The Val-U-Pak coupons came in the mail last week; I just throw them in Helen’s IN basket. Today I saw that she had pulled one out and put where I could find it: “5 Tips for choosing the right Chiropractor” – I had to read it.
And now I am compelled to share my thoughts on it with you – no, I am not going to address the marketing dynamics, or the low ball offer, and all that that implies. But let’s just look at the tips and go from there.
Tip #1: Get a thorough consultation – Make sure your doctor truly listens to your problems and concerns. Now who going to argue with that: not me. (Falls under ‘goes without saying’ though I know it may not be what many patients have encountered in the offices that they have visited, chiropractic or otherwise.)
Tip #2: Detailed Computerized Examination – The doctor should provide you with access to the latest technology. Gosh that sounds good on the face of it, doesn’t it? All I can say it think this one through, all the way through. The trouble for patients is that they are way over their head when it comes to this and are ripe for picking for those who with less than stellar ethics.
Tip #3: On-Site X-Ray Facility – see your problems for the most effective care. This presupposes quite a bit. Nowadays it is pretty well recognized that most of the time the problems that we chiropractic doctors are addressing directly are safely and effectively addressed without having to expose the patient to either the radiation risks, or the expense of x-rays. Sometimes we do, then, having an on-site x-ray facility makes sense. The most “effective” care is the care the gets the results both the patient and doctor want in the least amount of time, for the least amount of money, and in the safest way possible. I would put ‘see’, ‘problems’ and ‘most effective’ in quotes and go from there:-)
Tip #4: Report of Clinical Findings – Prior to receiving care, you should know what’s wrong, if they can help, how long the process will take, and how much it will cost. Great ideal, but this promises more that any of us can deliver. First, you should know if the chiropractor believes that you have the problem/condition that chiropractors’ attempt to prevent, correct, or manage and if they think that it is safe to address it in the way that they specifically work. And those, by the way, are the two questions that the doctor is trying to answer in the consult and exam: do they have the problem we fix; and would it be safe to fix it the way we fix things around here? That is the “if they can help” part. But don’t be fooled – it isn’t if they can help. It’s if they think that they can help. We don’t really know if we can help for sure until we try. Which leads to how long the process will take: no one knows! In our office we make the following “promise”: that the patient will feel different in two weeks and better in four weeks. We offer that knowing full well that the vast majority will feel different and better before they get to the door to leave on their first visit. BUT, there is no guarantee! I tell them that’s the promise, and that that way if results come quickly chiropractic is a hero, if not, we are still on schedule weeks into it – it’s a reality check. Patients bring us spinal conditions that have been developing, often pain-free, for years (sometimes decades). They have developed degenerative changes, habits, lifestyles, and other conditions that affect recovery. But we live in a society that expects instant results, so… it’s an attempt to interject the truth about their conditions seriousness and the potential limitations to recovery.
Tip #5: Education – it is critical to be instructed on how to get better faster, stay better longer, and achieve maximum results for less money. Yep. And I dedicated a whole Category of our office Blog to “Be Careful Who You Listen To”. In our office we offer the following basic education to all patients, not all want all of it, some don’t want any; some want some of it, but it is always offered: (a) The problem(subluxation): how it was created, what makes it worse, and what makes it better; (b) Our solution (the adjustment via the Activator Method) to restoring function to the joints; this includes the use of basic back first aid tricks, such as the proper use of ice; (c) how their lifestyle might be the cause of or a contributing factor, and what they might be able to do about it; (d) how to correctly move and use their back, knees, and shoulders (as a minimum) because often their history is that they do not know – and/or it is revealed in our examination – and moving poorly prevents recovery and promotes relapse; (e) exercises that the patient can do at home to promote joint motion in the joints that we had to adjust, so they can go longer between visits. From there, and not before covering that ground, we will go into strengthening, flexibility, balance or coordination exercises addressing whatever is revealed as the weak areas, or according what will help the patient hold their adjustments longer.
So, for $38, you can have a posture analysis (computerized no doubt), consultation, examination and two X-rays, and save $172 – and you can get $10 off a one hour massage to boot! And… well, stop by the office if you want this coupon (it’s first come – first served).
I hope that my comments were helpful to you and that you choose a chiropractor that delivers on all their promises and gives you all the results that you seek. Happy New Year!