How to Choose the Right Chiropractor

Choosing the chiropractor or chiropractic clinic that is best for you is not as simple as it sounds. It’s important to research each chiropractor, read their reviews, learn what they specialize in and set up a consultation to ask questions about your specific issue.

What criteria would you suggest people use when selecting a good chiropractor?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Great question. I get asked this question quite a lot in the clinic, and it all depends on what you are trying to achieve out of going to see the chiropractor. The beauty of chiropractic is you can practice however you like. However, the negative side of that is, you go to five different chiropractors and there’ll be five different approaches on how to treat the issue. So, for me, the gold standard is corrective care and corrective care is going to be essentially not just correcting the symptoms but correcting the functionality in the structure of the joint, the tissue, and the spine.

We practice at Advanced Health Chiropractic, a technique called chiropractic biophysics; it’s most researched form of chiropractic. And it’s all based in and around biomechanical assessment of the spine. Obviously, the spine is designed to be a certain way, and we have a little bit of wiggle room from that, but the further away we get from a spine that’s in alignment, the more chance and propensity we have of symptoms and/or dysfunction.

So, for us, when we’re treating our patients, we can comfortably say, based on a really thorough evaluation, history or detailed consult history or a preliminary neurological evaluation, importantly, x-rays we can figure out exactly what is causing the dysfunction. And from there, we can give you options, say, okay, we can do this type of treatment where we’re just going to get you out of pain and get your functioning again and you’re going to get on with your life. Or we can do a type of treatment where we’re actually going to objectively improve the shape of your spine and get it within or close to normal limits which, research is pretty clear on, is going to reduce your chance of pain down the road. Now, some patients might be really into exercise for example, Crossfitters, so they might prefer a chiropractor that’s more focused on the soft tissue within the joint and treat the soft tissue.

Many friends of mine practicing in Colorado essentially are adjusting the spine, but they’re focusing more on soft tissue, mostly tendons in the spine or in the shoulder or in the foot or in the ankle. And they’re kind of more sports based and then have other friends that are more pain based. You’re just going to see them six to 12 times based on your symptomatology and your case, get out of pain and the chiropractor will say, “Okay, you good to go. Next time you’re in pain, come on in.”

So, there are many different ways you can be treated, and all based on what you’re trying to get out of treatment. What we tend to find is people will come in with symptoms, but they always want correction. You don’t want the pain to come back. If that’s the type of care you’re looking for, is a website that you can use for anyone who’s qualified in chiropractic biophysics and you can hang your hat on those guys and girls correcting your issue objectively, which is going to give you more of a long-term solution and maybe nip into the joint, which is great. Just to get a few adjustments, to get rid of that pain because chances are that pain will return down the road. It might not be for a few months, years, but eventually it’ll pop up again.

How would a potential patient assess a doctor, the staff and the office environment?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Great question. I feel like social proof goes such a long way. Nowadays, for people picking anything from doctors to devices or furniture removal companies. So, I feel the best way to assess the doctor, the staff, the environment would be to jump online and check out all their social channels, their Google reviews, their Yelp reviews, their Facebook reviews because obviously proof is in the pudding. If you have a choice between two or three chiropractors and one of the chiropractors has a three-star rating, the other has a five-star rating and/or one chiropractor has 10 reviews, or he has a thousand reviews, then obviously the chiropractor who is seeing more people and getting more good reviews is more than likely going to be doing the better work. Not saying the other chiropractors aren’t, but I feel like social proof just goes a long way for us.

What makes our office tick is definitely social proof. People every time, “Hey how did you hear about us? How did you come in?” “Well, I found you online, looked at your google reviews, you’re highest reviewed. So, you guys seem to be a good fit.” They came into the practice. We seem to do good stuff so it just rolls into another good review, another good review, and then they just keep the new patients coming.

Is there a way to independently check a chiropractor’s credentials?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely. Every chiropractor obviously has to be licensed within the state. So, you could absolutely start there. Jump on your state’s licensing board and just double check the license is active and there’s been no malpractice cases, et cetera, but that’s a given. I can’t imagine a chiropractor trying to practice without a license. So, that’s absolutely basic.

Then chiropractors can absolutely go and train and do things where they specialize in, for example, for us being chiropractic biophysics. So, I feel like the website is usually really good for chiropractors to show off the credentials specifically are they qualified in orthopedics or neurology. Have they done extra qualifications like we have in chiropractic biophysics, are they soft tissue specialized? And then obviously if the website doesn’t list it, which I would be surprised if it didn’t, cause obviously chiropractors want to make sure everyone knows how well versed they are in techniques.

If, for example, you know, of a good technique for example, if you wanted to find a really good soft tissue specialist to focus more on a soft tissue injury, for example, integrated diagnosis is probably the gold standard for soft tissue. We do some integrated diagnosis. They have a provider website where you punch in your zip code and it’ll list all providers that are versed and qualified in that technique. So, there’s two ways to go about it. It just depends on if you are well versed in the technique, most people aren’t. So, then you’d have to look a little deeper into the clinic’s website and that doctor’s profile. Every doctor should have a profile page on the website. I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

What should we ask about the types of therapies a given chiropractor offers?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Kind of coming back to our initial earlier conversation, the beauty of chiropractic is you practice however you want, but the downside is obviously that it’s not going to be standardized throughout the profession. So, chiropractors, first foremost, are specialists in the spine and the nervous system. So, we have to start there. All chiropractors are adjusting the spine and if they’re adjusting the spine, how are they adjusting it because there’s many different ways to adjust the spine. For example, you have a traumatic brain injury, you might want to see a chiropractor that’s specializes in neurology. If you have a bad upper cervical injury from a car accident, for example, you might want to find a chiropractor that specializes in just the upper cervical spine. If you have a bad sports injury, disc injury in the lower back from weightlifting, for example, you might want to find a chiropractor that’s specializes in orthopedics or sports.

I feel like the website of a reputable chiropractor should list the type of treatment they’re performing. Just give them a call or go in and have a consult with the chiropractor or with the chiropractor who you’d like to see, and then essentially ask them those questions. This is my issue, how does your office treat this issue? What type of therapies do you do? What does it entail? And then obviously a chiropractor has to evaluate you and then offer you recommended treatment. Recommended treatment could be a varying amount of things, adjustments, soft tissue therapy, spinal traction, physical therapy.

We do all of those things. I feel like when you are adjusting your spine, working on alignment, via traction, working on a soft tissue within the joint and then physical therapy to fix all the muscle imbalances that occur from injuries and poor posture, that’s the type of treatment you want because that adds all the good things together and all those things are equal at getting optimal results. That’s why we do really well in terms of helping a lot of people and being well reviewed.

We do all those things compared to other chiropractors that might adjust the spine which is great, but they might be missing something with the soft tissue. Or soft tissue specialists might be great at treating the soft tissue, but they’re missing something with the alignment of your neck, which is going to continue to beat up the soft tissue. So obviously, you just have to try and figure out what type of therapy you feel like you need or want and just find a chiropractor that is the gold standard in terms of how they’re treating.

You mentioned using Google reviews, but I would imagine many people ask their friends and family for recommendations. Are many of your new clients referrals from current clients?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely. There’s no bigger compliment than a referral. We’re about an 80% referral office. So, if you are doing good work and helping that person, then more often than not people like to tell other people that they found something that’s really good and it’s really working for them.

In America, many people are in pain, the amount of sitting we have to do or just the amount of work we have to do. There’s no bigger compliment than a referral. We see plenty of referrals. It’s really awesome when a patient refers in a family member or a friend. It gives ourselves a nice pat on the back.

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