Find a good chiropractor requires some diligence; it's important to do some homework ahead of time.
Locating someone with whom you are going to click and who is up to date on your particular problem is never an easy thing; but no more difficult than ferreting out a good doctor, dentist or architect. He or she needs to be knowledgeable and thorough, kind and conscientious.
Someone who is able to crack the whip and be a bully if need be. Like if you are not doing your rehabilitation, or missing consultations, or are a smoker; any doctor worth his salt should at least once say what needs to be said. I could go on. Getting on top of a difficult neck or slipped disc takes a commitment on your part too.
For example, if you are suffering from severe lower spine pain and an aching leg, the greatest single factor counting against you will be smoking; the joint just doesn't get enough oxygen to heal. And when your DC fails, the surgeon will tell you the same thing.
Where do you start in your mission to find a good chiropractor?
Family, friends and your medical doctor are usually places where you can get good advice. Some of course may be prejudiced against chiropractic; you must make up your own mind.
My advice is not to start with the biggest advert, the yellow pages, the best website, and hence not me, or flyers in the post when looking for chiropractic help. Begin rather by asking your friends, relatives, acquaintainces and, yes, even your doctor to help you find a good chiropractor.
"THE LIFE SO SHORT, THE CRAFT SO LONG TO LEARN."
- HIPPOCRATES, father of Medicine.
Young -vs- Older?
A young Chiropractic physician is likely to be filled with enthusiasm, energy, and up to date with the latest research and ideas. But, s/he is short on experience.
Your older doctor of Chiropractic has cut his/her teeth with many years of experience, the hardest master. But, unless he keeps up to date with enthusiasm, he may well have passed his sell-by-date!
A tough choice, both have their merits. My advice? Look for the doctor who is has a reputation for being conscientious, gives a thorough examination and does not seem to be constantly rushed off her/his feet. That's where you'll generally get the best Chiropractic help.
Man or Woman
For the average patient, I personally think it makes no difference. Find the best person, who knows about your problem, and comes highly recommended, and don't concern yourself with their sex.
But we're not all average ..
Most patients consult chiropractors needing help for sciatica pain or neck and arm related symptoms. Tingling in arms and hands is very common. You can test for a pinched nerve in the neck yourself, though be warned, interpretation of the Upper Limb Tension Test is not straight forward; nevertheless it gives you an indication.
Does s/he have a reputation for giving exercises? If not, you may find yourself going for treatment twice a week for the rest of your life. Well, an exaggeration of course, but you get the drift.
In my experience, patients who faithfully do their exercises and come occasionally for maintenance care have far fewer calamities. And when they do, it often passes over without chiropractic help.
A neglected lower back pain often will begin radiating down the leg, either following the sciatic or femoral nerves.
The latter tends to be affected in older people, radiating to the side and front of the thigh, and sometimes down the inner lower leg. The quadriceps muscle may be affected and stairs become difficult; falls are consequently not uncommon in the elderly.
A weak quadriceps muscle, in the absence of pain, may be caused by diabetes. Knee problems often affect the thigh too.
The sciatic nerve symptoms are often at the back of the thigh, calf and side of the foot, though it depends on the root involved. Help for sciatica pain is at hand; don't wait until it's full blown.
The lower leg muscles then may be affected. Can you raise your big toe? Are you able to stand on your toes on the affected limb?
When it becomes difficult the surgeon is waiting in the wings. Lower back exercises are part of the solution; think prevention now before it goes down your leg.
Are you anxious about a chiropractor who will be forthright, honest and direct? It's a difficult issue for all doctors; do you confront the patient and risk offending and losing him or her?
Or do you hold your tongue and let him continue on the downward slide to disability, pain and even death?
If you don't want to hear recommendations about how to get those extra fifty pounds off, why and how you should start exercising and that a good diet is vital for healthy cartilage in your joints then it's best that you choose carefully someone who will let you continue on your merry miserable path of doom without comment. Because there's only pain ahead for those who will not hear.
Rather, find a good chiropractor who is not afraid to address these issues.
Nevertheless, the smart chiropractor says what needs to be said bluntly and directly once, very clearly, and then holds his tongue. Don't be offended; he or she cares. Rather be angry if your DC says nothing; he should have.
Chiropractors are a primary contact profession; that means that they have a far greater responsibility for your general health than simply addressing spinal subluxations. Discussing exercise instead of hormone replacement therapy and keeping your animal protein down is important for every woman. Osteoporosis and breast cancer don't just happen to other people.
Breast cancer and prevention is an important part of a chiropractor's practice too. Metastases to the ribs, spine and breastbone are not uncommon.
Maintenance chiropractic care is for those with a long and difficult history. No one is going to "cure" you.
Maintenance care is one of the solutions. A daily exercise program is another.
A good chiropractor is not going to recommend maintenance care if you get a stiff neck once in five years, unless you've had a whiplash perhaps.
Your good chiropractor should also talk to you about taking vacations, how you exercise and ask whether you are eating correctly. Good health is not just about having your subluxations adjusted. If your cholesterol or blood pressure is raised, if you are taking numerous different prescriptions, a couch potato; all of these have a profound affect on your health.
Is it your desire to find a good chiropractor who will avoid these contentious issues? So be it, tell him or her; I regularly have patients who complain that they came to me for back pain, or whatever, and have no interest in these so called peripheral issues.
Do you want to sit under those trees you once planted, and watch your grandchildren grow up? I do, so I'm into healthy choice foods; you should be too.
What we eat and drink, and what we don't eat but should, has just as profound an affect, perhaps an even greater influence on your health than spinal subluxations.
Looking for ideas? HEALTHY SLOW FOOD, MADE FAST is our motto.
Every chiropractor will have a long list of successes and some failures. Here are a few of mine...
There is no treatment on the planet that doesn't have potential dangers. Anti inflammatory drugs for example are prescribed right, left and centre, yet have some very serious side effects. So bad that they kill about 12,000 people EVERY YEAR in the USA from a bleeding ulcer.
It's known an Iatrogenic Illness or, doctor-caused disease.
And, yes, let's be honest, Chiropractic Iatrogenic Illness also exists. Mostly it's fairly self-limiting - increased back pain after treating, a cracked rib, and breastbone bone pain after an overly enthusiastic midback manipulation which, more seriously, can lead to Tietzes Syndrome ...
Very occasionally, a patient may have a stroke after an upper neck manipulation, but really it's very rare, about one in 2-5 million manipulations. Stroke chiropractic ...
Find a good chiropractor and these dangers are really very minimal. But yes they do happen, and even to the best of chiropractors. Medical doctors too.
"I love your newsletter and website. You have an excellent way of phrasing explanations on Chiropractic care and a plethora of good information and links. Thank you!
Dr D G, New Jersey
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