How Can I Choose a Qualified Chiropractor?
Choosing a chiropractor can be difficult because the majority of chiropractors are involved in unscientific practices [1, 2]. If you do decide to consult one, begin with a telephone interview during which you explore the chiropractor's attitudes and practice patterns.
Interviewing a Chiropractor
Before starting treatment, it is usually best to conduct a telephone interview or request an in-office consultation to learn more about the chiropractor, the clinic, and techniques used. Often the treating chiropractor will request a personal consultation to discuss these details.
For most people, it is important to feel comfortable with the chiropractor and the clinic to have an overall positive treatment experience. Feeling comfortable may depend on a lot of personal preferences, including details such as how long a patient may typically have to wait in the waiting room or location of the chiropractor’s office.
In addition to understanding the chiropractor's spinal manipulation technique, education and overall style, it is a good idea to consider the fees/payment plans and the business setup of the chiropractic clinic, along with several other factors, before selecting a chiropractor.
1. Honesty and confidence
The first thing to look for in a chiropractic doctor is honesty. An honest doctor has both trust and confidence in each and every one of his patients, and that confidence is a reflection of his pride in providing proper treatment and getting successful results for the patient. A good chiropractor will recommend only the best treatment for your quickest and best results; not-so-good chiropractors will recommend you sign up for a package of long-term treatment even before seeing how you respond to treatment. If chiropractic is not the proper treatment for you, a good chiropractor will have no problem referring you to another health care professional to manage or co-manage your case.
There are a variety of techniques and methods of treatment in chiropractic, with no two being exactly alike. Each specific technique can work well with a specific patient, but no single technique will work perfect and heal everyone. This being said, any chiropractor that states her particular technique is superior to others or that absolutely guarantees results should be avoided. Although her techniques may be effective with certain patients, guaranteeing results is actually against the Laws of Chiropractic.
3. Word of mouth
This is always a great place to start. Positive word of mouth in every profession is a good sign. If you are considering chiropractic for the first time, or considering choosing a different chiropractor, listen to others in your community more than the ads in the phone book, on TV or placed on Facebook. It is easy to look good in a well thought out advertisement, but the right chiropractor for you may be more successfully found by listening to others around you that have experienced chiropractic practice firsthand.
4. Appropriate examination, diagnosis, and treatment
This is extremely important. Doctors of chiropractic have been through extensive training and education to become health care providers. This training included proper examination, proper diagnosis and proper treatment protocols. If a doctor lacks in any one of these three essential areas, he should not be treating you, period! What does this mean for you? If a chiropractor doesn't talk to you about your health history and your current condition, doesn't give you an initial physical examination (checking posture, reflexes, etc.), doesn't give you a diagnosis regarding your condition, and won't explain your treatment plan, find another chiropractor.
5. Willingness to refer
Some chiropractors treat conditions that are out of the realm of chiropractic. Although chiropractic treatment with underlying disease is fine (assuming no contraindications for treatment), chiropractors should not be treating you specifically for that disease or claiming they cure conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease or other illnesses. A good chiropractor will refer you and/or co-manage your condition with a specialist.
Chiropractic Clinic Processes and Costs
Questions to ask about the procedures and fees at the chiropractic clinic may include the following:
Is the chiropractor in the patient's insurance provider network?
What is the policy at the chiropractic clinic for payment of services that are denied by the insurer? Some chiropractic clinics offer cash discounts for insurance-denied services.
What is the payment for the initial consultation? Many chiropractors offer an initial consultation free of charge.
What are the chiropractor's fees for the initial examination? For the chiropractic adjustment? Fees should be competitive and within the 'usual and customary' range within the local area.
What kind of discounts does the chiropractor offer? Most chiropractic clinics offer a reduced fee for cash payments at the time of service or family/volume discounts.
Does the clinic offer a guarantee? Some chiropractors will offer a satisfaction guarantee, for example, that you are satisfied with each clinic visit or that visit will be free of charge.
How long is the average wait time in the waiting room? As with many medical practices, some have long wait times and some are quite prompt - selecting one with a good fit for you may impact how satisfied you are with the chiropractor.
Does the chiropractor provide the recommended treatment plan in writing? Some patients prefer this approach so that they can have all the information at hand to research and think about the recommendations.
Does the chiropractor offer a list of professional references? Many chiropractors will provide a list of other healthcare professionals in the area whom they work with - physical therapists, medical doctors, or alternative practitioners, such as acupuncturists, massage therapists, or naturopaths.
If you have a specific concern or are scheduling care for a child, for example, you may want to look for a chiropractor with specialization and experience in that area. You might call the chiropractor's office and ask about the chiropractor's education and experience with particular conditions. If you have insurance coverage, you will also want investigate whether or not that chiropractor is covered under your plan.
Most insurance plans are accepted at our chiropractic office. We accept auto accident, workers compensation, personal injury cases that have resulted in back pain, neck pain, headaches, or other related pain conditions. We also accept most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Because there are so many insurance plans out there, and because coverage for chiropractic care varies widely, please call us to find out if your plan covers care in our office. Before you start a chiropractic care plan, our staff would be happy to verify your benefits and explain them to you at no charge.