During your first visit, the chiropractor will complete a thorough examination that includes:
Prior to your initial consultation, you will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about your overall health history. Afterward, Dr. Rasmussen will meet with you will want you to tell her about your current condition.
Questions may include:
- When did your pain/condition start?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- A description of the symptoms ( for example: burning, pinching, aching, dull, sharp, tingling)
- Do you know of anything specific that may have caused an injury?
- Where is the pain located?
- Does it radiate to other areas?
- Does anything improve or worsen the pain?
- Have you sought care from another health care provider for this condition or any other current conditions?
- Have you taken any medication to alleviate the symptoms previously or on the day of the appointment?
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. 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 to evaluate your condition and develop a working diagnosis. In addition to general physical examination procedures such as blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, the examination will include specific orthopedic and neurological tests to assess:
- Range of motion of the affected
- Muscle tone
- Muscle strength
- Neurological integrity
Specific Chiropractic Examination
After the history of the condition the chiropractic examination may be the most important part of your examination. Many patients come to us after having seen their primary medical physician, an orthopedist and physical therapist without relief of their symptoms. They come to us frustrated and may suspect or even been told it is "all in your head" or " you are just getting older." A chiropractic examination mainly consists of "palpation" which technically means " to touch or to feel." Chiropractors are taught, and develope through years of experience, a heightened sense of touch. Most patients will tell Dr. Rasmussen that other health care providers " never even touched where it hurt." Dr. Rasmussen will "palpate" the spine, the muscles supporting the spine and the involved joints of the extremity ( arm and leg joints) to determine the position and function of each joint. This examination can find the problem when expensive tests such as MRIs, EMGs or CT scans can not.
The combination of your history and the examination, will allow your chiropractor to reach a specific diagnosis. The doctor will take time and explain:
- Your specific condition
- The chiropractic treatment plan (or other recommended treatments)
- The anticipated length of care
If Dr. Rasmussen determines that your condition would be more appropriately treated by another health care professional, she will make the proper referral. Your treatment plan may also involve collaborative care with other health care providers. In many cases, such as those involving lower back pains, chiropractic care may be the primary treatment method. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal problems associated with the condition.
Toward the end of your first appointment, may experience your first treatment. While patients are typically asked to lie on a specially designed table, Dr. Rasmussen most often uses her hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, to reduce pain and restore or enhance joint function. Dr. Rasmussen will adapt the treatment to meet your specific needs and is able to treat patients of all ages and in all ranges of health. Other treatments, including electrical muscle stimulation, ice and heat, traction, muscle work, and rehabilitative exercises, may also be used. The extent and duration of the patient’s problems coupled with the hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment may require numerous visits. Dr. Rasmussen will tell you how long you can expect the initial phase of treatment to last. You may also receive instructions on activities or exercises to conduct at home. This may include ice or heat application, avoidance of certain activities or positions, as well as home stretches.