What To Expect on Your First Visit
When coming to our office we want you to be as comfortable as possible and know what to expect on your first visit. Here is the general procedure when new patients come to our office for the first time.
Your First Visit…
You can expect the initial visit to be about 1 hour. The intent of your first visit is for the doctor to diagnose your problem and determine whether or not we can help you. Your initial visit will begin with some basic paperwork about you and your problem (you can download your initial paperwork here) – if you cannot do this prior to your appointment please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. After this the doctor will take a detailed history and conduct an examination. The steps are needed to diagnose the problem and determine the best course of action to help with your condition. The findings of the examination will then be reviewed with you, and,treatment options will be discussed.
Here is a detailed description of the steps taken during your first visits:
The doctor will sit down with you and ask specific questions about when the problem started, any previous treatment you have had, and what aggravates or relieves the symptoms. The doctor will also review your medical history. Your responses give the doctor a better understanding of your condition and help guide the examination process. Any questions or concerns that you may have can also be addressed at this time.
The examination consists of a series tests to help the doctor assess the health and function of your muscles, joints, and nerves. You may be asked to put on a pair of shorts so the doctor can better examine the area of chief complaint (we have these things here but you can bring your own if you prefer).
The 4 main goals of the history and examination are to:
1. Rule out emergency or non-musculoskeletal problems
2. Identify the pain generating structure(s)
Once the doctor rules out that your problem is related to the musculoskeletal system they will begin to determine which joint, muscle, nerve, tendon or ligament is responsible for the presenting symptoms. Rarely is there one specific structure that is the problem. More commonly, several related tissues have become dysfunctional and are responsible for the pain and discomfort.
3. Identify the underlying dysfunction
It is insufficient to stop at just identifying the tissue causing pain. In order to fully resolve the symptoms and prevent the condition from recurring in the future we must determine why that tissue has become strained – in other words, how did the problem develop in the first place? This requires the examination of not just the area of symptoms but of the function and biomechanics of other muscles and joints of the body as a whole.
4. Identify any perpetuating factors
Often simple activities such as poor posture, sitting incorrectly, poor workstation ergonomics, and improper bending or lifting form can exacerbate the problem and interfered with healing and recovery. These factors need to be identified and corrected through simple education and activity modification to take the strain off the problematic tissues.
Report of Findings
Once the doctor has obtained all the required information from the history and examination, a diagnosis can be formed. This is when the doctor will discuss with you the exam findings and diagnosis, as well as the treatment approach that needs to be undertaken to resolve the problem.
Part of every patient treatment plan is to educate each patient on how their specific injury occurred. By understanding the condition it provides the patient with a better understanding of both their in office and home treatment program, and greatly helps to prevent future recurrences of the condition.
If treatment is warranted and time allows, a treatment will be provided on the first visit.