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How-to-choose-a-chiropractor

You’ve just hurt your back bending over to pick up the kids, or you’re finally sick of ignoring those nagging headaches… You’ve heard of chiropractic before, but you don’t know anything about it. You search for local chiropractors in your area, but they all look so different, and they’re all using these fancy words that make no sense. So how do you know who to choose?

 

Choosing a chiropractor can be confusing, so we’re going to break down some key points to consider when finding one you can trust. Although we’ll be talking about chiropractors, these attributes are important to consider for all health care practitioners!

 

Longer consults time

A common issue people have with health care professionals in general, is a short consultation time. It can be so frustrating as a patient to feel like you don’t have the time to tell your story, or it seems like your practitioner doesn’t have the time or doesn’t appear interested. We consider communication the most important part of being a chiropractor, so we encourage people to look for a chiropractor who offer consults longer than 20 minutes for a standard visit.

 

Longer appointments allow for:

  • Time to understand your condition properly and come to an accurate diagnosis
  • Get to know you as a person and built rapport
  • Allows for proper education and reassurance
  • Time to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have

 

Makes you feel confident

When you first visit the chiropractor, you should feel empowered and motivated. You should have trust in the advice you’ve received, and you should feel like you have a realistic plan for how to manage your condition. This ties into the longer consultation time.

 

How should your chiropractor be motivating?

  • They’ve created a realistic plan – your treatment should be individualised, and based around your goals
  • Increase activity levels – you should leave knowing what you can and should do, not what you can’t do
  • Helped you understand your pain/condition – Even though most pain we experience isn’t dangerous or life threatening, it can still be a scary and confusing experience. Having a trusted person to help you understand why you’re feeling this way, and how to manage it is so important.

 

Evidence-based care

In a data driven age of healthcare, it’s important to know that the care you are receiving is supported by scientific evidence. The diagram below (1) shows how practitioners should make decisions about your health. All 3 aspects need to be considered, not 1 overriding the others. Although we don’t expect our practitioner to rattle off a heap of research to prove this… Here are some things to look out for that

how-to-choose-a-chiropractor-ebm

Collaborative care

  • They make appropriate referrals when necessary and communicate with other practitioners professionally

Considers the whole person

  • Pain is a complex experience, and it can be influenced by our psychological state, and/or our social environment (2). An evidenced-based chiropractor will understand when these factors may need to be addressed further

Informed consent

  • Consent is an integral part of every consultation. Your chiropractor should have an honest discussion with you regarding your prognosis (how long it will take), treatment options (see below), and cost in order to help you come to an appropriate decision.

 

Multi-modal therapy

Every patient is different, so it’s important for your chiropractor to have lots of different ways to help you. You may have experienced chiropractors who only use one technique which can still be helpful, but some people require different options to get the best results.

 

Current evidence guidelines (best advice based on scientific evidence) suggest a multimodal approach (2).

 

These include:

  • Exercise (stretches, strength training etc)
  • Manual therapy (spinal manipulation/mobilisation, massage, dry needling etc)
  • Education and psychological therapies
  • Self-management strategies and lifestyle modifications

 

Not sure what to ask your chiropractor?

Here is a link to a great patient resource https://www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/5questions it provides 5 important questions you should ask your practitioner to make sure you’re receiving the most appropriate care.

 

Download PDF Newsletter >

 

References

  1. https://e3rehab.com/blog/ebp/
  2. Hartvigsen J, Hancock MJ, Kongsted A, Louw Q, Ferreira ML, Genevay S, Hoy D, Karppinen J, Pransky G, Sieper J, Smeets RJ. What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. The Lancet. 2018 Jun 9;391(10137):2356-67.
  3. Lin I, Wiles L, Waller R, Goucke R, Nagree Y, Gibberd M, Straker L, Maher CG, O’Sullivan PP. What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like? Eleven consistent recommendations from high-quality clinical practice guidelines: systematic review. British journal of sports medicine. 2020 Jan 1;54(2):79-86.

 

About the Authors

 

chatswood chiro david mcnaughton

David McNaughton is a clinician and a researcher. He is the director and principal chiropractor at DMC Health & Wellness. He has an extensive background in the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. In addition to his clinical studies, David holds a Master’s of Research and PhD in Psychology. He regularly publishes his research in peer reviewed medical and psychology journals. David has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Chiropractic and Psychology at Macquarie University.

 

 

Isaac-Searant-DMC-ChiroIsaac completed a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and Master of Chiropractic at Macquarie University, and is currently enrolled in a Master of Research. His research aims to understand the clinical decisions health practitioners make about diagnostic imaging. His clinical interests include spinal pain (neck and back) and sporting injuries. Regardless of the condition, his goal as a chiropractor is to work collaboratively with patients.

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