There are a couple of ways most of us find our chiropractor. Your neighbor has had back pain all their lives and loves seeing their chiropractor and insists you see them too. Your aunt got into a car accident and she swears by the magic her chiropractor does to make her neck feel better in just two months. Lastly, the dreaded Yelp; a series of searches in your area with enough stars to convince you this person might be able to solve your long standing posture problems. You scroll endlessly though the reviews hoping someone mentions similar pain to yours followed by the words “instant relief”. This guide is meant to help anyone looking for a chiropractor, whether it’s their first time or looking in a new city.
In large cities, a 15–20 minute commute is doable for most patients. For routine appointments, the commute won’t feel long. However, imagine waking up with a crick in your neck, unable to turn left, and it’s starting to radiate down your arm. Driving or sitting on public transportation for any longer than 20 minutes will make a trip to the chiropractor difficult. If you suffer from any lower body pain, make sure the office is equipped with an elevator or doesn’t have a large staircase. If you have mobility restrictions, a quick phone call to make sure the office is ADA compliant will ease your mind. Making sure you can physically access the office is the first step to seeking care.
2. Google Them
A quick Google search will lead you toward their website, any articles they published, or any social media. Perusing their website can help you find out more about the clinic. Some websites will have treatment types to help you decided the if the clinic can provide a specific treatment you desire. They may even list additional on site providers that work well with chiropractic, such as massage therapy, acupuncture, or physical therapy. Finding out more information about your doctor and the clinic could ease your anxiety and stress levels. Contact info will help you ask them questions about billing and insurance, parking information, and directions. Some offices will allow you to talk to the doctor for specific questions.
3. Managing Your Expectations
Are you an athlete looking for pain relief as well as increasing your performance? Or have you recently entered pregnancy and need a chiropractor to help you with your back pain through the trimesters? Maybe you don’t respond well to chiropractic adjustments and enjoy the light touch therapy, cranio-sacral work, stretches and exercises, or sacral occipital blocking. Thinking about what you want from the visits and expressing them to your chiropractor will help them manage your expectations. Just like medical doctor specialties, chiropractors have specialties within the profession. Most specialties have a certifying agency that provide the chiropractor with proficient education and training for special populations and techniques. Be sure that if you have questions or concerns about procedures, speak up and ask. There is nothing more terrifying than not knowing what to expect. Providing the patient with autonomy is a sign of a chiropractor that is patient-centered. The needs and wants of the patient comes first. Chiropractors will make recommendations and suggestions based on their specialties and experience but you ultimately have the last say. It is important to feel like you are in control of your care.
4. Personal Preference
Just like favorite colors and pizza toppings, choosing a chiropractor that is right for you is individualized to you as well. Experiencing pain and chronicity is multi-factorial. As health care professionals, chiropractors are trained to assess and diagnose injuries and make referrals for certain diseases. Speaking from a physiological standpoint, pain is not something that can be measured objectively. You must be conscious to express levels of pain based on past experience. Being able to tell your chiropractor about how this pain affects your life psychologically and socially, will help them understand why it is important for you to get out of pain. Make sure you feel: 1.) comfortable with your chiropractor to share events in your life, 2.) they make you feel welcomed into the space, 3.) they are nonjudgmental about the choices you make. Feeling tense and uncomfortable in a healing environment or with the health professional is not conducive to helping you get better.
Finding a chiropractor that is right for you is inevitably a process. It may look like doing some research or a series of trial and error. Ultimately talking to the chiropractor is the best way for your intuition to lead you. During the first appointment, ask and clarify your concerns, as well as gauge if the chiropractor has the healing touch for you. Ask friends for recommendations but don’t let their experiences bias your decision. They may have different reasons for seeing that particular chiropractor. Lastly, if you are currently seeing a chiropractor, but aren’t seeing progress and there is no plan to refer you to another professional, it may be time to seek additional help.