Is my chiropractor just after money?

by SJ
(USA)

How do I know if my chiropractor actually wants to correct my condition or at least improve my symptoms long term, or just relieve my pain temporarily so that I keep coming back and paying him money?

I realize no one is perfect, but I would much appreciate if you could suggest what might be red flags and what a good chiro might do differently.

Hello again SJ,
That's difficult question to answer. No doctor is entirely altruistic unless your name is in the league of Albert Schweitzer. We all have to rent to pay and families to feed.

Part of the answer lies in understanding that not many conditions can be 'cured'; fixed so they go away completely for ever; medical or chiropractor. Many conditions, perhaps most, respond better to some form of ongoing treatment. Much of that should be done by you yourself.

To what extent is your chiropractor encouraging you to help yourself? Is he demanding that your do back exercises? Is he asking you to walk or swim?

To what extent can you see he is thinking? Is he asking about your bed, and your chair? Has he checked your leg length to see if you have an anatomical short leg?

Is it a quick in and out? Do you feel he at least does some cursory examination at each visit? Does he make notes of your progress and his findings at each visit?

Follow your gut feel. I hope this helps in some small way.

Dr B

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Jan 19, 2018
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Will my chiropractor take me seriously?
by: SJ

Thank you for your insights.

I think my chiropractor is not bad, but could do better:
My first treatments were for sciatica/herniated disk, and he strongly recommended x-rays, a MRI, traction decompression, and Pettibone wobble chair-like exercises that I do twice a day. Periodically he will ask if I am still doing the exercises (I am). I like to hike, and he encourages that. Good, right?

But I have other issues: neck pain, shoulder pain, costochondritis, and more recently, hip pain; and I still have low back pain daily, and sometimes mild radiculopathy. I try to mention this, but he (in effect) says that because I have no difficulty moving, that I am fine. True, I have no restrictions of movement, but I have pain every day. That is not fine, according to me. Appointments are quick, and usually are the same treatments, which I have told him have no apparent effect.

He never checked for a leg length difference; I actually asked about it early on, which is how we discovered it. Now I suspect I may have mild hip dysplasia, and mentioned such, but he has not done any tests for it (he kind of laughed at me when I mentioned it). My gut says that he sees me only as a herniated disk patient, whose condition has been diagnosed already, and nothing else is contributing to my symptoms, i.e. that there is nothing else to address. I feel a lot of things that have not been addressed. I'm later 30's, I really don't want pain like this the rest of my life.

I really think he can do better. How can I get him to understand that I am not fine, to listen, and to try to determine what is causing my pain and if it can be reduced or corrected?

Tough one, SJ.

Have you had all these pains for a long time? The honest truth is that no doctor of any ilk can 'cure' chronic pain. Plenty of exercise, attention to an anti-inflammatory diet, taking proper holidays and an occasional but regular treatment are my solutions to chronic pain; it's not perfect, perhaps far from it, but the best we can do.

I'm interested in those Pettibone exercises. On the net?

Hip dysplasia is diagnosed from an x-ray and mild cases like all mild diseases are often difficult to diagnose; may be called normal by many radiologists. The key is a shallow socket, and a sloping acetabulum; there are plenty of pages at Chiropractic Help. Do you have a family history of hip disease?

Most doctors including myself can do better. If you really feel he dismisses your concerns, perhaps it's time to go elsewhere. I have a friend who changes his doctor, denstist and chiropractor every year! I don't actually agree with him, but perhaps their's a case for it.

Dr B

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