5 Things to Look for When Choosing a
Doctor of Chiropractic
By: Devon Coughlin, D.C.
Choosing a doctor of any kind can be a tremendous challenge. It’s not like a car wash where your only concerns are price and location. Healthcare isn’t a commodity like laundry detergent or napkins. When we’re talking about our health we want the best, not the most convenient or inexpensive. So when it comes to our nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves), it makes sense to locate the best doctor of chiropractic. Here are the top five things to look for when choosing a doctor of chiropractic:
- Corrective care- One of the biggest criticisms of chiropractic is that adjustments don’t last forever. People say, “I felt great for a couple of days, but then I felt lousy again.” The truth is, that to really correct your spine it takes time and repetition. Just like working out or eating a healthy diet; change takes time. One of the laws of healing is time. Dr. B.J. Palmer (the developer of chiropractic) said that “there is no process that does not require time.” The good news is that there are chiropractors that provide something called “corrective care”. Corrective care is a highly effective type of chiropractic care that begins with a thorough evaluation of the spine using x-ray analysis. The doctors then customize their adjustments for that patient, as well as prescribe corrective exercises to be performed in the office and at home. The main difference with this type of care is that it takes the patient well beyond symptomatic relief and brings them to a place of long-term stabilization and a highly functioning nervous system. The same laws apply to all forms of healthcare when it comes to maintaining the positive changes. If someone begins exercising and improves their diet and they lose 50 lbs., will they maintain that improvement if they go back to living the same poor lifestyle that they were living prior to making those changes? Of course not. You need to provide ongoing attention to that part of your body in order to continue to experience optimal health.
- Imaging- Specific imaging of your spine is absolutely crucial in order to get the best possible results. How on earth could someone receive the best possible care from any doctor without the necessary information? Some possibilities that could pose challenges to someone getting optimal results from their chiropractic care could be: a congenital anomaly, scoliosis, fractured bones, cancer, or some other unexpected problem. Doctors of chiropractic are great at detecting where the nerve interference is located by palpation. But even the best doctors can’t feel every problem in the spine. Without proper imaging proper care cannot be performed. This step is often overlooked today due to the fact that insurance reimbursements for x-rays have dwindled. But that doesn’t mean that the quality of your care should suffer. Insist on the proper imaging before you begin treatment with a doctor of chiropractic.
- Philosophy/Education- One of the greatest benefits of establishing a relationship with a doctor of chiropractic is that most chiropractors hold a “vitalistic” view of health. This means that they understand the laws of health and healing, and that the body is a self healing organism. The body is not a machine, and to treat it as such is a fallacy. Chiropractors hold a unique philosophy in that they reserve drugs and surgery for crisis care, and recognize that the body has the ability to bring itself back to a state of homeostasis with the proper help. Chiropractic philosophy views the body as a whole and respects the laws of intelligent design.
- Rehabilitative Exercises- Everyone is in agreement that exercise is a key component to optimal health. The reality is that the human body requires movement to increase oxygen consumption, increase muscle mass, and the brain actually thrives on exercise as well. Chiropractic adjustments are a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle because they increase movement in the spine. This movement in the spine is called “mechano-reception” which describes positive communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Rehabilitative exercises are especially good because they help to retrain the spine to adapt to the changes made through the corrective chiropractic process.
- Lifestyle Education- Many chiropractors will claim to be experts in “lifestyle modification”. The truth is that many of them are experts in this field of health, which is essentially the process of educating and empowering people to take control over their own health. Mass media has brainwashed the majority of the population through advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods, a sedentary lifestyle, and a disastrous over-utilization of pharmaceuticals to believe that disease happens to “unlucky” people. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. If a person lives a lifestyle that breaks the laws of nature, then they will suffer the consequences. Morgan Spurlock demonstrated this in his film “Super-size Me”, when he ate McDonald’s three times a day for about 24 days. His doctor pleaded with him to stop his experiment because he was literally killing himself with Big Macs and fries. Key components to any health transformation are: modifying one’s lifestyle by eating healthier, exercising, reducing stress, getting proper rest, and correcting ones spine for optimal nerve system function. It has been said by many of the most respected medical doctors in the world, that chiropractors should be the leaders in lifestyle modification.