What to Expect as a New Patient

Brief Paperwork

Before your first visit, we have some paperwork for you to fill out.

The paperwork provides us with general information about yourself and the problem you are seeing us for. Please complete these forms before your first appointment. You will also receive a link to our paperwork in your welcome email following scheduling an appointment with our office. 

History & Examination

In order to determine a working diagnosis, the doctors will perform a full evaluation including a patient history, functional movement observation, range of motion and strength measurements, and any relevant special diagnostic tests.

Information from the history and examination help determine what structures you have injured, whether chiropractic care or physical therapy can help, and what exercises or other home care measures are indicated at that time.

Review of Findings

Following the history and examination, we will explain your diagnosis and discuss how chiropractic and/or physical therapy can help. We will also explain what treatments may be incorporated, the prognosis and how long the treatment plan will run, and any referrals that may be necessary to insure comprehensive management of your condition. This is also a great time for you to ask your doctor any questions about the examination or anything on your mind related to the diagnosis and treatment.

Keep in mind treatment plans can vary significantly in length based on the nature of your injury and individual requirements. You can rest assured that we will never recommend excessive or unnecessary treatment. We are here to get you as well as possible, as quickly as we can!

Same Day Treatment

Once finished with the examination and review of findings, most patients will be provided with their first treatment during this same visit. 

  • For Chiropractic patients, this generally consists of a chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue mobilization, and/or modalities including electrical stimulation, hot pack, or ice.
  • For physical therapy patients, a home program is usually demonstrated and performed to ensure proper completion and promote early pain free movement, improving tissue nourishment.

Home Instructions

Prior to leaving, patients will be given instructions on certain activities or procedures to be conducted at home. This may include ice or heat application, avoidance of certain activities or positions, posture and activity advice, as well as home exercises and/or stretches.

Imaging Studies

Most injuries do not require x-rays or advanced imaging (MRI, CT). We never recommend imaging unless fracture or other serious pathologies are suspected, as most other imaging is not useful for treatment and can be costly. If necessary imaging will be done at Martha Jefferson Hospital or UVA, where a medical radiologist as well as your doctor will review the films.

1. Relief Care

Relief care is the first stage of care for most patients. The primary goal during this initial stage is to provide the individual with symptomatic relief. Treatments focus on those techniques and therapies which most quickly and effectively reduce pain and other discomforts, allowing the majority of individuals to continue their daily activities.

Modalities that reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm are also used during this stage when present.

2. Corrective Care

The second stage of care consists of correcting the impairments discovered during the evaluation, which likely contributed to the condition. This may include manual therapy (including manipulation), therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education, therapeutic activities, and gait training.  

It is extremely important that the patient comply with the home program given by the doctor during this stage of care. Tissues and structures that are not fully healed and rehabilitated are prone to future problems. Patients should also be aware that once pain and discomfort have subsided, tissue healing and functional restoration is many times still incomplete and will often require additional treatments. Remember, we are not here to recommend extra treatment, we are here to help get you better and keep you better.

This stage may also include advice on lifestyle modifications to promote overall well being. Office treatment often includes both a manual component as well as exercises.  It is imperative that we address the whole person, not just the condition that brought you to the clinic. We may also give advice on other important life aspects including ergonomics, nutrition, and training. 

3. Chiropractic Wellness Care and Training

Once the tissues are healed, the patient may be recommended to continue with periodic checkups. It is generally recommended that patients check-in monthly with their chiropractor to ensure optimal spinal health. Research studies have show that monthly chiropractic visits significantly reduce the number of back and neck pain episodes per year. Chiropractic checkups provide similar benefits to the spine that dental checkups provide to the teeth. Namely, catching minor problems and disturbances before they have the opportunity to cause pain, discomfort or lead to injury.  

We also offer training services led by our staff physical therapists. These sessions will build on what is learned through rehabilitation to improve strength, performance, and flexibility. Training sessions will be designed to help patient achieve personal training and health goals.