Your First Visit

What to Expect
at the Chiropractor

Chiropractic adjustments, or spinal manipulation, is a well-known and widely used pain relief treatment for a variety of lower back, sciatica, and neck pain. This article explains what patients can expect during their first chiropractic consultation, which typically includes the following:

Filling out
new patient forms

A consultation

A detailed
chiropractic exam.

Possible Diagnostic
studies like x-rays

A review of
findings (diagnosis)

A treatment plan

treatment may be
done on the first day

Lasts about
45 minutes or more.

The initial consultation can range from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Follow-up chiropractic appointments are typically much shorter—between 10 and 30 minutes.

What to Think About Before Seeing a Chiropractor

Welcome to The Arizona Chiropractic and Holistic Health Center in North Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Douglas Morris is the founder, clinic director, and licensed chiropractor. Dr. Doug believes in a multi-disciplined approach to chiropractic care.

During the examination, Dr. Doug leaves no stone unturned, he will dive deep and make sure to take a “holistic” (view you as a whole person) and provide you with a customized treatment plan whether or not it involves him.

Dr. Doug’s passion is in treating the body without drugs or medication; however, he is not naive and knows that there are many conditions that, require additional medical professionals.

Dr. Morris is proficient in many sports-therapy modalities including Graston Technique, FAKTR, kinesio taping, myofascial release technique, cold laser and various percussion techniques.

New Patient Paperwork.

Prior to your first consultation and visit, when you walk into our chiropractic clinic, our receptionist will greet you as a member of our family. Just like any other physician, we will ask you to fill out our patient forms, which can be found under Patient Resources, Online Forms. If you decide not to fill out the paperwork prior, please arrive about 15 minutes early for your appointment to fill out the paperwork.

New patient paperwork provides us with your medical history as well as details about your condition. Though tedious, it is important to write down a detailed list of your symptoms, prescriptions, diagnoses, as well as a list of any illnesses/conditions that you or your close family members have had.

Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. This will allow the chiropractor to examine you and perform any necessary tests, such as X-rays. If your chiropractor accepts insurance, bring it with you 3″ data-animationOffset=”top-into-view”>

Patient History and Symptoms.

Following that, you will meet with Dr. Douglas Morris to discuss your health-related issues, concerns, and potential treatment options. Dr. Douglas Morris will use this initial visit to learn more about you, your condition, and your expectations in order to determine how chiropractic care can help you achieve your goals.

Typical questions include:

  • Where are you having pain?

  • How bad is the pain?

  • How long have you had the pain?

  • What happened? Is it a result of an injury or car accident?

  • How would you describe the pain, is it sharp, dull, achy, burning, or throbbing?

  • Does anything make it better or worse?

The Chiropractic Examination.

Dr. Douglas Morris will perform a thorough chiropractic examination after your consultation. Besides your basic physical exams like blood pressure, pulse, and respiration, the following tests may be performed during this initial consultation:

  • Reflex testing

  • Postural exam

  • Orthopedic testing

  • Muscle strength

  • Range of motion testing

  • Nervous system integrity testing

Your chiropractor may recommend a variety of medical tests as well, including blood work and urinalysis.

X-Ray Studies.

Depending on what the chiropractic exam reveals, diagnostic studies may be useful in revealing pathologies, identifying structural abnormalities, identifying any serious conditions, or more accurately diagnosing a condition. While x-rays are the most commonly used diagnostic study during an initial chiropractic exam, they are not always required. X-ray in a chiropractic office is generally used to help diagnose [1]:

  • Fracture from recent trauma.

  • Arthritis.

  • Tumors.

  • Spine deformities like scoliosis.

  • Congenital abnormalities.

While an x-ray can be used to see the bones, it cannot be used to study the soft tissues; so, when soft tissue damage is suspected, such as a disc problem, a torn muscle, or nerve compression, an MRI scan is likely to be recommended.

Although many chiropractic clinics can perform basic x-rays, an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are usually referred to a separate facility.

After the Chiropractic Exam–
Report of Findings and Diagnosis.

After collection of the findings from the patient’s history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests, your chiropractor will provide you with a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, Dr. Douglas Morris can determine whether the condition will respond to chiropractic care, because certain conditions, such as fractures, tumors, or infections, may not respond to chiropractic care and may require the care of a specialist physician. Since Dr. Morris is dedicated to helping his patients, not only will he provide the best treatment, but if there is something not in his wheelhouse, he will point you in the right direction.


At the end of this initial appointment, the chiropractor will determine whether you are able to receive an adjustment during that first visit or if more information and testing is required. Spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and/or soft tissue massage may be used in treatment. Because treatment is interactive, you can express your concerns about the various treatment styles at any time.

The goal of adjustments is to realign the spinal vertebrae, which can be the cause of the patient’s condition or contribute to any pain or sickness they are experiencing. Hand adjustments or specialized instruments can be used to apply quick and directed pressure to a specific joint or spot on the neck or back. During the adjustment, you may hear a pop or feel some discomfort. After the adjustment is complete, you can take a few minutes to relax before returning to your normal daily activities.

Goals with Chiropractic Treatment.

Here’s a rundown of the most common goals of chiropractic care, as well as the available treatment options and the average length of treatment.

Short Term Goals

  • pain relief

  • restoration of normal joint function

  • muscle balance

Long Term Goals

  • regaining functional independence and tolerance for normal daily activities

Depending on the patient’s diagnosed condition and treatment plan, a specific number of chiropractic visits will be recommended to achieve these goals.