As in any profession, chiropractors run the gamut of competence and integrity. Most chiropractors stay on the cutting-edge of the science; maintain their skills; keep an open mind; listen to patients intently, convey a warm, caring bedside manner; and employ multi-disciplinary approaches to complex medical issues.
There are also chiropractors you should avoid. They are expert at the business of practice building — soliciting clients and stringing along patients for more and more visits – but not at the science and craft of chiropractic.
How do you know the difference? Here are some guidelines for knowing when it’s time to change chiropractors:
- The chiropractor doesn’t listen to you.
Every patient requires a customized treatment plan. If the chiropractor uses a one-size-fits-all treatment regimen, it’s not designed for your specific problem. You need to find a chiropractor who will listen to you and design an individualized approach to your problem.
- The chiropractor is a salesperson.
There is nothing wrong with a chiropractor who employs proven sales techniques to increase traffic to his/her practice. After all, they are in business.
But when sales becomes the overriding objective of the practice, it’s time to bolt. Make sure your chiropractor is more interested in your physical well-being than in their own bottom line.
- The chiropractor pushes you to schedule many appointments.
It is reasonable for a treatment plan to have a specified duration – one, two, three months. A written plan with benchmarks along the way gives you confidence that the chiropractor has thought about your issues and attempted to document the best course of action.
A chiropractor who simply tells you that you need to see them often and for a long time is simply creating business for themselves. Find a chiropractor who doesn’t have a boat payment to make.
- You’re just not comfortable with the practice.
You’re back may hurt but your gut knows what you like – go with it. If you aren’t comfortable with the chiropractor or their staff, find another one.
- You’re shuffled in and out.
If the most time you spent with the chiropractor was during the recruitment stage, the chiropractor is more interested in getting business than in treating patients. If the doctor doesn’t spend time with you, educating you about the treatment and asking about your health, take your business elsewhere.
- You’re shuffled to an associate.
You chose your chiropractor because you like them, felt comfortable with them and trust them. After two sessions you never see them again. They’re always busy, or at another office, during your appointments and you end up with a chiropractor you didn’t choose. That may work out great for you or not. Either way, it’s an indication of the chiropractor’s misplaced priorities.
- They think chiropractic is the cure for everything.
You want a chiropractor who has the right balance of confidence and humility. Chiropractors can help a lot of people who don’t know it with many ailments seemingly unrelated to their back. My own first experience with a chiropractor was for a sprained ankle, and in the course of treatment he helped reduce my allergies.
That said, spinal adjustments are not a silver-bullet treatment for everything. Chiropractors must learn multiple modalities and integrate their services with the work of dieticians, physical therapists, massage therapists and others. A chiropractor who dismisses these other specialists is just as misguided as a physician who dismisses chiropractic.
At our practice, our holistic approach to care includes several other kinds of providers when appropriate. We create customized treatment plans for each patient after listening to them and learning about their needs. If you’re not getting that, it’s time for a new chiropractor.