How to choose a chiropractor wisely
Chiropractic therapy is now mainstream and recommended by many physicians as an early therapy to try. Up to 10% of people will visit a chiropractor every year for a range of reasons from headaches to back pain to knee pain. Many patients referred to back surgeons to be considered for back surgery are referred on to try chiropractic therapy and as a result avoid back surgery altogether!
As the therapy has become more and more established, more and more clinics have appeared. Inevitably, some of these are more reputable than others, so how do you identify the best chiropractor?
A good place to start if your family doctor or general practitioner. Your GP has almost certainly had experiences of patients going to many local chiropractors and will have had feedback from these patients when it has worked or not worked. They may also know which is good value, and which ‘over-sell’ expensive therapies or devices.
Next, try family and friends – most people will have experienced back pain at some point and many will have sought help from a chiropractor – collect as much advice and feedback as you can.
Aim to have one or two chiropractic clinics on the list at this stage and then go and see them. You should put together a list of questions and then formulate your own opinions on the chiropractor you see. The decision is ultimately yours and don’t forget everyone is an individual! What worked for your neighbour or anyone else with back pain, may not work for you.
Some questions to ask a chiropractor:
- What techniques do you use and why?
- Do you use high intensity or low intensity manipulation and when/why?
- What experience do you have of treating my condition?
- What are the realistic expectations for the treatment you offer?
Some chiropractors are known to offer cures for more than musculoskeletal problems eg. diabetes, asthma – these are best left to doctors and a chiropractor offering a ‘cure’ is probably one to avoid. Be careful not to be swung by claims on new treatments or orthotic devices that are said to only be offered at one clinic – if they’re new, they’re probably very expensive and also unproven. Finally, chiropractic therapy tends to either work or not – beware the therapist preparing a 6 month or 12 month or longer plan for your treatment.