Choosing a great chiropractor

Choosing a chiropractor can be difficult because the majority of chiropractors are involved in unscientific practices [1,2]. If you do decide to consult one, begin with a telephone interview during which you explore the chiropractor’s attitudes and practice patterns.

Positive Signs

Try to find a chiropractor whose practice is limited to conservative treatment of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. Ask your medical doctor for the names of any who fit this description and appear to be trustworthy.

Membership in the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapists (CAMT) is a very good sign, but the number of chiropractors who belong to this group is small. CAMT’s “orthopractic guidelines” describe a science-based approach to manipulative therapy.

In addition to manual manipulation or stretching of tight muscles or joints, science-based chiropractors commonly use heat or ice packs, ultrasound treatment, and other modalities similar to those of physical therapists. They may also recommend a home exercise program. For most conditions that chiropractic care can help, significant improvement should occur within a few visits.

Negative Signs

Avoid chiropractors who advertise about “danger signals that indicate the need for chiropractic care,” make claims about curing diseases, try to get patients to sign contracts for lengthy treatment, promote regular “preventive” adjustments, use scare tactics, or disparage scientific medical treatment or preventive measures such as immunization or fluoridation.

Avoid chiropractors who purport to diagnose or treat “subluxations,” who have waiting room literature promoting “nerve interference” as an underlying cause of disease, or who post charts or distribute literature suggesting that chiropractic might help nearly every type of health problem.

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