Food for Thought - How to Choose a Chiropractor Ten Years Later
Ten years ago I wrote a commentary “How to Choose a Chiropractor.” It has generated as much mail as the other 200 plus articles I have written for Dynamic Chiropractic combined. When it was published, the interest was so high the ‘We Get Letters’ segment in Dynamic Chiropractic devoted 2 consecutive issues to the feedback. Both issues also published many more letters than normal. The second issue ended with a note that alerting readers that the ‘We Get Letters’ section would be returning to other pressing topics (while acknowledging interest and feedback continued to be high.) For those of you who missed it, I confronted the issues that give us a bad name and harm our reputation as conservative health care providers including unnecessary treatment, excessive visits, overuse of x-rays, reluctance to refer, tricks and gimmicks to have current patients who should be released to continue care and/or attract new patients who do not need care. In other words, it was a line in the sand approach to chiropractic’s version of the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud of the 1880’s which I sum up as follows: those who practice to ‘fix your back’ vs. those who practice to ‘get you back.’ As you can imagine, those who practice to ‘get you back’ were very, very unhappy. The vast majority of letters I received back then and continue to get today are from chiropractors. But every now and then a patient will see the article on the web and write. On January 6, 2012, almost 10 years to the day I submitted the article (which appeared in the January 28 2002 issue) I received this email from a person who called herself Lucy:
“Your article "How to Choose a Chiropractor"
is spot on. It validates what I have been saying to mine. But, I really
think he does believe in multiple visits and coming in when things are
fine. He tells me that I "don't trust him." I am very agitated
by hearing that. I just went today and now, as usual, my middle back
hurts. I have been told for years that my sacroiliac joint is rotated.
They keep fixing it but obviously it doesn't stay –– so
why fix it when I have no pain? I am told that I have to keep coming
in to correct things that do not give me a problem. I will now feel
terrible for a few weeks with discomfort walking, standing and just
leaning over to do the dishes. I went there today because there was
a knot in my calf---I told him no neck adjustments and I didn't think
he was going to do my back but he did. He said the nerves in my middle
back are causing the problem in my calf.”
As for Lucy, I told her to forward “How to Choose” to other DC’s in her area with the following subject line: If you agree, I would like to be a new patient. I think she’ll be as surprised as I was when she learns that half of the chiropractors do put the patients’ health before their own wealth.
Copyright 2004-2007, G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN, 916 E. Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821, (714) 990-0824