What happens at a first appointment?

The first chiropractic appointment lasts longer than just a few minutes, since the chiropractor has to make a chiropractic diagnosis.

1 – Clinical interview or history-taking

During this interview, your chiropractor will ask you to describe the reasons for your consultation, and your current and past state of health: previous surgeries, diseases, events, pregnancies, medication, accidents, family history, other treatments, etc.

Analyzing your answers will give the chiropractor a better idea of the exams needed to make a diagnosis.

Although most of the exams are done at the first consultation, complementary tests or exams that are indicated in your case may be done subsequently.


If you have had tests (e.g., X-rays, medical assessments) done recently, the results will help the chiropractor better understand your condition. Whenever possible, bring the results of these exams to your first chiropractic appointment.

2 – Chiropractic exam

To understand the nature of your problem or assess your neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) health, the chiropractor will conduct an in-depth chiropractic exam that will help guide the NMS diagnosis.

This physical exam typically includes the following:

  • An analysis of your posture
  • An orthopaedic and neurological assessment
  • An assessment of your spinal or other joint mobility in order to identify any joint mobility issues

3 – Radiological exam, if necessary

A chiropractor may decide to have X-rays taken of your spine or another joint.

Before having the X-rays taken, the chiropractor will explain the procedure and answer all your questions.

The spinal exam is usually done with the patient in a seated position or lying down on a treatment table, and involves a thorough visual examination of the problem region and direct contact with the skin in that region.

4 – The neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) diagnosis

After completing these steps, the chiropractor will provide you with a neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis. He or she will indicate whether chiropractic care can be beneficial or whether it would be preferable to refer you to another healthcare professional.

No treatment can be administered until these professional acts have been performed.

If chiropractic can help you, the chiropractor will recommend a treatment program tailored to your condition and your health objectives, and take the time to familiarize you with the chiropractic approach and how it can help.

Before proceeding with the examination and proposed treatment, the chiropractor must obtain your free and informed written consent, after informing you of the nature of the problem to be treated, the treatment procedure, and the potential benefits and risks.

Chiropractors are responsible for determining whether chiropractic care is indicated in your case, whether it should be adapted or whether it is preferable that you consult another professional (a chiropractor who uses a different approach or a healthcare professional in a different specialty).

No other healthcare professional is better placed to determine whether chiropractic care can help.

Did you know?

In Quebec, chiropractors are among the few healthcare professionals to be able to prescribe, take, and analyze X-rays of the entire musculoskeletal system. In addition to examining the neck and spine, chiropractors can conduct a radiological examination of the lower limbs (e.g., hips, knees, ankles) and the upper limbs (e.g., shoulders, elbows, wrists) if it is deemed necessary based on the physical examination.


Take the time to discuss the treatment plan proposed by your chiropractor so that you clearly understand its importance. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, whether to clarify the diagnosis or the procedures and techniques used as part of your treatment, or to understand how your condition is progressing.

You can obtain a copy of your file at any time. Your chiropractor is a partner in your health management. It is therefore important to carefully follow any advice and recommendations in order to ensure the quick recovery or maintenance of optimal health.