How to find the best chiropractor for your needs

Bloomington, Indiana is a college town. This means many of our patients are only in Bloomington while they or their loved one is studying or working at IU.  Dr. Karin created this page to help our patients who are moving away find the best chiropractor for their specific conditions and preferences in their new home town.

First, to find the best chiropractor for you, ask your friends and family for referrals. Who is their favorite chiropractor? The internet is a good place to find out more about a chiropractor, but it is not the best place to choose one. Anyone can look good online and post fake testimonials. Try to use sites like www.yelp.com where people can post good and bad reviews without the business owners cherry-picking only the good reviews. This will increase the likelihood of getting legitimate evaluations. But just because a chiropractor is a good fit for someone, does not mean they are the best chiropractor for you. The following questions should help you find the best chiropractor for you.

Questions to ask when calling a chiropractic office:

1. Do they accept your insurance?
If you have insurance, it would be beneficial to find a chiropractor that can bill it for you. If they accept your insurance, you often will get the benefit of reduced fees. Here, at Drummond Chiropractic, we have a billing office to handle most insurance needs. We also do electronic charts and billing, which speeds up the process.

2.Do they treat during the same day as the initial visit?
Not all chiropractors treat on the same day. Some will have you return the following day so they can have more time to prepare of report of findings. Here, at Drummond Chiropractic, we streamlined the process, so usually treat a new patient on the day of their first visit.

3. Do they require x-rays for the first visit?
Some chiropractors require x-rays before any treatment. Medical x-rays are to rule out fractures, tumors and other boney conditions. They do not show anything functional. Here, at Drummond Chiropractic, we use a detailed history and exam to determine if an x-ray is medically necessary. We often can treat with out the cost of an x-ray.

4. How long does the chiropractor typically spend with the patient?
Some chiropractors have assistants to help get patients in the room, use palliative therapies until the chiropractor shows up for a quick adjustment. Here, at Drummond Chiropractic, the chiropractor uses the time to ask more questions, does the myofascial work to help the treatment last longer. Our chiropractors spend a good 10-20 minutes with each patient, and more if need be.

5. What chiropractic university did the chiropractor graduate from?
There are many chiropractic universities. If you like your current chiropractor, you may want to have a chiropractor that graduated from the same university as your favorite chiropractor. Our doctors graduated from Logan University and University of Western States.

6. What type of chiropractic do they do?
There are many types of chiropractic adjustments. Some involve a high-velocity, short-lever arm thrust (quick and shallow thrust) to a bone to decompress a joint. Some involve a tool that applies this force more gently (for those who are more feeble). Some involve tables that drop, flex or traction. If you have experience with chiropractic, and know the techniques you prefer, make sure the chiropractor has the tools and experience needed to accommodate your preferences. Here, at Drummond Chiropractic, we have a diverse range of tools, and match the treatments to the patients needs.

7. Do they treat your condition?
The best chiropractor for you is one that specializes in treating your condition. Most chiropractors are neck and back specialists. Here, at Drummond Chiropractic, we have a pediatric specialist, a pregnancy specialist, a sports injury specialist, IBS specialist, whiplash specialist, a headache specialist, a jaw specialist, foot specialist and a chiropractor with over 20 years of experience.

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Once you make your appointment and meet your new chiropractor, to help determine if they are the best chiropractor for you, here are some things to think about during your visit with them.

Does the Chiropractor Really Listen To Me?

Sadly, many in the medical field are in it for the wrong reason, or their reasons do not match your needs. To find the best chiropractor, you need to find a chiropractor who has a passion for helping their patients. One indicator of this is how well they listen to their patients during an appointment. Most proper diagnoses come from taking an accurate history and getting a complete description of the current symptoms. Most physical examination, imaging, and laboratory work is performed to verify the diagnosis, not to find the problem.

Unfortunately, many chiropractors get burned out because of the fiasco that is the current political and insurance landscape. They are forced to see more people in less time and are required to complete more paperwork and coding of a patient’s symptoms. Eventually, many practitioners end up shutting down emotionally, closing off their humanity in order to survive everything that’s expected of them.

Chiropractors are people too, but you should not place the chiropractor’s needs above your own when seeking treatment. The best chiropractor is one whom you like on a personal level and who genuinely seems to care for you. This will positively affect your healing.

Does the Chiropractor Give Me The Time I Need?

Understand that more time does not necessarily mean a greater quality of care. If the practitioner is efficient and very good, they will not need as much time, but you should feel like you are receiving their full attention and a full treatment when you are with them. You should feel that you got what you needed. Here at Drummond Chiropractic, we always end our treatments by asking our patients if we took care of everything, or if they need something else. This assures us that we covered what they came in for, and if we didn’t, this gives the patient the opportunity to express their needs.

Sometimes we just need a few minutes to treat a patient; other times we end up spending a whole hour. It makes scheduling tough, but the rare times our patients have to wait, they know it wasn’t because we overbooked but because someone needed more time. Our patients appreciate that we give extra time if needed, and they recognize that someday it may be they who need that extra time.

Can the Chiropractor Help Me? How Many Treatments Will It Take? How Much Will It Cost?

Ask the chiropractor at the beginning whether your aliment is something they understand, have experience with, and have had success treating. What do they think your prognosis is? Will they be able to treat you within a reasonable budget?

