We’ve all been there before: trying to choose between a list of potential businesses or professionals with very little of substance to go on. Most of the time we rely on online reviews, glances at web pages, and if we are lucky we may know someone who has been to that business already and can tell you what to expect.
Going to a chiropractor is an important decision, even more so because many people do not know much about chiropractic to start with. What little they do know may very well be wrong. Some consider chiropractors quite poorly and are skeptical of the profession. Some are open to seeing a chiropractor but have no friends or family to steer them to the right person, and have no experience with chiropractic that would make an Internet search easier. It helps when you know the “language” of something because your Google search will be much more fruitful when you use the right terminology. Using broad terms often will net you nothing more than a list of chiropractors who do a lot of advertising and who fill their websites with keywords just to attract visitors via Google.
Choosing a chiropractor is in many ways a very personal decision. With so many types of DC’s out there that means that you can probably find one tailored to your needs. chiropractor columbia mo This article will outline how to conduct a good search that will show you all the local chiropractors and allow you to tell them apart so that you can make the best choice.
1. Are you going to a chiropractor simply for pain relief, or for general health?
You can loosely separate chiropractors into two groups: holistic chiropractors and mechanistic chiropractors. All chiropractors know of this distinction, and in fact the profession has been in a general state of low-level internal conflict along this fault line since it’s inception. Some chiropractors know this as a war of “straights vs. mixers”. The internal conflict, which actually has many positive benefits, has been ongoing since the start of the profession in 1895. This duality is a strength of the profession: without the holistic character of chiropractic we would be physical therapists who adjust the spine, and without the mechanistic character of chiropractic we would lose sight of the very real benefits to health that chiropractic care provides millions of Americans every year, and the real detrimental effects of spinal joint malfunction (subluxation).
2. Do you want long-term care or would you prefer to have your complaint treated and then have your case closed?
Many chiropractors, with varying degrees of scientific evidence to back this up, promote chiropractic as a viable alternative to traditional healthcare. They view chiropractic as a way to foster the health of your nervous system through chiropractic spinal adjustments, which then allows the body to function at a higher level. Chiropractors and patients all over the country will attest to improved health with less illness and injury after they incorporated chiropractic into their lives. Regular adjustments help adults and children cope with everything from allergies to headaches, and people who want to avoid prescription medication often choose chiropractic instead. Hard scientific proof to validate this is difficult to come by due to inherent problems in designing a study capable of testing the “chiropractic lifestyle” and it’s effect on general health, but case series’ exist and we’ve likely all met someone who will swear up and down that chiropractic is keeping them out of the doctor’s office.
On the flip side of this coin are chiropractors that will work to promote proper joint function at the injured area and then rehabilitate the joint and supporting soft tissue, after which they will release you from care. There is a value in this, just as there is a value in wellness or maintenance care. Releasing a patient after their pain is gone will save the patient money. It will also please the patient’s health insurer – not that your insurer’s happiness should ever be a factor in making health decisions, but unfortunately they hold power over your health in some very important ways so there is a value in not ending up in anyone’s crosshair at your insurer’s corporate headquarters. Rather than promote continuing care, a mechanistic chiropractor will work to correct the immediate problem only. Many times back pain may stem from a weak ankle or knee, so your chiropractor may very well focus on a spot that isn’t painful, so do not assume the location of your pain is the cause of your pain.
A fundamental difference between holistic and mechanistic chiropractors is that the holistic chiropractor will treat the patient beyond the scientific limitations a more mechanistic chiropractor would self-impose. This actually ties #1 and #2 together. For example, a mechanistic chiropractor may treat low back pain by working to rehabilitate a sacroiliac joint and then release the client when the sacroiliac joint returns to normal, pain-free function. A holistic chiropractor will treat the client until subluxations (spinal misalignments causing nerve irritation) are fully resolved and then broaden their attention to include general subluxation correction in the entire spine in order to promote general wellness. Both approaches have real value. While imposing limits on treatment based on the limits of what peer-reviewed research can substantiate is important, holistic chiropractors acknowledge that progress in science occurs by pushing the limits of understanding and treating patients in ways that current best evidence may not fully support. The periphery of science is where progress is usually made – though it is also where quackery finds refuge.