Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives. Be it a mild ache that never seems to leave, a shooting pain that jolts down the leg, or a tweak in the shoulders and neck that leaves you with a blinding headache. Popping a pain pill might make the symptoms go away for a while. But it always comes back after the drug wears off. Why not actually fix the problem, instead of slapping a Band-Aid on and hoping it will go away? A good chiropractor is the answer you’re looking for. But what are the qualities of a good chiropractor and how can you pick them out from the crowd?
What do Chiropractors Do?
Chiropractors are medically trained to use hands-on spinal manipulations and other treatments to properly align the musculoskeletal structure of the body—particularly the spine. There are thirty-three bones in the spine, aided by dozens of ligaments and muscles that attach our spine to everything from the tip of the head down to the toes. A chiropractor specializes in these parts. These treatments enable the body to heal itself without the use of surgeries or medications. Once properly aligned, all the pressure and strain created from a compressed muscle or disc in the spine will naturally go away.
A good chiropractor will often look beyond spinal manipulation and may also prescribe treatments such as:
- Soft Tissue therapy—to relieve muscle spasms, relax tight muscles, and release the tension in the surrounding tissues connected to the problem muscle.
- Adjustments—to skillfully and gently realign joints, as well as increase the range of motion to a particular area.
- Kinesio Taping—joint bracing or taping to support sprained muscles and joints while they heal.
- Stretches and Exercises—teach the patient moves to restore and maintain mobility.
- Diet guidance—assist on maintaining a diet that will reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.
How do I Choose a Good Chiropractor?
Choosing the right Chiropractor for you isn’t as easy as walking into a grocery store and picking one off the self. It sounds daunting, but there are some things that need to be considered when selecting the right Chiropractor for you.
Some of the top qualities of a good chiropractor include:
- Strong Communication Skills: Communication skills is one of the key things that a chiropractor needs. With how interconnected the spine is to the rest of the body, a negligent injury could be catastrophic. A good chiropractor will listen to their patient carefully to ensure that they fully understand the pain and are able to pin point the location. Not only is listening key, but they also should be able to properly explain what, where and how they are going to treat the problem.
- Focused on the Patient: As a chiropractor, they might have seen hundreds of slipped discs. But that doesn’t mean that every slipped disc patient is the same. A good chiropractor should look at every patient individually and treat them each with respect, listening to their specific needs and promoting a relaxing environment.
- Flexible with Treatments: Just like each patient is different, each case is different. Sometimes what worked for one person won’t work for another. It’s possible that a type of treatment won’t be effective for a patient. A good Chiropractor will admit when it’s not working and come up with another plan to get the desired result, instead of running in stubborn circles.
Other Qualities of a Good Chiropractor
Being great with patients is terrific. However, there are a few other things you should also look for in a chiropractor:
- Good Education: Not only is it important for the chiropractor to have a good base education, but that they keep up with the latest treatments. Medical practices change as researchers discover more and more around the human body. A practice what was thought to be correct ten years ago might not actually be true today. A good chiropractor never stops learning about their trade. Do to the nature of their career, they need to be up to date on the spine, the nervous and muscular systems, exercise, movement and nutrition.
- Have a Passion for What They Do: It sounds simply, but a person who loves what they do will do it better. When a chiropractor (or anyone) has passion and pride in what they do, they are more focused on their patient, treating them as a person they want to help—not a number they have to deal with before they go home.
Questions to Consider Asking
Now that you know some qualities to look for in a Chiropractor, there are some questions you can ask him or her to help decide if they are the right fit for you. You can ask these to yourself as you meet them or to the clinic’s staff when making the appointment.
- Does the chiropractor answer all the questions fully, when asked by the patient?
- Do you feel comfortable talking to the chiropractor?
- Is the chiropractor courteous and friendly?
- Does the chiropractor listen intently to your explanation of symptoms and treatment concerns? Do they ask questions to clarify if they don’t understand the first time?
- Does the chiropractor explain what treatments they are going to use clearly?
Living with constant back pain is something that no one should just accept. You have the right to live to pain free.