It’s easy to find a chiropractor. It’s not always easy to find a good chiropractor. That’s not to say that there are some chiropractors who are evil and then the other kind is the good chiropractor. I’m talking about finding a chiropractor who is good for you and will meet your needs. So here are 5 things to look for that will help you spot the good chiropractor in your area.
1. A Good Chiropractor Knows When Not To Adjust
Many people think that the chiropractic adjustment is the chiropractor’s main tool. Well, the adjustment is the main treatment method chiropractors use. The main tool we use is no different than any doctor. That tool is sound clinical decision making. Often this means being able to have the knowledge and courage to not do the thing that you may be best at. Doctors are held to a high standard of authority. You’re familiar with phrases like, “Doctor knows best”, “Doctors orders”, etc. If this is the standard then it’s very important for a good chiropractor to really know when an adjustment is needed and when it may make someone worse.
There are certainly situations when an adjustment could do more harm than good. For example, if a patient has joints that are hyper-mobile (this means that they move too much or are unstable) that joint typically should not be adjusted. A good chiropractor knows this and has the courage to withhold an adjustment to that area even if a patient begs for it. If the chiropractor knows best then a good chiropractor will do the best too.
2. A Good Chiropractor Knows When to Make a Referral
One great thing about chiropractic treatment is that it can help so many things. Did you know that there is research that shows that chiropractic adjustments can help ADHD, high blood pressure, migraine headaches and even vertigo? As great as chiropractic care is, it doesn’t fix everything. A good chiropractor will know when to call in the reinforcements. If your chiropractor refers you to an orthopedic surgeon, acupuncturist, physical therapist or some other type of provider, it doesn’t mean that they are just passing the buck. A good chiropractor will co-manage your case. This means that there will be follow-up after the referral and chiropractic treatments can be used to be supportive of other treatments.
As an example, it is not uncommon for me to refer a patient who has been in a car accident to physical therapy to help with the rehabilitation of injured muscles. I still continue to meet with my patient and give treatments that will help them get better quickly.
3. A Good Chiropractor Sees More Than Your Spine
In the early days of chiropractic, about 120 years ago, it was thought that all disease was caused by subluxations, which are areas of dysfunction in the spine. Of course not a lot was known about the actual cause of diseases back then. Chiropractors treated people’s spines and got results that, in some cases, seemed miraculous. I, myself, am always down for a good chiropractic miracle. However, these don’t always happen for every patient. Today we know so much more about the human body and how to keep it healthy. A good chiropractor will see more than just your spine.
There are still some of these old-school chiropractors out there today. They might tell you that all you need is a good adjustment and all of your ills will be cured. It just isn’t always that simple. If you really want a good chiropractor you have to see someone who is willing to look at all of you, not just one part. The fact is that no amount of adjusting can compensate for poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, gastrointestinal illness, and other potential problems. A good chiropractor will listen to your problems and use the array of tools and training they have to get you the results you are looking for.
4. A Good Chiropractor Will Empower You
You probably heard the old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever.” This phrase is really about empowerment which is exactly what a good chiropractor seeks for his patients. A good chiropractor will teach you self-care habits that will allow you to become an active player in your wellness. This means that you will learn exercises, habits and attitudes that will strengthen you. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy regular adjustments. I love the way that I feel after good adjustment. However, I don’t think a good chiropractor will condition a patient to become reliant on adjustments to feel good because they haven’t been given to tools to take control of their own health. In other words, the good chiropractor is committed to teaching patients to LIVE healthy. The word doctor does, after all, mean “teacher”.
5. A Good Chiropractor Will Put Your Needs First
The measure of a successful chiropractor has nothing to do with the number of patient visits in a week or a month. It has everything to do with patient outcomes. In other words, if I’m being a good chiropractor, the only thing that matters is whether my patients are getting better or not. I recently had a patient tell me that they switched from their old chiropractor because he spent too much time talking about his own problems instead of focusing on the patient’s problems. If you ever get the sense that your chiropractic visits are more about the chiropractor or the practice than about your health then it may be time to look for another doctor. You deserve to be the central feature of your treatment plan. A good chiropractor knows this and puts you in your rightful place.
In summary, a good chiropractor will know when and how to apply their craft in a way that is focused on your well being. When you find a chiropractor who puts these principles into practice you will find a greater chance of experiencing one of those “chiropractic miracles” I was talking about earlier. This is because chiropractic treatment applied in a smart patient-centered way is an amazing experience. Everybody deserves that experience. Everybody deserves a good chiropractor.