Find a good Chiropractor

Spine and pelvis are central to a good chiropractor.

Find a good chiropractor requires some diligence; it is 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.

You also need 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; at least cut back at this time.

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, acquaintances and, yes, even your doctor to help you find a good chiropractor.

Definition of professionalism should be uppermost in your mind whether you are looking for an attorney, medical doctor or chiropractor.

This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 20th January, 2019.

Chiropractic poster of an old advert is not the way a good chiropractor works.
Yellow pages for a good chiropractor.


- HIPPOCRATES, father of Medicine.

Find a good chiropractor

Find a good chiropractor gives a few thoughts on how to locate a conscientious and competent DC who has the particular skills needed for your problem.

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.

No question about, changing chiropractors can be very awkward if it's someone you've been consulting for a long time.

Consulting a chiropractor you will find is not big deal, not that different to any other doctor, only the treatment will be less invasive and a have fewer potential risks.

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 ..

Tingling in arms and hands

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.

Lower Back Exercises

Does s/he have a reputation for giving lower back exercises? Is rehab and prevention important to you? 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. Find a good chiropractor who has an active interest in prevention and actually reducing your dependence on doctors in general; nowhere is this more important than in the treatment of low back pain. Each episode means a deterioration in the size and condition of the disc; eventually you end up with lumbar spinal stenosis; it's vital to limit and reduce the number of episodes each year.

In my experience, patients who faithfully do their lower back exercises and come occasionally for maintenance care have far fewer calamities. And when they do, it often passes over without chiropractic help.

Likewise, these Carpal tunnel exercises may save you from surgery on which research casts serious doubts.

Help for sciatica pain

Lower back and leg pain is the most common reason folk consult us. So when you find a good chiropractor he should have a working knowledge of help for sciatica pain.

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.

Stop smoking permanently is what a good chiropractor and medical doctor should be telling you.

Google appears to frown on too many links, so phrases in bold, like that smoking above, and A Family Affair below, need to be put into the Site Search function in the navigation bar on your left if you want more information.

Maintenance care

Maintenance 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.

Consulting a locum

Consulting a locum is an issue faced by us all periodically; you crack a tooth and your dentist has gone fishing, or you injure your back and your chiropractor has his feet up some place. Rest and relaxation is need by us all, or we burn out.

The are a few pros and cons, and some red flags to be considered when consulting a locum.

South Africa

South Africa has a long tradition; find a good chiropractor should not be difficult.

Cape Town is where many good chiropractor congresses are held.

Choice Foods

When you find a good chiropractor he or she should also talk to you about taking vacations, how you exercise and ask whether you are eating correctly; choice foods. Excellent wellness is not just about having your subluxations adjusted.

If your cholesterol or blood pressure is raised, if you are taking numerous different prescriptions, or are a couch potato are all factors that will profoundly affect on your well-being.

Find a good chiropractor who is interested in your overall state of being, and not just help for sciatica pain, or headaches, or whatever.

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 choice foods; you should be too if it's your desire to live long in the land without medication and pain.

What we eat and drink, and what we don't but should, has just as profound an affect, perhaps an even greater influence on your well-being as spinal subluxations.

Looking for ideas? HEALTHY SLOW FOOD, MADE FAST is our motto.

Authentic hummus recipe is the richest source of one of the anti-frailty vitamins. Do you know what the other three are? Is granny on a tea and toast menu?

Fresh spinach salad recipes are where you get the folate.

Healthy choice foods are where you'll find the elixir of life, not in a bottle.

As a chiropractor I encourage all my patients to enjoy dark green leafy vegetables on a daily basis; knowing how to cook beet greens for example is so simple, and important. They contain a vital component called betaine in the fight against against inflammation in the body.

If all the tissues in your body are angry, red and swollen then you can't expect a good result no matter which professional you've chosen to treat your low back pain.

Google appears to frown on too many links, so phrases in bold, like those about hummus and spinach above, need to be put into the Site Search function in the navigation bar on your left if you want more information.

  • Chiropractic Conditions is a central page at Chiropractic Help. It provides you simply and easily with the sorts of conditions that the average chiropractor would be treating.
  • Healthy Living Tips is another vital page at Chiropractic Help. Sparkling good health is not just about having your subluxations adjusted. Our healthy living tips page gives you some insights into different foods you could and perhaps should be eating.

Chiropractic Coalface

Every chiropractor will have a long list of successes and some failures. Here are a few of mine...

Is chiropractic dangerous?

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.

A neurosurgeon's malpractice insurance is in excess of 100 x that of a chiropractor, and 19% of them have a claim every year. Read more at Medical Malpractice Insurance by Specialty.

And, yes, let us 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.

How safe is chiropractic and medical care too is a question we should all be asking.

Google appears to frown on too many links, so phrases in bold, like how safe is chiropractic above, need to be put into the Site Search function in the navigation bar on your left if you want more information.

Useful links:

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

Are you looking for a different slant on your pain?

Do you want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.

You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.

Interesting letters from readers