According to a study conducted in 2007, an estimated 6 to 12 per cent of the US population are seeking chiropractic care each year. Given that the US population is about 310 million that means around 18.5 to 37 million people are seeking the help of a chiropractor in treating various musculoskeletal problems. One of the most common reason for seeking chiropractic care is spinal problem, specifically, lower back pain. It can be due to various causes such as sports injuries, accidents or muscular strains. Since chiropractic adjustment or spinal manipulation is done manually, with sudden force to the spinal joint, it is important that a chiropractor must be well-trained and qualified to this procedure. It is essential to choose a chiropractor that observes safe, scientific practices. It is also import to understand how much a chiropractor will charge. Read on below for tips to spot a good chiropractor.
What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a health professional with a certification from the Chiropractic Board at the state and national levels. A licensed chiropractor needs to pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. It takes a total of eight years of education (3 to 4 years undergraduate and 4 to 5 years post-graduate) in order to become a chiropractor. Although licensed chiropractors have a Doctor of Chiropractic status, they are different from physicians because they do not perform surgery, do not prescribe medication, do not undergo residency and has limited specialization compared to doctors. However, chiropractors can also be licensed midwives, radiologists or physical therapists at the same time. Chiropractors usually work in private clinics although some are employed in hospitals. In some states in the US, chiropractors are allowed to prescribe homeopathic items.
Where to Find a Chiropractor?
If you are looking for a Long Beach chiropractor, the best person to ask is your physician or spine specialist. They are most likely to know a colleague in their institution. Try asking family members, relatives, co-workers and friends for recommendations. It would be best if they have sought treatment personally so they can give you a detailed account of their first-hand experience. As soon as you find one, get their contact information. It would be best if you can call or visit the clinic so you can ask pertinent questions to ensure that he is qualified to administer chiropractic care.
What are Sample Questions to Ask?
Chiropractic adjustment may differ according to the area to be treated. For instance, treatment of lower back pain may slightly differ from knee pain. In order to see if chiropractic is appropriate for your needs, ask questions about commonly administered techniques.
- What techniques do you usually apply? Why?
- Do you use low force adjustment or a sudden, aggressive and deeper one?
- Do you prefer manual manipulation?
- Do you employ any instruments or modalities when doing chiropractic adjustment?
- How long have you been practicing as a chiropractor?
- How much experience do you have in treating conditions similar to mine?
- A good chiropractor practices conservative treatment methods for musculo-skeletal problems. If the initial treatment is not working, he should be able to modify the treatment plan until significant effects are achieved.
- A competent chiropractor obtains a patient’s history thoroughly. Aside from objective data, he also evaluates a patient by performing manual muscle and joint testing and takes measurable, objective data.
- An effective chiropractor uses treatment modalities similar to those used by physical therapists to treat musculo-skeletal disorders. These modalities usually include hot and cold packs, electrical stimulation and ultrasound.
- The treatment should be able to provide relief for more than a day but less than three weeks. Significant changes or alleviation of pain may depend on the severity of the case and the duration of the condition. Chronic problems need longer treatment periods than acute ones.
- A good chiropractor looks after the welfare of his patient even after the treatment period. That means he is ready to give out a home exercise program and other rehabilitative exercise to prevent any recurrence or unnecessary visits to seek his services.
- Chiropractic is a treatment applied to specific conditions of the body such as orthopaedic
The Danger Signs
- Avoid chiropractors claiming about the urgent need for chiropractic care in cases where “danger signals” are present.
- Chiropractic is only practice in the presence of a known and diagnosed musculo-skeletal problem. Avoid those who promote chiropractic as a preventive measure.
- Any chiropractor who bounds you into a lengthy treatment through a written contract is a fraud. Treatment does not need a contract to be signed. You have every right to discontinue the treatment once it is not working.
- Avoid chiropractors who routinely requests X-ray examinations. They are not necessary to treatment except during initial evaluation and diagnosis. In addition, full spinal X-rays can be harmful because of the large amount of radiation the body is exposed to.
- As mentioned before, some US states allow chiropractors to prescribe homeopathic products. However, be wary of those who sell various products in their office. Avoid those who would prescribe specific brands that are only available in their office or clinic.
- Avoid chiropractors who believe chiropractic adjustment to the neck is necessary to treat all musculo-skeletal conditions. Some may believe in complete realignment of the spine in order to correct any orthopaedic conditions in the body. However, the neck is a delicate part where many blood vessels pass through. It should be handled with care and gentleness at all times.
- Be warned of some chiropractors who request various diagnostic procedures, which are unnecessary or irrelevant to the condition. This may include hair analysis, body fat analysis, herbal crystallization analysis, iridology and liver blood cell analysis. Some of these tests are better requested by physicians specializing in internal medicine or by a registered dietician. They can better interpret the results than a chiropractor.
- Stay clear of chiropractic doctors utilizing colon irrigation, reflexology, laser acupuncture, pendulum divination and bio-magnetic therapy.
- Avoid chiropractors who would still recommend continuing treatment despite being aware of an existing medical condition such as osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, spinal cord compression or those on blood-thinning medications. These conditions make the spine more fragile and vulnerable to breakage or injury when manipulated.
Choosing a good chiropractor is necessary because your health should never be compromised. You must be certain and confident that you are subjecting yourself to the right chiropractic care necessary to relieve you of your condition. A good chiropractor, primarily, thinks about the welfare of his patient. He must be willing to refer the patient should all treatment methods fail. Do not settle for the first chiropractic doctor you interview. Take your time because only the best chiropractor can effectively treat your condition.