A few days ago, a new patient was researching Chiropractors before choosing my office and found some FAQ’s on another Chiropractor’s website here in Evansville. Here are some of the questions, and my answers follow.
1. Ask about their “wellness” or “maintenance” treatment philosophy?
This is a common reason many medical doctors don’t refer to some chiropractors. If you feel great and are performing optimally and a chiropractor still wants to see you regularly, get a second opinion before continuing care. However, if you have some chronic conditions like degenerative joint disease or are an athlete, routine care (e.g., monthly or quarterly treatments) may be quite helpful. If the prospective chiropractor recommends maintenance care for EVERY patient then I would not recommend them.
This is a typical Medical Chiropractor answer. The problem starts with Chiropractic school in which Chiropractors are taught a very similar curriculum to that of a Medical Doctor. Due to this, Medical (wanna-be’s) usually think they should practice like a Medical Doctor, and deal with symptoms. Let’s look at the basics of every human on the planet. We all have a brain and spinal cord, this together are what is termed the Central Nervous system (CNS). The Central nervous system is responsible for coordinating every single function in the entire body.
So, that chicken dinner you had tonight, your stomach was already preparing the acid before you even sat at the table! Your body’s pretty amazing like that.
The CNS works best if it does not have pinches in it. These pinches are NEVER a good thing. These pinches happen due to stress on you. Do you experience stress? I know I do. That is why I get checked for pinches, or what Chiropractors term “SUBLUXATIONS” on a regular basis. I get checked at least once a week and will continue to do so until I join the Good Lord one day. My office makes that available to you as well for a very affordable fee.
2. Beware of some chiropractor’s marketing gimmicks.
There are a variety of “methods” designed by marketing experts to procure you as a patient. The most common one is a postural analysis. If you have poor posture but no pain or dysfunction, a “good” chiropractor should not want to manipulate or “adjust” you, but instead should design an at-home exercise routine for you, or refer you to a physical therapist, exercise physiologist or certified athletic trainer for such a program. Ask them what sort of personnel they have in their office, what sort of exercise rehabilitation facilities they have or to whom they refer their patients that require exercise rehabilitation.
Wrong again sir. A good Chiropractor looks for dysfunction in the spinal segments causing “Subluxations” that need to be removed to restore LIFE to the body again. Subluxations are there without pain present. With or without pain, if subluxations are present, they are robbing you of living life at your maximum potential.
5. Excessive or Aggressive Nutritional Supplementation.
Chiropractors receive many, MANY hours of nutrition training as well as instruction in the use of natural compounds for treatment of various conditions. In many states, chiropractors are licensed to use this training to help those so inclined with their health problems. However, beware of any chiropractor who says his supplements are the only ones that work. While the professional lines of supplements most chiropractors carry are as good as it gets, beware of any chiropractor that refuses to give you specific recommendations so you can go to a retailer or health-food store to purchase your products if you choose. In my office, we even offer to photocopy the labels of the products we recommend so they might shop for comparable products elsewhere.
(my answer) While I have no problem with someone taking supplements, they really have no place in a Chiropractic office. Just like I don’t pick what gym you attend, or what pillow you sleep on, what business would I have recommending a pill for you to swallow? Chiropractors have a saying that healing comes from A.D.I.O. (Above, Down, Inside, Out) meaning that God gave you everything you need to be healthy, as long as you maintain the system, it will work as it was intended to.
6. Excessive or Unnecessary X-Rays.
“Good” chiropractors use x-rays only to rule out a fracture, dislocation, or bone disease. A “good” chiropractor will have a X-Ray facility on-site or will refer his patients to a convenient radiology department for examination. There are several acceptable reasons, in my opinion, to order X-rays:
if you have sustained a recent traumatic injury and are in considerable pain;
if your history and examination indicate a possible bone disease such as arthritis;
if you have a scoliosis and we need to measure the severity or progression;
or if you have long-standing pain in an area that has not responded or resolved with care.
If none of these criteria are applicable or if your chiropractor wants to continue treatment solely because of what an x-ray shows, get a second opinion before you continue care.
(my answer) There are times for an x-ray, or further testing. However, while some Chiropractors will x-ray every patient, the same Chiropractor will do a mission trip to a third world country, and adjust 300 people a day without a single x-ray. It’s funny in America we have to jump through rings of fire, and walk over hot coals to get what we’re looking for.
7. Beware of a high number of visits.
There is an old joke that goes like this:
Q: How many chiropractors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One, but it takes 50 visits.
Corny, I know. But in every joke or cliché there is a kernel of truth. Depending on the nature and extent of your problem, after a few visits you should notice considerable improvement. After six to twelve visits, your pain should be reduced by 40-50 percent, depending on how severe and how extensive your original problem. Beware of any chiropractor who recommends a three, six or 12-month treatment plan.
