How to choose a Chiropractor

Occasionally a friend or patient asks me for a recommendation of a Chiropractor in another part of the country. If I don’t know anyone in that area, I have to rely on certain clues to help them choose the best chiropractor I can. I’ve even used these tips to find a Chiropractor for myself once when I was on vacation and hurting.
Here are 7 tips on what I look for in a Chiropractic Physician, in no particular order.

In most cases, a Chiropractor will need to see imaging of the area he/she is going to treat. This is important, not only to assist in diagnosing the problem, but also to rule out fractures, tumors, foreign objects, or other reasons why spinal manipulation might be contraindicated. Usually x-rays are taken by the Chiropractor as part of the exam, but x-rays or MRI copies received from other providers can also be used. Sometimes a Chiropractor can call a previous chiropractor and obtain the necessary information over the phone (commonly done when patients are visiting from out of town). If a chiropractor made no effort to obtain imaging prior to adjustment, I would look for a different doctor.

Everyone is different. Although your Chiropractor may be able to guess how many adjustments will be required to get you out of pain, he doesn’t know for sure. To insist on a set number of treatments, paid in advance, is a practice I view with much skepticism, as does the American Chiropractic Association.

Often during an adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint, there will be a release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved. Not all adjustments result in a sound, but when they do, it is a normal and completely healthy result. If I saw a chiropractor advertise “no popping or cracking”, I would wonder if he/she were actually performing adjustments….and keep looking.

Lots of treatment options can only be a good thing, but a Chiropractor who relies solely on tools and machines to adjust may not be as well rounded as the ideal Chiropractor I would be looking for.

While not a deal-breaker, when I see that a Chiropractor belongs to the national professional organization for Chiropractors, the American Chiropractic Association, I see a doctor who cares about his profession, stays current with developments in the field, and respects his own professionalism.

Occasionally I hear of fellow D.C.s who only adjust certain vertebrae, or who refuse to utilize therapy for philosophical reasons. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own practice, but this would not be the Chiropractor I would choose for myself. Why unnecessarily limit the ways you can help your patient?

It is common for critics of the chiropractic profession to site examples of chiropractors who claim that they can cure everything – from allergies to cancer. Personally, I have rarely seen this type of overreach in real life. However, if you do…avoid that person.

If you are in or near Greenville, South Carolina, we hope you will choose Dr. Brown as your chiropractor, and if you are reading this from farther away, we hope these tips will help you find chiropractic care that will resolve your pain and be a great experience.
Dr. Jeff W. Brown