These guidelines are meant to assist you in your search for a proper chiropractor. The following tips on what to avoid and what to look for will increase your chances of choosing a responsible healthcare provider. However, these guidelines do not guarantee that certain procedures chiropractors perform are not without some sort of risk.
- Chiropractors who advertise excessively or who offer “free” or discounted exams or treatments.
- Chiropractors who want you to sign a contract for long term care.
- Chiropractors who insist that they are primary care doctors or suggest that MD’s are simply against chiropractors because chiropractic treatment is somehow better than medicine.
- Chiropractors who advise you not to have your children immunized.
- Chiropractors who want you to return even if no progress has occurred after two weeks and/or half dozen visits.
- Chiropractors who use scare tactics to solicit for business, such as preaching that “vertebral subluxations are silent killers” and that your whole family needs to be checked for subluxations.
- Chiropractors who take full spine or repeated x-rays.
- Chiropractors who promise to prevent disease through regular check-ups and manipulations.
- Chiropractors who claim their treatment will cure some disease, improve immune functions or benefit organ systems.
- Chiropractors who do not give you complete informed consent and warn you about the possibility of having a stroke after manipulation or claim that the risk is so rare it doesn’t matter. (Complete informed consent includes not only written consent but also a discussion regarding all risks & benefits to any and all chiropractic procedures.)
- Chiropractors who offer to sell you expensive nutritional supplements or other remedies, which they profit from.
- Chiropractors who believe spinal manipulation is treatment for disease, infection or as a method of preventing ill health. (Or if a chiropractor refers to himself as a “straight” chiropractor.)
- Chiropractors who take a full medical history before starting treatment.
- Chiropractors who recommend that a medical facility take x-rays and orders them to rule out fractures or gross pathology as indicated by their case history. In some cases an MRI might be warranted to eliminate the possibility that the head or neck pain you are experiencing might be the result of something very serious, like a torn artery.
- Chiropractors who discuss at length all risks of chiropractic manipulation as well as any benefits. ( Risk vs. Benefit )
- Chiropractors who clearly establish the type of treatment he is going to perform, its expected outcome, how long it will last and how much it will cost.
- Chiropractors who will refer you to a medical doctor if you or close family members have medical histories that indicate a thorough medical exam is necessary before any chiropractic treatment.
- Chiropractors who emphasize the importance of wellness by means of a balanced diet, regular exercise, better posture, minimizing stress etc.
- Chiropractors who are willing to explain their training and treatment philosophy, bearing in mind that chiropractic is generally considered effective only for temporary back and joint pain. (Since chiropractors adhere to many different philosophies, if you find that their treatment philosophy is something that sounds odd or is something that you instinctively don’t feel right about, leave immediately.)
- Chiropractors who limit their practice to conservative treatment of musculoskeletal problems.
Patients should never be afraid to ask their family medical doctor for the names of chiropractors who fit the above descriptions and appear to be competent and trustworthy.
Many states offer online verification of chiropractor’s current license status, malpractice history, education and disciplinary actions. Obtaining this information is strongly recommended before seeing any and all new healthcare providers.