There are many options when it comes to chiropractic care. How do you know if you are making the right choice? There are several fundamental characteristics when it comes to finding a good chiropractic fit.
Every profession is based on a philosophy. Chiropractic is no different. It’s crucial to pick a chiropractor with an approach or philosophy that fits you and your needs. For example, is their approach focused on musculoskeletal pain (the symptom), or is the chiropractor’s approach focused on the underlying problem (the cause)?
The fundamental basis for a successful outcome is understanding what the issue is. In chiropractic, the issue that we deal with is called vertebral subluxation or subluxation for short. Subluxation is when a spinal bone loses its proper position and motion and interferes with the transmission of vital information over the nervous system. Subluxation also can damage the disc, the spinal bones themselves, and the surrounding muscle and soft tissue. Many of the symptoms that drive people into a chiropractor’s office have their origin in vertebral subluxation.
To know where the subluxation(s) exist requires a thorough initial workup. Our patients tell us that our initial visit is one of the most comprehensive exams they have ever received. Assessing spinal alignment (with x-ray if necessary), nervous system function, muscle tension, spasm, and range of motion are just some things to look for on the initial evaluation.
After a thorough evaluation is completed and all vertebral subluxations have been identified, a good chiropractor will put together a customized care plan. This care plan will be based on all the information that the chiropractic doctor has available, including the initial test results, your age, lifestyle, etc. A good care plan will consist of progress evaluations to determine how your care is progressing. It would include follow-up x-rays to measure the changes that have occurred (assuming x-rays were initially taken). These progress evaluations are essential for the chiropractor to do their job of monitoring your progress and making any changes needed to keep you on a path towards optimal improvement. Care plans also give realistic expectations of what will unfold during your care. You and your chiropractor need to be on the same page, and without a care plan explaining the process and the expectations, being on the same page can be difficult.
You do not want to overlook the confidence that you have in your chiropractor. Your gut feelings or intuition cannot be overlooked. Ask questions, and listen to the answers; if the chiropractor cannot adequately explain to you why they are recommending something or why things are not progressing as you thought they would, then this is a red flag. Ask many questions; good chiropractors are not afraid of questions.