What to Expect at the Chiropractor

Many people are nervous to try chiropractors even though they have friends and family members who talk about the great benefits of it.

Many people are nervous because the adjustments look uncomfortable, or they do not like to be touched by strangers, or because they do not understand that a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is in fact a doctor- name just a few of the many reasons people are hesitant to initiate a visit to a chiropractor. There are many different styles of chiropractic care, some of which do not require a patient to be touched by the doctor’s hands and ways of doing adjustments with only the slightest pressure.

While no medical treatment is 100% guaranteed for every single person, many people who have lived with moderate to severe chronic pain that Western doctors could not fix, no longer live in pain because of chiropractic adjustments.

In addition to pain relief, many people have found that one or more of the following improved for them after treatments from a chiropractor:

  • mobility
  • energy
  • sleep
  • migraines
  • tension headache
  • flexibility
  • fibromyalgia
  • immune system  
  • feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression

Your First Visit

While not all chiropractic practices and doctors of chiropractic are the same, many do follow some of the same basic protocols.

what to expect at the chiropractor

History, Exams & Tests

Do not worry, you are not going to be given a history exam when you go to your first chiropractic appointment.  A typical first appointment involves the DC taking the patient’s history and then performs a physical exam. The physical exam is  to help the DC develop a working diagnosis. Part of this exam may involve your chiropractor asking you to show them how you are able to move in certain ways such as bending over, raising your arms to your head, and/or walking down a hall, etc. Chiropractic patients can usually remain fully clothed during this exam and subsequent treatments even though bulky clothes such as jackets and sweaters will likely need to be removed.

Your DC may order tests such as an X-Ray, CT scan or MRI to help them with their diagnosis.

what to expect at the chiropractor

Diagnosis & Treatment Plan

Once your doctor has your history, has examined you, and has received any additional test results they ordered, they will determine whether or not chiropractic services are appropriate for your condition. If they are, the chiropractor will come up with and go over a treatment plan with the patient. The patient should be able to ask questions and let the chiropractor know if they are uncomfortable with any part of the plan so that the chiropractor can modify the plan.

Chiropractors often work in conjunction with the other healthcare providers their patients see. They may determine that you should go to another doctor in conjunction with coming to see them. Many chiropractors make these determinations through a process of shared decision making with their patients.

what to expect at the chiropractor


It is important that you feel comfortable with a potential chiropractor. They should take their time to explain the things they are doing, their diagnosis and their plans for how to treat you. They should be able to give you general guidelines on how often you will need to come in for adjustments and over what period of time you can expect to feel positive results. If a potential chiropractor does not make you feel comfortable with them and take the time to explain things to you and to answer your questions, there is a good chance that they are not the chiropractor for you.

Chiropractic treatments are non-invasive and do not include medications with negative side effects or invasive surgeries.

In addition to adjustments, chiropractors often give advice on lifestyle modifications, exercise instruction, nutritional advice and home care, in order to promote healthier lives and bodies.