This article explains what patients can expect during their first chiropractic consultation, which typically involves a chiropractic exam and may include the start of chiropractic treatment.

After the initial consultation, follow-up chiropractic appointments tend to be much shorter—perhaps 10 to 20 minutes.

First Chiropractic Visit

The initial in-office clinical exam generally includes the following 4 areas:

1. Patient History and Symptoms
In preparation for the chiropractic consultation, the patient will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about their 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?
Patients are usually asked to provide information on family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current treatments provided by other health professionals.

2. The Chiropractic Exam
A thorough chiropractic exam includes general tests, such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes. Specific orthopedic and neurological tests may also be used to assess the:

  • Range of motion of the affected body part(s)
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength
  • Neurological integrity
Further chiropractic tests such as having the patient move in a specific manner, posture analysis, or assess motion of the affected body part may be conducted as well.

3. 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 always needed. In general, an x-ray is used in the chiropractic setting to help1:

  • Diagnose a recent trauma.
  • Diagnose spondyloarthritis.
  • Study a spinal deformity that might progress, such as scoliosis.
Many chiropractic clinics can perform basic x-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are usually referred to an outside center.

4. Patient Diagnosis after the Chiropractic Exam
Findings from the patient’s history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests usually help the chiropractor to arrive at a specific diagnosis.

At the end of the patient's initial visit, the chiropractor will explain the patient's:

  • Diagnosed condition
  • Individualized chiropractic treatment plan (or other treatments)
  • Anticipated length of chiropractic care
Some chiropractors will also provide the above information in written form, so the patient may take it home to think about and conduct their own research.


If you would like to Chiropractic care, please contact Augustine Chiropractic Wesley Chapel at 813-994-6008.

Dr. Brian Augustine of Augustine Chiropractic in Wesley Chapel, FL, has over 31 years of experience treating patients for their neck pain and other ailments through personalized chiropractic care treatments. The locally owned and operated chiropractic clinic offers both in-office treatments and at-home therapy regimens to help people recover and heal from auto injuries and other conditions. The staff is dedicated to providing alternative and therapeutic solutions for better overall health. Give them a call today at (813) 994-6008 to schedule an appointment or visit their website to learn more about their services!