Be ready to provide your medical history, which will be essential for preparing a course of treatment for you. Medical records, such as diagnostic test results, or imaging results, such as X-rays and MRIs, also will provide important information about your condition.
Certain things in your health history are particularly vital to a chiropractor. This information could provide important clues that will allow your chiropractor to properly diagnose your problem. Such clues include whether you have or have had:
- Bone disorders, such as osteoporosis
- Circulatory problems (poor circulation could be a sign that you have a subluxation, for example)
- Dizziness or blurred vision
- Heart conditions or high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Infections, especially those affecting your spine
- Injuries, such as bone fractures, muscle sprains, or disc injuries
- Joint disorders such as arthritis
- Sleep apnea
- History of Cancer
- Any medications or supplements you are taking
- Any surgeries or hospitalizations
Be prepared to answer such questions as:
- Did the onset of your pain immediately follow an injury?
- Is there anything you do that improves or worsens the pain?
- When and how did your pain start?
- Where is the pain centered?
The physical exam
Here's what to expect:
The first order of business is checking your vital signs, blood pressure, and a foot scan to see if your weight is distributed evenly.
Sometimes measurements will be taken to determine leg length. Next, you will be asked to do a series of simple and easy activities or movements. These movements will provide information about your motor skills, balance, and gait, among others. These tests also help determine your range of motion, muscle tone and strength, and integrity of your nervous system. Any abnormalities could provide clues about a condition. You may be asked to:
- Bend your neck, middle and lower back in all directions – misaligned spinal vertebrae can sometimes be detected during this range of motion.
- Bend your knee to your chest while lying on your back – this is a test to see if there is a problem with your lower back or hips.
- Resist when the Chiropractor attempts to push down on your arms or legs – this is to determine if muscle weakness and or nerve damage exists.
- Lie down and raise one leg – this is reffered to as the straight leg test, in which the chiropractor gently pushes on your raised leg to check for sciatic nerve irritation or tight hamstrings.
- Stand or sit while the Chiropractor observes your posture, which can somtimes show if you misalignments in your spine.
- Walking in tandem and or standing still with your eyes closed – this test will determine your ability to balance properly.
- Abnormalities in the way your pelvis and spine coordinate can be seen during this test.
Next, a short physical exam by the chiropractor will involve palpation, or use of the hands, to explore the alignment of our spine and other structures, as well as provide information on any stimuli that may cause pain. Depending on your condition, a series of diagnostic tests may follow. These tests may include MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, blood work, and other laboratory tests, as well as a foot scan to determine if your weight is distributed evenly.
The Chiropractor may also consult with you about making important lifestyle changes, such as exercise, nutrition, and smoking cessation to improve our chances of healing faster or preventing further injury.