How To Find A Good Chiropractor: 5 Tips

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If you’re a current or past patient of ours, you have obviously already found us and we sincerely hope you consider us a “good” chiropractic office in the Kansas City area.  However, what if you have a friend in another city or are moving to another city?  We often get asked how somebody in those situations can find somebody “like us”.  So we’ve come up with five tips to consider when researching a chiropractor.

1. Make sure the chiropractor provides more treatment options besides adjustments/joint manipulation

Abraham Maslow once said, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”  If a chiropractor’s only tool is the adjustment, that means every patient that walks into the door will get an adjustment, whether it is necessary or not.  For many conditions, adjustments do indeed help for the short term or even the long term.  However, many conditions require something more than adjustments. 

Try to find a chiropractor that uses more than one tool

At our office, we utilize functional exercise therapy, McKenzie Method, dry needling, nerve flossing, myofascial release (Active Release/Graston) and various other therapies.  When researching another chiropractor, look for these types of therapies on their website.  Look at their credentials/training and see if they are trained in various treatment techniques.

2.  Stay away from offices that pressure you into long-term treatment plans.

If there’s one thing we despise in our profession, it is chiropractic offices that make patients sign up for a long term treatment plan.  Often they will tell you that the issue requires treatment for 3x/week for a month or two, then 2x/week for another month or two, then 1x/week for a month or two.  This is complete BS.  There is absolutely no reasoning or validity to this.  Don’t fall for it.  If your chiropractor mentions anything like this, RUN OUT OF THE OFFICE!

So what is reasonable for a treatment plan? Most medical guidelines recommend a trial period of care for 4-6 visits.  If the condition is improving, keep going for another 4-6 visits or until resolution of symptoms.  Our office averages about seven visits per injury.  So some patients will only take a few visits while others may take closer to 10-12 visits.  But seeing a chiropractor multiple times per week for months on end isn’t something that should happen.

3. Avoid chiropractors that want to x-ray every patient and perform repeat x-rays on a regular basis.

We’ve blogged before on how imaging is over-utilized, especially for spinal conditions.  However, some chiropractors believe x-rays are necessary for evaluation and treatment.  The research is very clear that this is completely unnecessary for most patients.   

So should an x-ray or MRI ever be ordered? Yes, of course.  There are certain signs and symptoms that will make imaging necessary before treatment.  But these signs and symptoms are rare (about 1-2% of people with spinal pain).  Some patients may also need imaging if there’s no improvement with treatment. If your chiropractor requires an x-ray before treatment on every patient, then it might be time to shop around.

X-rays look cool but don’t give any good information for 95+% of most patients

4.  Watch out for the anti-medical offices

Waaaaaay back in the day, chiropractors and medical doctors had an “us vs. them” mentality when it came to treatment.  Unfortunately, this means some patients missed out on the best care for their unique condition.  Luckily, as the professions and research evolved, this led to chiropractors, MDs, and various other professions working together to ensure patients received the best care.  We often refer to MDs when medications, injection or surgery are needed to improve symptoms.  Likewise, many MDs refer to us when they believe our care will help.  However, some chiropractors still hold an anti-medical stance.  Why? Same reason some people still think the world is flat.  They just do.     

5.  Make sure the chiropractor works with you on your goals

If your goal is to be able to run a marathon and your chiropractor wants you to quit running and take up yoga, then he or she may not be the best fit for you.  Or, maybe you want your chiropractor to give you exercises so you can self-manage your condition while your chiropractor wants you to come in every week or two.  In both of these instances, the goal of the patient was not aligned with the goal of the chiropractor.  So when you start care with a new chiropractor (or any medical provider), be sure that he or she understands your goals and is willing to work with you on those goals. 

Hope this helps you find your next great chiropractor!  Let us know if you have any other tips for finding a good chiropractor.  Also, feel free to send us ideas or questions on blog topics.

Jeff Remsburg, DC, MS, DACRB, Cert. MDT