The Do’s and Don’ts of Finding a Good Doc
The practice of chiropractic has a wide variety of philosophies and choices on how to treat patients. This can make it difficult to find a chiropractor that is both effective and compatible with you as a patient. A chiropractor’s approach can make a difference on whether or not the patient experiences relief and is effectively treated. So the question is, how do you find a chiropractor that is compatible with you and suits your needs? We are here to help!
Whether you’ve gone to a chiropractor your whole life, or are brand new to the field, you want to be comfortable and confident with the doctor you choose. One important step in choosing a good chiropractor is to watch out for a few red flags. We have discussed these red flags in previous posts at length, 5 Reasons to Fire your Chiropractor, but to summarize, you should avoid a chiropractor that displays the following:
- Pushing long term care plans.
- Not treating you on your first visit.
- Fixating only on the spine and not the whole body.
- Overselling supplements.
- Free x-rays.
If you come across any of these red flags in your search for a chiropractor, you may want to continue looking. Additionally, just because a chiropractor doesn’t trip these alarms, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best fit for you. It is important to visit chiropractors until you find the one that meets your needs.
You want a GOOD chiropractor, not one that’s simply “not bad”. Now you know what to avoid, but what do you look for? Here are five tips for things to look for and questions to ask when scheduling.
- Positive Reviews and Referrals – First and foremost, check a few online reviews. A good doctor will reviews that reflect their good standing. If they do not have any reviews or the ones they have are negative, keep looking. There are too many fish in the sea to settle for bad healthcare. Google, RateMDs, Facebook, and Healthgrades are few easy resources to check out. In addition to positive reviews on Google, you will also want to check another site or two, like the ones mentioned above. If a doctor has 300 google reviews and none anywhere else, it could be a sign that they simply paid for their reviews. A doctor who has been around a while will have at least a dozen or so on some of the secondary sites.
- Background Research – Read the bio on their practice website, assuming they have one. Do you get a good vibe? Do you like what you see? Do they have other credentials and certifications? While you are on their website…how does it look? A business owner who cares about their online presence cares about their business, how they are perceived, and their relationship with the public.
- Look for an Evidence Based Doctor – Believe it or not, not all chiropractors’ approaches are rooted in science. Some philosophies resemble religion more than scientifically backed clinical practice. The Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance is a good place to start. They have a search page which is very handy. It is not foolproof, but members are vetted and it can be a good starting point.
- Questions to ask the front desk when making your appointment –
- Do they adjust on the first visit when indicated? A well intentioned chiropractor should treat most patients on their initial visit. In some instances, additional tests or measures may need to be taken to assure the safety of the patient.
- Does everyone get X-rays? X-rays are great, but they are a limited diagnostic tool. There are many cases where X-rays can help the doctor narrow down their differential diagnosis, but it is not medically indicated in all cases/patients.
- Do they provide more than adjusting, Myofascial Treatment, Rehab, Core Exercises, Other Therapies? The adjustment is a great tool to restore mobility and reduce pain. Muscle therapies, exercises and lifestyle modifications (advice) should also be included in most treatment plans.
- Are they up front with costs and insurance coverage? – There is a difference between “accepting” your insurance and being “in-network” with your insurance. If this is important to you be sure to ask. The person scheduling your visit should be able to answer questions about cost and insurance very directly. Many plans are different even under the same carrier, so offering to check your benefits is a reasonable request.
Being able to trust someone with your well-being and health is important. Chiropractic care can make a world of difference in your day to day living and experiences with pain. But, not all chiropractors have that same goal of getting you to be at your best. Following these tips should provide you some guidance on what to avoid and what to look for during your search for a chiropractor.
Dr. Robert “Bo”Andel