Over the decades, many people have claimed they have been helped by chiropractic care. Both medical research and the testimonies of the patients themselves attest to the benefits of chiropractic treatments. Yet sadly, there have been some controversies lately regarding a few people who claim to be specialists of this medical modality. It comes as no surprise when you hear news of healthcare practices being infiltrated by quacks and self-proclaimed experts – to the detriment of legitimate and licensed medical professionals – and chiropractors are not an exception.
It is, therefore, understandable for patients to be wary of their safety. After all, it is their spine (a very important organ of the nervous system) that we are talking about here. Yet, if you know that chiropractic adjustments will help provide treatment for a condition that is ailing you (such as back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, sciatica, myofacial pain, herniated disc, and pain related to degenerative disorders), it is wise to keep a close study when searching and selecting the chiropractor or chiropractic clinic that is safe and right for you.
There are a lot of useful information both online and offline which can help you in your probe and choice for a chiropractic practitioner, particularly if you are new to this modality. Researching and reading all those guidelines can be quite overwhelming and time consuming, so we took the liberty of summing up the important points and criteria when doing your search.
Your Doctor’s Referral
While the easiest way to get info or referral is from the recommendations of family and friends who have undergone chiropractic, what better person to provide such referral than your primary care physician or general practitioner. Being in the medical profession allows him or her to have a network of connections to other medical specialists – which may include chiropractic practitioners. Besides, it is a norm for physicians to refer their patients to other health carers of a different specialisation if the conditions require it and/or upon the request of the patient.
Scholastic Record and Years of Actual Practice
Chiropractors are required to undergo years of study and training before they are given a license to practice. In Australia, it takes a 5-year course to get a degree in chiropractic, and since it is a field under medical science, chiropractic education is a continuing process. It would be good to check on such certifications when doing your investigation.
How long has the chiropractor been doing adjustments is also an important factor. Of course, the chiro with the most years of experience gets the highest consideration.
Professional Accreditation and Specialisation
As with other healthcare professionals in Australia, practitioners of chiropractic are under the watch of AHPRA or Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, while registration and accreditation are handled by the Chiropractic Board of Australia. There is also an organisation which represents Australian chiropractors, and this is the CAA or Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. You may want to check out their website when looking for an accredited chiropractor.
Another significant thing to note is that chiropractors also have their special areas of interest, and you may what to examine your own state when selecting the appropriate chiro. Examples of such areas of interest or specialisation can be paediatric, sports, rehabilitation, pregnancy, and neurology.
A chiropractor who is affiliated with a hospital is most likely a good sign that his or her practice is well attested, as his or her reputation is carried by the name of the hospital – similar to the referral done by your primary care doctor.
However, you should also take into account the hospital’s own reputation among the populace. This can give you an idea of how reputable and competent is your prospective chiropractor.
History of Complaints, Complications, or Malpractice
It is a given that a chiropractor with the most years of experience is much preferable. Yet, it is also worthwhile to note any history of complaints from his or her patients, complications that aroused from his/her treatments, and a record of malpractice. They will surely give you the signal on whether to continue with your search or finally decide whom to entrust your spine with.
Although there is the availability of social media and online forums, testimonials and client feedbacks online are prohibited when it comes to healthcare practices. In such a case, you are left to source out this info from hear-say or word-of-mouth. The thing is, it is better to have those than none at all.
Your Health Insurance Coverage
Does your healthcare insurance cover chiropractic? If so, then you are in luck. You can contact you health insurance provider and request for their list of accredited chiropractors and chiropractic clinics. As with hospital affiliations and referrals by doctors, your health insurance’s reputation is carried by their accredited chiro practitioners and clinics.
Do not be shy to ask questions and interview the chiropractor. You can also talk to the staff of the clinic. The more communication you do, the more confidence you build with the chiropractor. It is also the opportunity for the practitioner to be honest and open with you on how to best proceed with the assessments and treatments.
Andrews, K. DC (12 August 2013) “How To Select The Best Chiropractor.” Spine Health. Retrieved from www.spine-health.com
CAAVIC. “Choosing your chiropractor.” Chiropractors’ Association of Australia [VIC]. Retrieved from www.caavic.asn.au
Lewis, S. PharmD (14 June 2015) “8 Tips for Choosing a Chiropractor.” HealthGrades. Retrieved from www.healthgrades.com
Perle, M.S. DC, MS (2 June 2016) “What Disorders Do Chiropractors Treat?” SpineUniverse. Retrieved from www.spineuniverse.com
CAA. (13 September 2016) “Chiropractic qualifications.” Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. Retrieved from chiropractors.asn.au
Image c/o JJ Georges (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons