How To Select The Best Chiropractor

How To Select The Best Chiropractor

Chiropractic is a profession with a wide variety of practice philosophies and techniques, which makes it a challenge to select the best chiropractor. Because the chiropractic treatment is a physical procedure, consideration should be given to both the rapport with the doctor as well as compatibility with joint manipulation style.

This article outlines questions to ask when interviewing a chiropractor and provides guidelines for what to expect of chiropractic care. It also highlights some red flags that may indicate questionable treatment approaches.

Recommendations for a Good Chiropractor

A good place to start is to ask a primary care physician, physical therapist, or spine specialist for recommendations of chiropractors who they view as competent and trustworthy. One way to phrase this question is: "If someone in your family needed a chiropractor, who would you recommend?"

It also helps to ask friends, co-workers and neighbors for recommendations. Exercise caution, however, because one person's definition of the best chiropractor may be quite different from another person's definition. While recommendations can be valuable, it is important to find a chiropractor who can meet an individual's specific needs.

In general, if multiple people recommend the same chiropractor, chances are good that the chiropractor is reliable.

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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.

Questions to consider about rapport and experience with a chiropractor and/or clinic staff during an initial interview may include one or more of the following:

  • Is the chiropractor friendly and courteous?
  • Does the patient feel comfortable talking with the chiropractor?
  • Does the chiropractor fully answer all questions asked by the patient?
  • Does the chiropractic doctor listen to the patient's complete explanation of symptoms and treatment concerns/preferences?
  • How many years has the chiropractor been in practice?
  • Does the chiropractor have a specific undergraduate or post-graduate specialty?
    • Although not necessary, some chiropractors pursue post-graduate diplomat programs in various specialties, such as orthopedics, sports medicine, rehabilitation, neurology, nutrition.

Background Research on Chiropractors

Patients may want to research if there are any disciplinary actions against the chiropractor. This information is available from each state's Chiropractic Regulation & Licensing Board, which can usually be found on the state's website.

Patients can also check that their chiropractor's college is accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education.

Selecting any health care professional for treatment is something that should be done with care. Do not feel compelled to be treated by the first chiropractor interviewed - many people interview several chiropractors before finding one best suited to treat their condition.

The bottom line is that the chiropractor's role is to recommend the recommended course of care for the patient, and it is the patient’s decision whether or not to accept that doctor's recommendations. Patients should never feel like a doctor is pressuring them into a treatment or payment decision.

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