Choosing a health care provider – whether its a chiropractor, medical doctor, or dentist – for you or your family is never an easy decision. There are many questions that people need to know, such as…
- Does the doctor or chiropractor have a good reputation?
- Do they have good bedside manners?
- Do they have good reviews?
- Do they take health insurance?
- How far is the office from home or work?
- How long is the wait time?
- Is the office clean?
- Is there easy access for disability?
- How knowledgable is their office staff?
- Is there an easy scheduling process, or do the have readily available appointments?
I am sure an entire book can be written on the questions to ask when searching for the ideal doctor. For the purpose of this blog and the fact that we are Doctors of Chiropractic, we would like to discuss some of the ways to know you are choosing the right chiropractor for you.
To start, it is really important to understand what Doctors of Chiropractic do and how to use them to become the strongest and healthiest you can be.
So What Exactly is a Doctor of Chiropractic?
Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in the Spine and Nervous System. The Nervous System is comprised of the brain, spinal cord and all the spinal nerves that branch off the spinal cord. This intricate system is like an electrical highway that carries the energy needed to function from the brain (our control center) to each and every cell, tissue and organ in the body. In order for the body to communicate with the brain, there is another feedback loop. This is another electrical highway that goes from the cell tissue and organ to the brain, using the spinal nerves that travel back towards the spinal cord and upward to the brain. This amazing system control and coordinates each and every aspect of human function.
You want to lift that weight in the gym?
The nervous system communicates with the musculoskeletal system to coordinate that.
You want to digest that food you ate?
The nervous system communicates with the digestive system to coordinate that.
You want your heart to pump blood throughout the body?
The nervous system communicates with the cardiovascular system to achieve that.
You want your lungs to exchange the O2 and CO2 gases to fuel your cells?
Your Nervous System communicates with the pulmonary system to coordinate that.
You want to have a conversation with a friend?
The Brain will integrate the proper neurological pathway to achieve that.
Now, lets discuss how the spine is related to this fascinating system. One important reason that we have a spinal column is to protect the delicate spinal cord and nerves. This is where the value of chiropractic and doctors of chiropractic come into play with regards to your overall health and function. If there is an ideal posture or normal structure of the spine, the nervous system functions at optimum and as a result, YOU function at optimum.
Unfortunately, over time due to daily activities, minor or major accidents and injuries, the structure of our spine can change. This results into a bad posture, creating deformation of the muscle, ligaments and tendons in addition to tension on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves. Consequentially, this will alter that electrical highway from working optimally, causing dysfunction and eventually disease.
In chiropractic, we call this the “safety pin cycle.” A closed safety pin is a simple analogy for how your nerves carry messages from your brain to your body and back in a loop from your body to your brain. The body in proper alignment is functioning with ease, with messages cycling throughout the body optimally. An open safety pin is an analogy of abnormal posture or improper alignment causing dysfunction and dis-ease.
Doctors of Chiropractic understand this connection and use this fundamental knowledge to help patients function at their best. Now, this is where choosing a Chiropractor is so valuable. There are various chiropractic approaches and it’s important to understand them. We like to describe this as “the fork in the road.”
When Chiropractors graduate from their universities, they hit the “real world” and opportunities come their way. Some choose to use chiropractic care as a musculoskeletal pain management approach. They may get into providing care for patients who have been in motor vehicle accidents or have had personal injuries, we call this a PIP (personal injury protection) or PI (personal injury) patients. Some chiropractors may also get into a more musculoskeletal rehab approach, similar to physical therapy, in which they treat their patients for an ailment or injury. Both of these approaches can help the patient with their needs, but it is very different than what we are about to discuss in this blog.
Instead of going down the musculoskeletal pain path, other chiropractors go a different direction in that “fork in the road.” They use chiropractic care as a tool to optimize human function and are providing patients with care to improve overall health and function. They do not focus their care on a symptom or injury. This is where our recommendations for a Chiropractor begins.
How Do You Choose the Best Chiropractor for You?
The answer to this question begins with the goal for care when searching for a Chiropractor. If the goal is to relieve a pain or symptom, a need for care following a car accident or personal injury, and it is less about improving health and well-being, then seeing a Chiropractor that focuses on musculoskeletal pain would be a good choice. If the goal is to improve overall health and well-being, then seeing a Chiropractor that we are about to describe, would be the better option.
Here are our top recommendations for choosing a chiropractor that improves overall health and well being.
