Once you've decided on a chiropractor, consider your first appointment to be like a job interview, to make sure the partnership will be a good fit.
Plan to ask your chiropractor these questions at the first visit or consultation:
- Do you treat conditions other than neuromusculoskeletal problems that have a mechanical origin? Be on guard for any chiropractor who claims he or she can cure ear infections, colic, asthma, and any other systemic problems. An editor of the New England Journal of Medicine put it best: "That spinal manipulation is somewhat effective symptomatic therapy for some patients with acute low back pain is, I believe, no longer in dispute, but there appears to be little evidence to support the value of spinal manipulation for non-musculoskeletal conditions. For this reason, I think it is currently inappropriate to consider chiropractic as a broad-based alternative to traditional medical care."
- Did you acquire any post-graduate degrees? If your chiropractor has a post-graduate degree or special training in treating your condition, it's a good sign that he or she may be well-qualified to treat your specific problem.
- What is your technique? Some chiropractors prefer a more forceful manipulation which may offer immediate relief, while others prefer to use a more gentle and gradual approach. Neither technique is necessarily better, but you may be more comfortable with one or the other.
- Will you respect my preferences for a treatment plan? For example, if you prefer mobilization (like a stretch) over spinal manipulation (with the pop) will you get any pushback from him or her?
- How much experience do you have using the technique you are recommending? If your chiropractor is recommending a specific technique, e.g. Graston Technique, or Active Release Technique, ask for training that they have received (and go online to see if this is the recommended amount of training).
- Do you take X-rays in the office when necessary? Be wary of chiropractors who take X-rays in the office regardless of the problem.
- What services do you provide? Ideally, the chiropractor can provide adjunctive therapy such as massage therapy, physical therapy, and nutritional counseling under one roof. If these services are not available in the actual clinic, ask the chiropractor if he or she works with other professionals in these areas, and if you will have help coordinating your care.
- What are the top 3 things I can do to get the best results? A good chiropractor will have an effective, personal treatment plan designed just for you. Make sure your chiropractor has your best interest in mind by asking him or her to outline a specific and detailed plan of action.
- How is billing handled? You may have to submit your own claims, which can become cumbersome. Some insurance will only cover certain procedures. If a procedure is not covered, many clinics will offer discounts. Ask if the clinic accepts your insurance and how the clinic will handle procedures that are not covered by your insurance.
- Under what circumstances would I need to see a different practitioner or spine specialist? If you fail to improve under the chiropractor's care, you will probably need to see a specialist. Does your chiropractor acknowledge this and agree? At what point will he or she decide it is time to refer you to a specialist?
- Ask friends and family for a recommendation. It goes without saying that this is the gold standard we all use to find a best babysitter, restaurant, etc. For me personally, I have a handful of friends I can always trust for great recommendations because we have similar values and standards.
- Google the chiropractor. Hopefully, all you will see are his or her published marathon times, but if he or she has been in trouble with the law, you will most certainly find it on Google.
- Has he or she been disciplined by the state? There are enough chiropractors to choose from. If the one you are considering has been disciplined by any board, find someone else.
We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.
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