When you attend a chiropractic examination your chiropractor will:
- conduct a thorough medical history
- look at your vital signs – namely your body temperature, pulse, respiration rate (breathing rate) and blood pressure
- visually inspect for spinal curves or other visible health indicators
- use their hands to palpate (feel) your spine and the muscles and other soft tissues that support it
- conduct orthopaedic examinations – these are examinations designed to detect health conditions relating to the spine, bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues, including ligaments and tendons. Among other things, an orthopaedic exam includes moving the joint and measuring its range of movement
- conduct neurological examinations – these are examinations designed to assess the function of your motor, sensory and cranial nerves (such as testing your reflexes and testing for numbness).
Where required, your chiropractor can also refer you directly for other diagnostic tests such as an MRI or x-ray.
Based on their examination, your chiropractor will give you a differential diagnosis (that considers all of the potential causes of your primary complaint) and a working diagnosis (the most likely cause of your primary complaint). They will explain this diagnosis, including its natural history (when you would expect it to resolve), the treatment options available to you and any benefits or risks associated with those treatments.