I have only been in practice for a couple years, but some of my patients have reported that they’ve had a bad experience seeing a chiropractor.
Some common themes that arise are the long term treatment plans, sending them for x-rays despite a lack of pain or injury, short treatment visits, no exercises or ways to prevent future injury and probably most commonly “they only cracked my back”.
There are good stories, too! But the point I’m trying to make is that for some, their experience with chiropractors hasn’t always been stellar. The good news, is that much has changed in the health sciences, including chiropractic care.
There is a new breed of chiropractors, and there are many advances in health science, all helping to dispel myths in the healthcare landscape. My goal in all of this to continue to build strong relationships with other healthcare providers and provide better patient care.
Historically, chiropractors have been viewed as the go-to person if you’re experiencing low back pain or neck pain. However, throughout their additional four years of post graduate (after university) studies chiropractic students spend an enormous amount of time studying the entire musculoskeletal system and are equipped with the know how to provide evidence informed treatment, rehab and recommendations for even the most obscure aches and pains.
Don’t hesitate to ask about that swollen toe or pinchy shoulder the next time you see your chiropractor.
These days new grads are being trained in a variety of techniques to improve quality of care and better suit patient preferences. So yes, you may get an adjustment, or “manipulated” as we say in the field, but you will also get any number or combination of other treatment types such as:
- Taping: athletic tape or kinesiotaping
- Soft tissue therapy: comes in many types and techniques
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy: Graston, Cupping, etc.
- Electric modalities: Shockwave, Ultrasound are what we offer
- Exercises: for you to perform in clinic or at home
- Education/recommendations on how to reduce aggravation and prevent future injury
- Nutrition and supplementation advice to help reduce inflammation, improve injury healing or reach better health
Based on the plethora of treatment options, it is not uncommon for them to see you for 15, 20, 30 and even up to 60 minutes at a time. Of course the cost of the visit will increase with an increase in time but it is important to consider that you are investing in one of the most important assets: your own health and wellbeing.
I always tend to laugh with my first time patients who tell me, immediately upon meeting them, that they: “don’t want their such-and-such area of their body cracked”. The reason I find this humorous is because at this point I haven’t even started a history or physical exam and therefore have no idea whether they are a candidate for manipulation.
While it is a safe and very effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions, there are risks that need ruling out before someone can be considered for manipulation. Now more than ever new chiropractors are taking great care in picking and choosing what treatment they’ll receive after taking a thorough history, performing a detailed physical exam and considering risks and benefits of on a case by case basis.
On that note, new chiropractors are increasingly consulting the research to help guide their treatment planning decisions. We are trained to practice evidence based medicine. This means that treatment decisions hinge on three factors:
- Best current evidence
- Patient preference/expectation
- Clinical experience and expertise.
In accordance with evidence informed care, it is becoming a thing of the past to send out patients for x-rays in the absence of suspected disease or pathology, mechanism of injury or in the very least, pain. Through this model chiropractors are working to build stronger relationships with other healthcare providers and improve patient care.
In closing, it is clear that the chiropractic profession is moving in the right direction. By subscribing to an evidence informed practice model, providing a multimodal treatment plan, and keeping the patient at the centre of our care, we can avoid making mistakes and continue to grow as health science grows.