How to Spot Red Flags for Shady Chiropractors

Chiropractic Therapy / April 12, 2018
A cartoon illustration depicting a shady chiropractor with a sinister expression, contrasted against a backdrop of a dimly lit and ominous clinic environment.

If you have ever visited a reputable chiropractor, you are probably already aware of just how helpful they can be in treating back pain, among other issues. Appropriate use of spinal manipulation provided by a licensed chiropractor can decrease future problems and improve mobility, strength, and overall wellness.

However, there are chiropractic physicians out there that may not be licensed, or as experienced as they claim to be. Let’s take a look through these 5 red flags to look out for that might indicate you are not in the hands of the right chiropractor.

#1 Scare Tactics

When you visit the chiropractor, typically you are not dealing with a life-or-death situation. There are exceptions to this, of course, but if you are relatively healthy aside from your back problems, chances are your life is not in immediate danger.

If during your initial visit, you get the sense that your chiropractor is trying to scare you into coming back for a second visit, this is normally a red flag that something isn’t right with the practice. The physician may exaggerate your condition or insist you are in need of several visits per week. If your first visit with a doctor leaves you feeling frightened, you should consider a second opinion.

#2 No Treatment Plan

During your initial consultation, you and your chiropractor should develop a chiropractic treatment plan for how your appointments will proceed. Your chiropractor will go over questions such as, what are the signs you are improving? How can you know if you are getting worse? How will they proceed once the symptoms are gone?

When you leave, your doctor should have explained what exactly is wrong, how chiropractic will help, and what to expect at future appointments. If you are left wondering what the plan is, there is a good chance this isn’t the doctor for you.

#3 One and Done

Be wary of any chiropractor who claims that everything can be fixed with a single chiropractic adjustment. If your chiropractor is claiming that you do not need your MD, physical therapist, Psychologist, or OBGYN because they will fix these problems for you, this is normally a red flag.

Good chiropractors know they – just like all doctors – have limits. They should be happy to work as an integrated team, and any practitioner who claims they can fill every role for you probably isn’t the best chiropractor out there.

#4 Short Visits

A good chiropractor should take the time to ask questions about your progress, where your pain is located, and anything else that makes the job easier for both of you. If your doctor is adjusting and rushing you out the door without taking the time to check in on your progress, your care may be suffering.

When you choose a high-volume clinic, your doctor could be seeing up to 50 new patients a day. While the doctors at clinics like these may be fantastic at what they do, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best for you. Look for a chiropractor who has the time to focus on you, and won’t be distracted by the time restraint before he has to see his next patient.

#5 Look For Credentials

This may seem obvious, but it is important that you check to make sure your chiropractor has all of the proper credentials before booking an appointment. These can usually be found online, but if they are not, you can always call and ask to see them. There is never any reason that your doctor should hold back from showing you these.

Credentials to look for include a D.C., or Doctor of Chiropractic certificate. They should also have received Masters or Doctoral Degrees from another accredited college or university before they commenced chiropractic college. Some chiropractic colleges are accredited to offer Masters’s and Ph.D. degrees in related fields, such as nutrition, Oriental medicine, or acupuncture.

It is important to know these warning signs so that you can partner with a provider who will have the same goals as you do when it comes to pain relief and care. If you are still unsure if a chiropractor is right for you, look for a second opinion so that you have peace of mind and confidence to move forward.

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