(my answer) I hope you feel better. ABSOLUTELY! I don’t have a crystal ball, to say you should be any % better sounds like a medical diagnosis to me. If you have a subluxation that is causing you pain, I HOPE that once we clear that subluxation from a chronic state, that your pain goes away. I can’t tell you how fast that will happen though. I simply don’t know. My life adjustment plan is simply that. Stop by once a week, I will check your spine, and adjust it if needed, so that you can live life to its fullest. Playing with the grandchildren, riding a motorcycle, or whatever you love to do!
8. No man is an island.
Find out who the chiropractor refers his patients to if they require surgical intervention or for pharmacological pain management. Which neurologists does he consult with? Ask the chiropractor how often he communicates with patients’ primary care providers. Ask the chiropractor what he/she will do if you are not getting the results you desire. You should not have to ask for a referral; your chiropractor should have a game plan ready to recommend to you.
Even the best chiropractors (and surgeons, and internists, etc) have patients that do not respond to their care. Every “good” healthcare provider knows this and has a stable of top-flite people they work with should their patient need additional care or a fresh perspective.
Also, find out the professional organizations in which the chiropractor participates. Membership and involvement in these organizations is certainly not a guarantee of quality, but it is a good indication that the chiropractic physician in question seeks out ongoing educational and professional development opportunities.
(my answer) Chiropractic care is NOT MEDICAL CARE. That is why I have many medical professionals that come into my office. I believe it is obvious that if you come into my office with a broken arm, or other medical condition, then you’ll be sent.
9. Don’t Fix it if it Ain’t Broke
This recommendation is for existing chiropractic patients who are forced into looking for a new chiropractor. If you were getting good results with the care you are receiving from your existing chiropractor, you should seek out chiropractic physicians that can treat you similarly. This will require you to ask your existing chiropractor what techniques he/she was using that helped you so much and then asking the prospective chiropractor if they utilize those techniques.
Even though the new chiropractor may prefer to use different techniques, the fact that they are skilled in techniques that have proven to benefit you is a huge plus. If the new chiropractor balks at this and tells you their approach is better, find somebody else — his/her ego is more important to them than your care.
This also goes the other direction. If you are seeking out a different chiropractor because your old one was ineffective, it is a huge benefit to a “Good” chiropractor to know which techniques have not been helpful for you. A “Good” Chiropractor will have many skills and tools in their “bag” and can more often than not try a fresh approach, avoiding the technique that proved ineffective.
My thought is that the last Chiropractor may BE EFFECTIVE. Just because you weren’t getting the “changes” you expected doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t working. You may have had an issue for several years, don’t expect it to go away within 6-8 adjustments. It was a process for your spine to get out of whack, it will take time for it to go back. Judging your “health” on “how you feel” is a bad idea. Have you heard the stories about the guy who jogs every day, eats right, had a check up the day before, but then dies in his sleep during an afternoon nap? Everyone has an expiration date. Let’s prolong yours as long as possible. Get regular care so your body can work like it was intended to.
10. Chicken or Egg, which came first?
Soft-tissue (muscles/fasica, tendon, ligament) trauma can, and more often than not does, lead to joint dysfunction and vice-versa. Soft-tissue management is vital to the care my team and I deliver here at the (protected for privacy). Joint manipulation (Adjustments) are very effective at treating joint dysfunction, but the benefit on soft-tissue is short lived and marginal. This is why many chiropractic patients from other practices report feeling great immediately after their adjustments but then hours later they feel like they did before they received care. If a chiropractor does not respect the role soft tissue dysfunction plays in your overall health then they are to be avoided. A good way to evaluate their commitment to treating these issues is by looking at their staff. If they have licensed massage therapists and/or physical therapists as part of their teams, odds are they understand and appreciate this vital component. Better yet, they might have both professions represented in their facility and work with them as engaged members of your care team. This is how we operate at the (protected for privacy).
(my answer) With pinched nerves running to the muscles, they can’t be expected to work right. It’s not a chicken/egg issue. It’s a do YOUR job issue, and remove the interference that exists, and let GOD and the BODY heal. Sadly, some Chiropractors have an identity crisis, and hope to wake up with M.D. after their names. Some still don’t understand that “innate intelligence” the force inside the body that is responsible for regulation of the body exists. Some Medical Chiropractors want to actually prescribe medicine. I think it’s sad. You’ll know if your going to a Straight Chiropractor or a Medical Chiropractor right away. Follow this guide and decide which is right for you.
Andrew Lobacz D.C.