How to Choose a Chiropractor
Chiropractic is the third largest healing profession in the country. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) are well-trained health care professionals. They are experts in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes your muscles and bones. Above all, these doctors are experts in the structure and function of the spine (backbone).
Selecting a chiropractic doctor is a personal choice. You may want to ask a few friends or loved ones if they know a chiropractor they like. You may also want to ask your family doctor or other health care providers for names of chiropractors or centers that offer high quality chiropractic services.
Asking questions can help you make an informed choice. You may want to meet with more than one chiropractor before you make your choice.
Questions You Can Ask
What training, licensure, and experience do you have?
Before you ask any questions, make sure that the chiropractor is licensed to practice in your state. Then find out if the DC chiropractor has an area of specialty and what that is. Also ask the chiropractor how many years of experience he or she has.
What is treatment like for people with a health problem like my own?
How often would I come in for treatment?
How long should I expect treatment to last?
Chiropractors will outline a course of treatment and goals for your health problem. The chiropractor will talk to you about how long it should take for treatment to work for you. Your chiropractor will change your treatment as needed to help you reach your treatment goals.
What treatment would you suggest for my health problem or health goals?
Chiropractors do not prescribe drugs. They do not perform surgery either. Most chiropractors will suggest an adjustment/manipulative treatment. This treatment is used to:
Bring back normal joint function
Decrease pain and nerve irritation
Increase blood flow
Reduce muscle spasms
Improve range of motion
Chiropractors may also use other treatments, such as:
Massage and other soft tissue methods
Electrical muscle stimulation
Appliances (such as lower back supports)
Whichever treatment the chiropractor suggests, he or she should also tell you about the benefits and risks.
What if I need treatment beyond your scope of care?
Will you refer me to one of your contacts if needed?
You may need to get non-chiropractic treatment for your health problem. In this case, you will want your doctor to be able to refer you to other health care professionals.
Will I need to have an X-ray taken?
An X-ray is not always needed to start treatment. After going through your health history and an exam, the doctor may take an X-ray to confirm or rule out a larger health problem. An X-ray can check for conditions, such as:
Will you suggest exercises or other steps I can take to help my health problem?
It’s key that you take an active part in your treatment and healing process. You should expect your chiropractor to give you guidelines and training. This training may include an overview of proper exercises needed to take care of your health problem. Your chiropractor may suggest that you use other home-based treatments as well. This might include putting ice or heat on a certain part of your body.
Other Points to Consider
You should expect the chiropractor’s office staff to treat you with courtesy. When you call, are they prompt and professional? Do they answer all your questions? Do they help schedule future appointments? Be sure to pay attention to how the office staff treats you. Will you be comfortable working with the chiropractor and their staff?
After asking the questions listed above and meeting the chiropractor and office staff, think about the answers you were given. Does the chiropractor’s personality and approach seem like they will work for you? If so, you should feel comfortable that you have made an informed choice.
Look for a Doctor of Chiropractic that:
Is licensed in your state
Treats you with respect and professionalism
Listens to your health concerns
Answers your questions in a way that you can understand
Makes every effort to help you improve your health
Gives you advice about exercise, body mechanics, stretching, and posture to help avoid future problems
Takes X-rays only when needed and explains why they are being taken
Refers you to specialists or back to your primary doctor as needed
As you can see, there are plenty of things to think about when choosing a chiropractor. You deserve the best care possible. So do some research. And be sure to talk to different doctors. Most of all, take the time you need to make a choice you feel good about.
Chiropractic is the third largest healing profession in the country. Selecting a chiropractor can be a bit daunting, and discouraging. But there’s no need to be scared. Here are some tips on choosing a chiropractor for you.