A Personal decision
If you prefer a hands-on approach to healthcare that promotes healing without medications or surgery, chiropractic care may be the prescription for you. Your chiropractor is your partner in spine, muscle and joint health. You depend on your chiropractor’s knowledge and expertise to help you stay healthy or recover from an injury or spine condition. How do you find the best chiropractor who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.
1. Get Referrals
Start by asking your primary care doctor for a referral list of chiropractors. You can also ask family, friends and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the chiropractors’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. As you narrow down your list, call each chiropractor’s office to see if he or she is accepting new patients. If so, ask for an appointment to meet and interview the chiropractor.
2. Research the Chiropractor’s Credentials
Licensure is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing a chiropractor. It tells you that the chiropractor has the necessary training, skills and experience to provide chiropractic care. Also confirm that the chiropractor has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the chiropractor’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.
3. Consider the Chiropractor’s Experience
Experience matters when you’re facing musculoskeletal or spine health issues. The more experience a chiropractor has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the chiropractor has treated. If you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the chiropractor has performed and find out about complication rates—complications the chiropractor has encountered as well as your own risk of complications.
4. Consider Gender
It’s important to feel comfortable with your chiropractor’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to chiropractic care, your own gender is also an important consideration. Chiropractors are becoming more skilled in caring for women and men differently. Ask the chiropractor about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.
5. Ask About Telehealth Capabilities
Healthcare providers can diagnose and treat some patients using telecommunications technology, including two-way video, smartphones, and email; it’s called telehealth. Ask if the doctor offers telehealth capabilities. Telehealth doesn’t replace hands-on in-person office visits, but for many patients, it means fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Some conditions can be managed by sending symptoms and vital signs you collect at home and having a “virtual visit” with your provider. Telehealth can also be used for routine follow-ups and minor complaints too, making it a convenient option. Check to make sure your health insurance will pay for telehealth services.
6. Evaluate Communication Style
Choose a chiropractor with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the chiropractor, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? Find a chiropractor who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.
7. Read Patient Reviews
Reading what other people have to say about a chiropractor can provide insight into how the chiropractor provides care, as well as how his or her practice is operated. Patient reviews typically reflect people’s experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn how well patients trust the chiropractor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.
8. Know What Your Insurance Covers
Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose a chiropractor who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you select a chiropractor from your plan.
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