1. Choose a Chiropractor that Focuses on Health and Wellness (Less on Symptoms or Injury)
Doctors of Chiropractic that focus on health and wellness tend to provide care based on the common stressors to the body. Those stressors may be physically, metabolically, nutritionally, or even emotionally. It is our recommendation to find a Chiropractor that would address these needs.
- From a physical perspective, a structural/postural corrective chiropractor would be ideal (not based on symptoms).
- From a metabolic or nutritional perspective, someone who has a knowledge of how food and nutrients effect health would be ideal.
- From an emotional perspective, someone that understands that thoughts or emotions can impact health and function would be ideal.
How do you know the chiropractor provides this? A great way to start is to look at their website. A website can tell you a lot about a provider. If they have a great description of who they are, what they do, their clinical goals, provide testimonials or case studies, and are active on social media to educate their patients are all great signs they may be a good chiropractor for you. If they do not have a website or social media presence at all, that can be an indication that they probably are not the ideal chiropractor for you to improve your overall health and well-being.
2. Choose a Chiropractor that Corrects Spinal Structure / Posture
As mentioned earlier, there are different approaches to chiropractic care. Some being more symptomatic or injury based, some being more structure and function based. If the goal is to improve overall health and well-being, then choosing a structure based chiropractor is ideal. Our office, in Cedar Grove NJ, specializes in the leading spinal corrective chiropractic approach. It is called Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP) and the primary focus is to correct spinal posture, with the goal of improving the overall health and function of the patient. It includes a combination of postural corrective adjustments, exercises and stretches to remodel the spinal posture back towards the normal upright posture. Pre and Post X-Ray evaluations are used to monitor progression.
The reason we recommend this is because of the relationship between the spinal posture and nervous system function. There is an undeniable amount of evidence linking the structure of the spine to human health and performance.
Here are just a few of the recent studies linking the effect of posture on health and performance:
If you’re interested in learning more about Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP) click here, or serach for a CBP chiropractor nearest you by clicking here.
3. Choose a Chiropractor That Evaluates Using Spinal X-Rays
This may be a controversial one but, from a diagnostic perspective, X-Rays are essential for properly evaluating the spine. Think about it from a mechanical point of view. If you had a car that wasn’t working and you took it to a mechanic to evaluate the vehicle, wouldn’t it be wise for that mechanic to look under the hood to evaluate the various components of the car? Wouldn’t it also be smart to do a functional evaluation on that vehicle as well?
That is similar to an evaluation on the spine and nervous system. It would be recommended that doctor take spinal X-Rays to visually see the structure and how it may be related to the health or condition of the patient. In addition to using X-Rays, it would also be valuable to provide a functional evaluation to understand how the spine may be impacting the function of the body.
For example, evaluating blood pressure, preferable on both arms, is a great way to differentiate whether a pressure change is due to an underlying nervous system imbalance or a cardiovascular dysfunction. If there is an increase in blood pressure on one side, but not the other, that may indicate more of neurologically-induced blood pressure change. This is based on the brain/nervous system’s effect on the dilation/constriction of blood vessels. There are some neurological imbalances that could cause one side of the body to have more blood vessel constriction, while the other side having a normal vascular tone. This would cause a rise on the blood pressure on the side of vascular constriction and normal blood pressure on the side with normal vascular tone. This is just one way we can use a functional test to get insight into neurological function.
4. Choose a Chiropractor That Educates Patients and Has a Good Online Presence
We cannot deny that today’s world is more digital than ever. This allows almost anyone access to almost everything. This is why it is absolutely imperative that a Chiropractor have some type of online presence. This should be at the minimum, a website, but also include a Facebook page, Instagram page, TikTok and/or YouTube channel.
The reasons why are simple. These platforms, not only share info about the business, but also creates a platform the doctor to educate their patients about what they do, why they do it and why seeing them is valuable. If a Chiropractor has no online presence, it is very telling that they are not focused on educating the community about their business.
As you can see choosing a Chiropractic is more than just “Who is the closest to me” and “Do they take your insurance.” If you have a health goal of improving function and performance, it is wise to do more research on the Chiropractor you choose.
At our office, The Chiropractic Source, we are extremely passionate about our patient experience. That is why we make sure we include all of the above in our patient care. We definitely DO NOT focus our care on symptoms, we will not begin any treatment or care before a detailed evaluation is complete, spinal X-Rays are taken and a detailed care plan is discussed. In addition, we are extremely active on social media and that gives us a huge platform to educate our patients about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. We hope that some of these recommendations are helpful for you.