The American Chiropractic Association reports that there are over 70,000 chiropractors in the United States. With so many to choose from, finding a chiropractor is fairly easy. Finding the right chiropractor for you is a bit trickier. Fortunately, there are several useful tips about how to choose a chiropractor that can help you in your quest.
How to Choose a Chiropractor
When provided by a skilled professional, chiropractic care can be highly effective in the treatment of a wide array of ailments. When selecting a chiropractor to assist you with your particular challenge, you will want to find someone with the right combination of knowledge, experience, skills, and attitude. To do that, use these seven tips.
1. Get Referrals
Whether you are searching for a talented hair stylist, a reliable contractor, or an effective doctor, referrals are a great starting point. Start your search for a chiropractor by asking family members, friends, coworkers, and your existing healthcare team for recommendations. While you’re at it, go online and read reviews and patient satisfaction surveys. You’ll still want to do a bit of research before scheduling your first appointment, but the list of names that you create through this process is a good first step in your journey to finding the right chiropractor for your needs.
2. Check Credentials
Chiropractors, also called doctors of chiropractic (DCs), are highly trained medical professionals who have completed nationally accredited, graduate-level programs. In addition to a four-year undergraduate degree, DCs must have a four-year doctorate degree, just like medical doctors (MDs) and doctors of osteopathy (DOs). Believe it or not, chiropractors actually spend more total hours in the classroom when compared to MDs:
Before scheduling an appointment, verify that the chiropractor you are considering is licensed and a graduate of an accredited school of chiropractic. You will also want to check for any history of malpractice or disciplinary actions.
Finally, ask about your chiropractor’s area of specialty. For example, all of the doctors at Loehr Chiropractic have specialty areas of study that required hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of hours of education beyond the regular requirements for chiropractors. This may help you decide which chiropractor to see.
3. Evaluate Experience
How long has the chiropractor been providing services? How much experience do they have in treating your particular health issue? Have they pursued additional training to refine and expand their skill set? Although everyone has to start somewhere, selecting a chiropractor who has experience treating your health challenge often leads to better results.
4. Consider Communication
Sometimes personalities clash, and in a healthcare situation, that can create unnecessary hardship. During your first visit to the chiropractor, consider whether the doctor’s style is a good fit for you. Are you comfortable with them? When communicating with them, do you understand what you are being told? Do you feel like your own questions and concerns are being heard? Ideally, you want to build a relationship with a professional who you trust to be honest with you, to consider your treatment preferences, and to respect your decisions.
5. Explore Treatment Possibilities
Some chiropractic offices only offer chiropractic care. Others take a more holistic view of wellness and provide access to additional services like nutritional counseling, physical therapy, massage, or acupuncture. If you are interested in other therapies or believe that they might speed your recovery, it makes sense to choose a chiropractic clinic with a repertoire that includes other treatment possibilities.
6. Weigh the Details
Where is the chiropractor’s office located? Do you feel comfortable going there? Is it in an area that you routinely travel or far off your normal route? Is parking readily available? Are the office hours a good fit for your schedule? How long does it take to get an appointment? Is the office staff helpful? Although these practical details may not be as important as the chiropractor’s qualifications or experience, they will impact your experience, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to consider them if you’re wondering how to choose a chiropractor.
7. Investigate Your Insurance Coverage
Many insurance plans now include at least some coverage for chiropractic care, so it makes sense to investigate what your plan offers. Choosing a chiropractor that accepts your insurance will often maximize your benefit, but if you truly believe that a professional who does not participate with your insurance is your best bet, then you may be able to get some reimbursement for out-of-network services. It’s also smart to ask who is responsible for submitting the claim to the insurance company. Many chiropractors will handle this for you, but some do require you to submit the claim yourself; this is more common with providers who do not participate in your insurance plan.
Chiropractic care is a drug-free, noninvasive way to feel better. Whether you are in pain and hoping for relief or simply want to include chiropractic care in your wellness routine, understanding how to choose a chiropractor can help you find a reputable professional who will work with you to improve and maintain your health situation.
Would you benefit from chiropractic care? To learn more about this time-tested form of hands-on healing, contact Loehr Chiropractic & Acupuncture today. Give us a call at 417-887-8075 or contact us online for more information.