Chiropractors can help with a number of issues. If you are seeking the services of a chiropractor then the most important thing you can do for yourself is choose the best one for your needs. Due to the physical nature of chiropractic treatments you will want to consider not only the rapport and qualifications of your possible chiropractors but also their style of joint manipulation. Different styles may yield different results. Also, there are many patients who prefer one style over another. It is important that you follow the tips below to ensure that you are selecting the best chiropractor for your situation.
Getting Recommendations for a Chiropractor
A good place to begin your hunt for your perfect chiropractor is with your primary care physician or physical therapist. They should have a list of providers who they have deemed are trustworthy and competent that they can provide to you. You may want to ask them who they would recommend for one of their family members.
You can also get a good recommendation from friends or co-workers. Just remember that there are varying styles of joint manipulation so one person’s idea of a good chiropractor may be different from another’s.
While it is always good to have a list of recommended chiropractors, it is more important to be sure that you’re finding a doctor who will be able to meet your needs in a style that you feel comfortable with. After you’ve compiled a list you will want to research and interview the providers to see who you feel most comfortable with.
It is always a good idea to have a telephone interview or to meet with your potential chiropractor in person to learn more about their practice and their style of joint manipulation. This personal consultation can help you feel more comfortable with the doctor, the clinic and the techniques they use.
There are some questions you may want to ask yourself potential provider:
- Do you feel comfortable in the clinic and with the staff?
- Is the waiting room time a comfortable length for you?
- Do you feel comfortable with the chiropractor?
- Do you feel like the chiropractor listens to your questions and concerns and answers questions in a way that you can understand?
- How much experience does the chiropractor have and do they have a specialty?
- Does the chiropractor have a list of references from other medical professionals that they’ve worked with?
It is often helpful to write a list of questions down before your consultation so you don’t forget to ask something during the interview.
It is a good idea to do your research on any provider you may be considering. Each state has a Chiropractic Regulation & Licensing Board. This will provide you with any information regarding disciplinary actions against chiropractors in your state. Additionally, you can check to see if the college your chiropractor attended is accredited on the Council on Chiropractic Education website.
There are many different techniques used by chiropractors for joint manipulation. Some use their hands while others may use instruments. Some may use quick and firm manipulation while others are gentler and have a lighter touch. Different individuals tend to favor different techniques. Some people prefer the immediate relief offered by “joint popping” spinal manipulation and others prefer a low-force technique. Treatment is largely determined by what you, as a patient, are comfortable with and what techniques you are looking for during the course of your treatment.
One thing you will want to be on the lookout for is a chiropractor that claims to be the only one with a technique that no other chiropractor uses. This could indicate a questionable technique. Other questionable behaviors include:
- Claiming they can “cure” various conditions such as heartburn, diabetes or asthma.
- Recommending a long-term frequent treatment plan that spans a year or more based upon a very brief visit.
- Requiring substantial pre-payment
- Recommending the same treatment for every patient
- Not mentioning a treatment end point
- Manipulating symptom free areas
- Pressure to purchase supplements from their practice
- Continued treatments after the issue is resolved
If you notice any of these questionable behaviors you may want to keep looking for a less questionable chiropractor.
Depending on the specifics of your situation you will probably need anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks of treatment to feel a significant reduction in pain. As pain decreases and function improves the frequency of your visits should decrease. A good chiropractor will do everything they can to help their patients feel better as fast as possible. They will also give tips on how to avoid future problems and give recommendations for exercises and stretches that can help at home. If needed, your chiropractor may also offer advice about your posture, back supports or belts to help ensure that you have fewer problems going forward. Their primary goal is to help you feel comfortable and pain free.
Some questions you may want to ask in regard to your potential chiropractor’s treatment program include:
- What is your typical treatment plan?
- What services do you offer? Some will offer additional services such as massage, strength training, or rehabilitation.
- What is your recommendation if your treatment program doesn’t help?
- Have you ever referred patients to other health professionals? Why?
These questions can give insight as to how the chiropractor handles more difficult cases.
It is also a good idea to get your treatment plan in writing. This enables you to research or get a second opinion. The length of the treatment depends upon how the patient responds. Some treatments may end up requiring more or less time depending on the individual case. Be sure to discuss this with your potential chiropractor to make sure you understand the possible fluctuation in treatment.
It is always important that you inquire about the cost of the chiropractor’s services before you begin a treatment plan. This will ensure that you aren’t caught off guard if the cost ends up being significantly more than you were expecting. It is also very important that you check with your insurance to see if the chiropractor you are considering is part of your insurance’s network of providers.
You will want to ask what the estimated cost of each visit will be, the amount your insurance will cover, and the cost of the consultation. It is also a good idea to ask which forms of payment your chiropractor accepts in the event that the visits are not covered 100% by your insurance. Your chiropractor may also want to take x-rays if they determine there could be an underlying cause to your pain. If that is the case then you should ask them about why they would like to take an x-ray the charges and coverage for the x-ray as well. Not every patient should be x-rayed but if your chiropractor recommends it then be sure it is needed.
Some chiropractors offer a reduced fee for cash payments at the time of service or a family/volume discount. Asking if there are any discounts available can also help save you some money.
You may inquire as to if your provider offers a satisfaction guarantee as well.
Selecting a Chiropractor
Many people interview several providers before they find the best one suited to treat their condition. This is due to their comfort level as well as the techniques used by the chiropractor. You should never feel pressured to select a specific doctor or clinic. Don’t feel like you are forced to use the first chiropractor you talk to. It is okay to shop around until you find a chiropractor that you are absolutely comfortable with.
Select a chiropractor that makes you feel comfortable and one whose techniques you are comfortable with. Be sure to discuss the treatment plan for your situation in advance along with payment and the expected payment plan.
The best thing you can do to select the best chiropractor for you is to educate yourself on the various techniques offered and think about what you are comfortable with. Research potential chiropractors to make sure they’ve attended an accredited college and have the experience need to help treat your condition. Keep an eye out for red flags that could indicate your potential chiropractor participates in shady business dealings or is trying to take advantage of you.
Remember that chiropractic care varies from patient to patient and each person must be individually evaluated. Your chiropractor should not make any promises for the result of the treatment without thoroughly examining you.