I’ve been thinking recently about a post I saw asking about a chiropractic visit. They wanted to know if they had been part of a sales gimmick. Having experienced many management groups for chiropractors I thought they had been. The purpose of my writing this is not to bad mouth anyone. Yet, I do want to provide some information that I hope can be of benefit to people. I will speak towards a few things on my mind but if there are any questions you have share them and I can address those.
Many chiropractors like to take routine X-rays to make sure that they “don’t miss anything”. This is a bad idea because X-rays have poor sensitivity. That means that they have a low ability to identify a condition/pathology/disease. Also, many errors take place due to poor technique and positioning. So using an X-ray “just in case” is not a good justification to get one. Taking an MRI makes more sense to screen for “just in case” scenarios. Yet, even that has its problems that I won’t get into now. Check out more here.
In most cases that are up for debate on whether to get imaging or not, a trial of care should be first. A typical trial of care will be between 2-4 weeks. Here is a link to a recent piece of research. (Only reading the “Conclusion” at the end is enough.)
If the clinic you go to wants x-rays taken then ask these questions:
How will you use the results to check my condition or guide my treatment (or that of my child)?
- The answer will likely be something directed at being able to find and visualize subluxations. These cannot be detected on an x-ray.
Are there other exams that do not use ionizing radiation that could be as useful?
- Usually the answer is yes. It’s taking a good history and performing a physical exam.
Long-Term Care Plans
One thing a lot of people are wary of is that a chiropractor wants them for life. This is a good observation. Management groups coach chiropractors on how to set up lifetime patients. A common analogy is a leaky bucket. If you fix the leaks you don’t have to worry about adding more water. In other words, keeping patients is better than worrying about new ones. The way I see this is how many see the pharmaceutical game going.
Our philosophy here has always been the referral game. If you upset someone they’ll tell 15 people about it. If you do a great job that person will tell 2 others. It’s a slow build but it breeds more success and satisfaction overall. We got into this game with the idea to help people and get them well. Overall chiropractic philosophy is taking care of people without drugs or surgery. I see this as helping somebody without them being dependent on someone or something forever. I include myself in that.
Anyways, long-term care plans are not for everyone. Some people have a more complicated thing going and care will take longer. However, nobody can predict that someone with need care for the entirety of a year. Even 6 months is pretty steep. Again, 2-4 weeks for an initial trial of care is a safe bet and then move forward from there.
I don’t want to negate this as an option. Many people do this and benefit from it greatly! The evidence is building to show this as a valid option. Terms for this is “wellness” or “maintenance” care. It can be wonderful and if your chiropractor is trying to move you here it’s not a bad thing. What if they want you to pay upfront for the year or have an existing credit? Again, not an immediate cause for alarm. That could be a cost-effective way to get good care. But, be aware that this can get scammy. More so when they offer you an initial care plan that will cost $3000 upfront. My favorite type of maintenance care is the kind you can do for yourself – usually takes place in a gym. I realize and utilize the advantage that comes from regular chiropractic care though. It does a good deal for me and my family. It looks different for everyone and you should find what works best for you. 3x/week is NOT wellness care though – something along the lines of 1x/month is what we’re talking about.
Erroneous Claims and Fear Mongering
This is a big issue. Some promote the adjustment as a global cure. That it will do everything from pain relief to gene alteration for generations to come. Some evidence is there but not substantiated. Evidence-based practitioners will try to stay within the middle of this Venn diagram.
What’s lacking most is the literature, and the other two factors hold a lot of bias.
What cracks me up is one thing I was once taught to say in a script.
“I will remove the nerve interference and give your body 100% capacity to heal and 100% capacity to prevent future problems.”
In my mind, this was bogus for a few reasons. I’ll focus on this. If it was 100% why is it that in the breath I’m telling them they’ll need to come back a lot? Then, later tell them they’ll need to continue wellness care for life? Watch out for this kind of stuff.
Here’s another example I’ve seen of falsification and fear-mongering.
This is from a chiropractor’s website. Really now? C’mon man, I’m gonna get cancer and diabetes because I don’t see you?! Depression? Don’t flatter yourself. Watch out for this kind of bologna.
There’s more we could talk about and if you have any questions comment here and we’ll address them. In the meantime, I wanted to share these great examples that I found from other chiropractors. Check out the links.