Chiropractic care has come a long way since its creator Daniel Palmer gave the first adjustment to a partially deaf janitor in 1895. Today, chiropractors are well-respected doctors who perform more than just adjustments of the spine. After you have surgery and discuss plans for recovery, your Santa Monica spine surgeon may recommend seeing a chiropractor. These medical professionals also apply many different therapeutic techniques and help patients boost overall health and wellness. As is the case when choosing a primary care physician or specialist, there are certain things you’ll want to look for when choosing a chiropractor.
Chiropractors are classified as Doctors of Chiropractic (DC). The education requirements for chiropractors are similar to what’s required for medical doctors. The main difference is that chiropractors spend more time studying the biomechanics of the human body, adjustment techniques, and natural medicine. With credentials, look for:
- Any reports of actions taken against a DC by a state examination board
- Special certifications such as sports medicine, orthopedics, or nutrition
- Whether the DC has credentials in a specialty specific to your needs
DCs must be licensed in any state where they practice. Requirements for licensure typically include completion of clinical competency and state board exams as well as completion of continuing education courses. Visit the website for the Board of Chiropractic Examiners to confirm that any chiropractor you’re considering has an up-to-date license.
Consider how much experience a chiropractor has with chiropractic care. Pay attention to years in practice (or years at the current practice if he or she has practiced elsewhere), the specific techniques he or she normally uses during sessions, and experience with treating patients with your specific condition or source of pain.
Most reputable chiropractors allow patients to schedule an initial session to get an idea of whether or not they want to continue treatment. Another option is to schedule a separate appointment to ask questions and get a feel for the doctor’s personality. With comfort, also consider whether the chiropractor:
- Fully answers your questions or comes off as annoyed that you’re asking so many
- Explains things in a way that’s understandable to you
- Follows best practices and practice guidelines established by the International Chiropractors Association (ICA)
- Tries to get you to sign up for ongoing treatment before you’ve had your initial session
Most chiropractors have an office staff that handle things like setting up appointments. These are the people you will likely be speaking with when you arrive for sessions, get set up in the exam room, or need to get ahold of the doctor between sessions. With a chiropractor’s staff and procedures, consider factors such as:
- How friendly they are during your initial visit
- Overall appearance of the office and exam rooms
- Whether or not it’s easy to reach the doctor when calling after your first visit
- Billing procedures, payment options, and what insurance is accepted
After you’ve selected a chiropractor you feel comfortable with, get the most out of your sessions by actively participating in them. The feedback patients provide helps chiropractors know how much pressure to apply and where to focus efforts with treatments. Keep in mind chiropractic care is often a collaborative effort that includes input from a primary physician, so you won’t be making a choice between doing what your physician recommends and what a chiropractor suggests.
Many patients see chiropractors after undergoing a spinal procedure, whether they had traditional fusion surgery or vertebroplasty surgery. Santa Monica patients who need relief from their chronic pain should reach out to The Spine Institute. Call 310-828-7757 today and take the first steps toward living a pain-free life.