Resources and Strategies

The Evidence-Informed Chiropractor


How to Choose a Chiropractor


Like medical doctors, most chiropractors are highly-skilled, patient-focused health care providers. Given that the public understanding of chiropractic training and methods is often minimal, I have provided a list of elements or characteristics to look for and some to use as indicators of potential caution. These are personal opinion lists and do not represent any college or political organization guidelines.

Check-Off List of What to Look For in a Chiropractor


Do They Ask You Questions?

  • Asks questions to screen for serious (referable) conditions
  • Asks questions about past treatment for your condition, in particular, past chiropractic treatment methods
  • Asks detalied questions about your complaint(s)
Do They Explain?
  • Uses an Informed Consent (A form that indicates the benefits and risks of chiropractic care)
  • Provides a report of findings indicating what he/she feels is your diagnosis
  • Explains a treatment plan that includes types of treatment, length and frequency of care, and outlines a 1-2-week plan that requires a re-evaluation and determination of improvement
  • How exercise, as part of your management, may help with your specific problem and, in addition, overall health
Are They Concerned About Your General Health and Wellness?
  • Evaluates and makes recommendations regarding conservative options to reduce blood pressure, reduce weight, smoking cessation, and a healthy lifestyle

What to Be Cautious About When Choosing a Chiropractor


Not So Interested in Your Pain or Other Problem(s)?

  • More interested in external measures of treatment success rather than an improvement in your symptoms (examples: your leg-length measurement "your legs are even so you are improving" or x-ray improvement of your spinal alignment; "your x-rays look better that is what is important not how you feel")
Does Not Communicate About Risks and Benefits?
  • Does not use an Informed Consent (form explaining benefits and risks of chiropractic care)
Treatment is Open-Ended (No Opinion About When You Should See Improvement or How Much You Should Improve) or Treatment Schedule Predetermined as Long-Term?
  • Does not give an end-point for your care or goals for your improvement
  • Tells you that if you are not treated chiropractically you will have life-long disability or pain
  • Uses the same treatment plan for all patients. For example, 3 times per week for 3-4 weeks followed by 2 times per week for another 3-4 weeks, followed by extended care for another month or so
  • Tries to enlist you in a contract for yearly care or NOOP (no-out-of-pocket payments)
Is Not Up-To-Date On Literature (Current Scientific) Recommendations?
  • Does not include exercise as part of your management
  • Does not direct you to more active-care (e.g. avoid bed-rest and attempt movement that is uncomfortable) but relies entirely on what they do to you not what you can do for yourself
Explains that the expensive equipment that is used on you is FDA approved.
  • Fails to mention that the FDA approval is simply for safety; not effectiveness
Might Be Interested in an Alternative Revenue Stream (Another Way to Make Money)?
  • Your nutritional supplement bill is higher than your treatment bill
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