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What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Chiropractor




Deciding on a new provider is an important choice. The articles below are intended to help you make informed decisions when choosing a new provider by arming you with information about the type of care different specialists provide and suggesting questions you can ask of providers to better determine if their services are right for you. Your health plan may or may not provide coverage for these specialties, so check with your health plan and be sure you understand your financial responsibilities prior to using any service.


How to Choose a Chiropractor


Chiropractic is the third largest healing profession in the country. Chiropractors 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).


Choosing a chiropractic doctor is a personal choice. You may want to ask a few friends or loved ones if they have ever gone to a chiropractor. They may be able to give you a few names of doctors that they found helpful.


You should talk with a few chiropractors before picking one. Asking questions can help you make an informed choice. 


Questions You Can Ask a Chiropractor


What training, licensure, and experience do you have?


Before you ask any other questions, you should make sure that the chiropractor:


  • Is licensed to practice in your state

  • Has gone to an accredited chiropractic college 

  • Has several years of experience or has advanced training

  • 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?


Most chiropractors will outline a course of treatment for your health problem. Most of the time, treatment takes about one month. Many people respond to treatment within weeks. The doctor should talk to you about how long it should take for treatment to work for you. And he or she should be willing to change the treatment if you don’t feel that it is working.


What are the exact methods you would use to treat my health problem?


These types of doctors do not prescribe drugs as a treatment method. They do not perform surgery either. Most chiropractors will suggest an adjustment/manipulative treatment. This treatment is used to:


  • Restore normal joint function

  • Decrease pain and nerve irritation 

  • Increase blood flow 

  • Reduce muscle spasms 

  • Improve range of motion


The doctor may also use other treatments, such as:


  • Ice

  • Heat 

  • Ultrasound 

  • Electrical muscle stimulation


Whichever treatment the doctor suggests, he or she should also tell you about the benefits and risks.


Do you have contact with other health care experts? 


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 records and an exam, the doctor may take an X-ray to confirm or rule out a health problem. An X-ray can check for:


  • Bone disease

  • Fracture 

  • Dislocation


Will you suggest exercises or other steps I can take to help my health problem?


It’s key that you are involved in your treatment and healing process. You should expect your doctor to give you guidelines and training. This training may include an overview of proper exercises needed to improve your health problem. Your doctor 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 Things 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 your questions? Do they book you for future appointments? Be sure to pay attention to how the office staff treats you. Will you be comfortable working with them?


After asking the questions listed above and meeting the doctor and office staff, think about the answers you were given. Does the doctor’s personality and approach seem like they will work for you? If so, you should feel comfortable that you have made an informed choice.


Your Checklist


A chiropractor should:


  • Be licensed in your state

  • Treat you with respect and professionalism 

  • Listen to your health concerns 

  • Answer your questions in a way that you can understand 

  • Make every effort to help you improve your health 

  • Give you advice about exercise, body mechanics, stretching, and posture to help avoid future problems 

  • Take X-rays only when needed and explain why they are being taken 

  • Refer you to specialists 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. Most of all, take the time you need to make a choice you feel good about. 


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