always up to you and your health goals. 


Chiropractic Treatment Options at Rising Sun Chiropractic

Dr. Nelson and the team at Rising Sun Chiropractic has numerous treatment methods and recommendations, which may include some or all of the following:

Chiropractic adjustment treats back pain
Hands on chiropractic adjustment.
    • Spinal manipulation, which involves the high-velocity, low-amplitude treatment that is usually performed by a chiropractor using hands to make spinal adjustments.
      Spinal mobilization, which is gentler than spinal manipulation but still puts the joints through the full range of motion.
    • Strengthening and/or stretching exercises to improve muscle balance, strength, and coordination.
  • Fast neck pain results with soft tissue therapy
    Treatment options will include muscle and tendon therapy.
    • Patient education to improve posture and motor control, as well as possibly reduce anxiety.
    • Deep Tissue Laser Therapy, this powerful, pain free technique utilizes a specific wavelength of light that triggers a reduction of pain, improved circulation and faster healing. At Rising Sun Chiropractic we have the most powerful Deep Tissue Laser in Southern Minnesota. Learn more about laser therapy here
      Laser therapy for neck, back, shoulder and hip pain.
      Immediate pain relief with our deep tissue LightForce EXPi laser
    • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy utilizes stainless steel tools to help rehabilitate injured muscles and tendons.  It promotes faster healing, improved range of motion and reduced pain. 


  • Graston Therapy for back pain
    Soft tissue therapy using instruments can greatly speed up recovery.

    Nutritional Therapy to control inflammation, pain and recovery. Promoting healing from the inside out speeds up recovery and gets better results.  At Rising Sun Chiropractic we offer a variety of nutritional supplements and supportive treatments for a variety of conditions. 


Getting Results and Getting You Back to Normal

We audit our care, we don’t want to waste your time or ours and after the initial trial of care we will do a re-examination. At your re-exam, Dr. Nelson will measure the response to treatment and determine whether to continue care to achieve new health goals, release you from care or refer you to another specialist if your case is not improving. 

The chiropractic profession has a large variety of practice philosophies and chiropractic techniques, you should always feel comfortable with your treatment recommendations, have your questions answered and get results. If the chiropractic treatment does not help in relieving pain and the associated symptoms or if the pain worsens, Dr.Nelson will re-evaluate and potentially recommend a second opinion is advised.

Want to learn a little more.  Take a stroll through our Facebook page, we are always putting up great content to help you live healthy and feel great.

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