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Posted on 12-28-2015

What Happens During My First Visit To A Baltimore Chiropractor?

As a Baltimore Chiropractor, I often meet people in my everyday life who have never been to a chiropractor. Sure, they might understand a little bit about what Chiropractic is or what spinal manipulation is, but they do not know what to expect. Often I hear when a patient shows up "Wow, this was way more medical than I expected!" I suppose I am not sure what it is that they are expecting. So rather than explain the "first visit" to everyone individually, I thought I might write a small blog post about what happens when you arrive for your first visit.

As with any doctors office, the first thing a patient (or perspective patient) does when they get to the office is to sign in with the receptionist. The receptionist will greet them and then hand them some standard paperwork to fill out. This paperwork, just like in your primary care doctors office, records your past medical history, current presenting illness/injury, insurance information, and many standard pieces of medical literature such as informed consent, and HIPAA privacy documents. Most patients can complete the new patient paperwork in about 15 minutes. As such we ask most patients to arrive about 15 minutes prior to their appointment so that they can fill out all of their paperwork and be seen promptly. In addition to filling out paperwork the receptionist will make a copy of your driver's license and any applicable insurance cards. At this point the receptionist will figure out what the patient's financial responsibility for the appointment will be. We prefer that patients give us some time to do this on their behalf, because there are TONS of different plans and it is not always quick and easy for us to get information. Most patients who have private health insurance have a copay and/or deductible that applies to chiropractic care. We prefer to have an open an honest discussion with patients about their degree of financial responsibility prior to beginning treatment. That way, there are no surprises when the insurance EOB comes.

Once the paperwork has been filled out to completion the receptionist creates a physical chart for the patient. The charts is placed in the new patient examination room for the Baltimore Chiropractor to review. It is said that medical history makes up 80 % of a diagnosis and I believe that to be true. By the time I have a patient walk down the hall to my new patient examination room I already have a good understanding of what their physical ailments are, why they are here, and whether or not I expect to be able to help them.

I have a patient sit down and explain to me what brings them in: What hurts? How did it start hurting? Have they ever been injured before? How did they improve last time? How did they hear about us? What questions or concerns they might have with chiropractic care. The list of questions that I ask is usually much longer, but for the sake of simplicity, let's just say that make sure that I understand what their issue is before proceeding.

Now comes the physical examination. I perform a standard neuromusculoskeletal examination on all patients. This helps me to assess the degree of their injury, to determine if x-rays are required, and to confirm my working diagnosis. I also perform a standard physical examination where I record height, weight, and vital signs.

Once I have a good working diagnosis for an injury, we begin some some physical therapy modalities. This is where my clinic is different than most chiropractor's clinics. Many of the other Baltimore Chiropractors like to have a patient return to the office before beginning treatment to give the impression that they are really thinking hard about what is wrong and whether or not they can help. I don't like sending patients that are in pain away from the office - I want to give them what they came for - pain relief!

After the patient has received some modalities to help soothe and break up muscle spasms, we usually progress to a chiropractic adjustment room where I render spinal manipulation, or "back cracking" for the layman. I give patients some at-home instructions, provide them with an ice pack to control post-treatment soreness, and we schedule a follow up appointment to monitor their response to treatment. I do not provide long term treatment plans, nor do I require patients to pre-pay for their care. I take each injury and each treatment "a day at a time".

If you have been considering making an appointment with Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic but have been hesistant to because you did not know what to expect on a first visit, I hope that this blog post shed a little light on the subject for you. Keep in mind, if I do not think that I can help you for your particular condition I will let you know and will help steer you in the right direction. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by just asking questions.

Dr. Gulitz

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