Don't want to put up with the pain any longer?
Are you planning on visiting or hiring a chiropractor for the first time in the near future and are not quite sure what to expect? Do you know what a chiropractor is exactly? Do you have worries regarding your first visit? Well, no need to fret any longer because this article will provide you with information that will help you understand what the profession involves and help you choose a chiropractor that is rightly suited for you.
The Chiropractic profession involves varied practice techniques and philosophies. Choosing the best chiropractor for restoring your spinal health is an important step, but how would you go about doing that effectively? The best way would be to treat your first visit like an interview and draw a plan so you can ask relevant questions during your session.
Here is a quick guide to help you in the process and ensure that you have a positive experience.
1) What techniques do you employ?
In order to be a well-informed patient, it is essential that you know about the varying treatments available to you as well as the chiropractic techniques. Seek answers that will help you understand what chiropractors actually do. For instance, certain chiropractors opt for a forceful manipulation to bring about instant relief, while others like to adopt a gentler and slower method. Know that the former is not necessarily more or less efficient than the latte; it is your comfort levels in respect to them that essentially make them the right option for you. The choice is therefore entirely personal.
Generally, a Chiropractic treatment involves a spinal manipulation and/or a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, but there are exceptions to the rule, depending on your condition.
Certain chiropractors employ adjunctive techniques which involve the use of ice or heat and include physical therapy procedures like electric stimulations. Specialty therapies on the other hand, like the Graston technique, involve cold laser treatments and spinal decompressions. It is important that you know about these therapies and techniques beforehand and choose the one which is right for you.
2) Do you provide free consultations?
Think your first visit will be a free consultation and that afterwards, you will have enough time to decide whether or not you would like to go ahead with treatments? Well, be careful as not all chiropractors offer free consultations. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you are aware of the payment requirements before you make your appointment so you know what to expect during your visit.
3) Do you have references?
A bit of research on your part is necessary before you start treatments with the chiropractor of your choice. Firstly, ask about their references. Any skilled physician who is proud of their achievements is usually more than happy to provide references. In fact, most chiropractors are often willing to provide the contact information of at least three customers they have treated so you can ask questions regarding their experience. Asking about references is essential for ensuring that your chiropractor is not only concerned about his reputation in the industry, but also with providing a quality service.
4) What kinds of payment plans are available?
Be sure to ask about the available payment plans before you start with the process. Inquire whether they receive insurance payments under which you are presently covered. Also, find out if they provide family discounts and grant you the option to spread out the payments over a certain period of time. Leading practitioners generally allow both cash and insurance covered patients to spread out their total care and deductibles into small installments.
Furthermore, never rule out the possibility of getting discounts! Many clinics grant reduced fees if cash payments are made during the service time or family discounts. Do inquire as to how they will charge for the procedures which are not covered by your insurance. Additionally, you can also find clinics that offer cash rebates for insurance-denied facilities. It is also recommended to be extra cautious of chiropractors who demand an up-front wholesome payment.
5) Do you provide any satisfaction guarantee?
It is impossible, as a chiropractor, to guarantee the success of a treatment. That being said, there are ways to ensure that clients walk away feeling satisfied. For example, there are clinics that provide you satisfaction guarantee and ensure that you’re fully convinced about the treatment at each clinic visit or you get a FREE visit! This can help you build trust and give you a sense of customer satisfaction.
6) Do you have any criteria for determining how many visits I need?
Knowing the answer to this question will allow you to budget for your treatments, and is something that must be discussed with your chiropractor regularly. Often times, the period that is needed depends on your condition, but discussing it with your chiropractor is the best way to arrive at an estimate. Be cautious of chiropractors placing you on a stringent treatment program that involves a given time schedule of your treatment. This can be a red flag as it may mean your chiropractor is more concerned about money than health.
An effective chiropractor will have a functional, individual treatment method designed only for you. Be certain about asking your chiropractor to compile a specific and extensive action plan that is created to address your needs.
Generally, the initial consultation includes the completion of a detailed chiropractic examination of a duration of 45 minutes or more. A treatment for various types of lower back pain would generally require 1 to 3 chiropractic visits per week, extending for two to four weeks, followed by a re-examination.
Generally, patients experience almost 40% to 80% of pain reduction when they receive treatments for two to four weeks for non-complex musculoskeletal situations. Also, the amount of visits should diminish as the patient’s comfort and functional ability increases.
You should be weary of being recommended lengthy chiropractic procedures taking 3 to 12 months after only one or two consultations.
7) How long will my treatment last?
Be sure to inquire about the length of your treatment. Generally, if there is no significant improvement after three visits, you should consider finding another alternative. As already stated, for various types of back pain, a treatment regimen of one to three chiropractic visits extending for two to four week will be recommended, followed by a chiropractic re-evaluation for measuring treatment response and continuation of further treatment.
8) How much experience do you have treating my particular condition?
Never hesitate to ask your chiropractor about their experience regarding treating your specific condition. Ask them about the treatment you are about to receive, what it implies and how common it is. You can benefit from chiropractic therapy if you already know what to anticipate from the initial visit. Ask the chiropractor to describe in detail the procedure involved.
It is also important to ask questions regarding the practice such as how long it has been running. Furthermore, try to get details on your chiropractor’s education. For example, inquire whether they have undergraduate or post-graduate specialties. Keep in mind that, although it is not mandatory, certain chiropractors attend post-graduate diploma courses to specialize in certain fields such as orthopedics, neurology, rehabilitation or nutrition. Find out their experience dealing with varying techniques such as cold laser therapy and the activator or Graston technique. Sometimes, searching your chiropractor online can provide some important information.
9) What are the top 3 things I can do to get the best results?
To obtain the best results, make yourself aware of the specific goals that your chiropractor is aiming at throughout the duration of the treatment. Inquire about the treatment modalities such as whether it involves primary joint dysfunction adjustments or soft tissue curing and pain reduction. Ask your chiropractor about the various ways you can get the best results.
10) Has he or she been disciplined by the state?
Do not trust in a chiropractor simply because they have been recommended by your friends. Actively conduct some research on them in order to see if they have faced any disciplinary actions. You can get such information from each state’s Chiropractic Regulation and Licensing Board which is easily available on the state’s website.
You can also get information on the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, a consumer protection agency safeguarding consumers from harmful licensees.
11) Do you follow a No-Waiting policy?
It is highly recommended to inquire if your chosen chiropractor follows a no-waiting policy. Care should be taken that your chosen doctor does not make his patient wait more than five minutes in the reception place. If doctors do not display such a policy, they might not respect your time constraints.
12) What are the chiropractor’s recommendations if the therapy program does not help?
A good chiropractic practitioner would instantly advise you to consult another physician if his line of treatment does not appear to offer any relief. Sometimes they may also recommend adapting other treatment methods like medications or surgery. Be sure to explore whether the chiropractor has ever referred his patients to other health care experts and, if so, under what circumstances.
Over to You
Choosing the right medical practitioner is just as important as getting the treatment. Care should be taken that your chosen chiropractor has a good reputation both in the industry and among his patients, is clear about his approach and is efficient and safe. What questions do you ask to ensure that your chiropractor is the best one in the industry? Do let us know in the comments.
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