If the treatment is costly, maybe you can find a less costly fix while still maintaining the quality of care. Costlier does not necessarily mean higher quality care. Beware, however, that you sometimes get what you pay for. Do not shortchange the quality of your healthcare to the point of negatively affecting your health. 

If the chiropractor does not think you have a good prognosis, don’t waste your time or money on them! If your prognosis is bad, that is simply an opinion of someone who has not routinely seen success with your ailment. Find a different chiropractor, one who has had success with your ailment, so they can give you a better prognosis.

For example, I have had patients who were told by several practitioners that they would never be able to turn their head fully left or right ever again because they had worn a neck collar for months after having broken bones in their neck. When you stabilize joints, such as by wearing a collar, you prevent movement. Like the old saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Accordingly, when their doctors had them finally remove the collar, they ended up with an immobile, very stiff neck. Many of these post-neck-fracture patients completed a course of physical therapy, which helped loosen up the neck somewhat by stretching the muscles. Even so, these patients were still severely limited by the immobilized joints in the neck.

Some of these patients were told by their medical doctors never to try chiropractic. I find it interesting that a medical doctor who is not trained in a technique like chiropractic feels qualified to restrict a patient from choosing that treatment option. I would never tell a patient that they should not take a medicine; that is not in my scope of practice. With that said, I have had many allopathic doctors suggest chiropractic to their patients.

I have also had patients who were told by another chiropractor that they could not get an adjustment because they had a history of having a broken neck and their joint planes were no longer normal (because their bones healed aberrantly). 

Thankfully, all of these people had friends or family members who knew me. Their friends or family members told them that they should at least consult with me, if for no other reason to get my opinion. I need only a few minutes to examine the neck to tell if I can help them or if I need to refer them to a specialist.

The bonus of seeing a chiropractor is that even if your condition can’t be helped by manual therapy, we can offer advice on alternative treatments like herbs, better nutrition, and other self-care options specific to your condition. In these ways, chiropractors supplement your medical care (if not negate your need for additional care).

If people are going to spend their health dollars on a treatment, that treatment should have a favorable outcome. To help determine whether progress is being made, measurements should be taken incrementally during the course of the treatments to show objectively whether the patient is responding favorably. If there is no measurable improvement partway through the treatment, then the condition needs to be reexamined. You may be getting treatment for the wrong condition. You cannot keep doing the same treatment and expect a different result.

I have had multiple patients come see me after their previous chiropractor failed to make them feel better after dozens of treatments. I was glad these patients were willing to suspend blame on the tool of chiropractic. With my chiropractic skills, I was able to help them feel better after just a few treatments. The rare times I cannot help a patient, I direct them to health practitioners who can.

It is important to find a practitioner who is willing and able to be your partner in obtaining optimal health. That practitioner should know their limitations and whether the treatment options for you go beyond their abilities. If they are not willing to be your partner, they are unlikely to help you reach optimal health. When a practitioner reaches their limitation in being able to help you, that is their limitation, not necessarily your limitation on being able to get well. 

Think of all the aliments that used to be considered untreatable. They were not truly untreatable, but instead were outside the abilities of medical care at the time. These same ailments are treatable today because of the increase in medical knowledge. Unfortunately, we healthcare providers may not know the treatment you need, even if a treatment is currently available for you.

It reminds me of the old joke, “Do you know what they call the person who graduated at the bottom of his class at medical school? Doctor.” Just because one doctor or one type of healthcare practitioner cannot help you solve your problem does not mean your problem is unsolvable.

Is the Chiropractor Open to You Seeing Other Health Care Practitioners?

I always welcome other practitioners’ views on my patients’ wellness. Not just from specialists in other fields, but from other chiropractors as well. Everyone brings something unique to the table, and sometimes new eyes bring new perspectives. I have a dozen patients who see other chiropractors for treatments I do not offer or because the other chiropractor is more convenient (closer to their work or home); these patients see me only when their treatments are not helping as expected and they need another opinion. Some patients simply like to have a relationship with multiple chiropractors so they are more likely to be seen in a timely manner.

I encourage all of my patients to see a variety of other health practitioners (medical doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc.). At a minimum, these other practitioners confirm my diagnosis and treatments. If they do not confirm it, then it prompts me to reexamine the problem more deeply. This can provide a learning experience for me and further confirmation for the patient. Or the patient may have two different opinions and more information to bring to a third practitioner to find the root of the problem. In either case, the collaboration is more helpful than the Lone Ranger approach.

I cannot tell you how many times patients have come to me after seeing several doctors, each of whom gave the patient a different diagnosis. I examine the patient and review what has already been done so I can help them determine the root cause and they can figure out their next step toward wellness.

I have had health practitioners tell their patients not to see other practitioners. I have had several patients who were told by their physical therapists not to see me because seeing both a chiropractor and physical therapist was “the same thing” and that it would be “fraudulent” to bill insurance for two of the same treatments. I believe this is a sign of the other practitioner’s own insecurities, not a sign of a practitioner who has your best interests at heart. 

You have the right to see as many healing professionals as you need to in order to get to the core of your condition. Each type of practitioner (and maybe even each individual practitioner) will have their own individual technique to offer. If nothing else, they can help verify that you are receiving the right kind of treatment.

If you receive satisfactory answers to the first four questions, then after seeing the provider over time, ask yourself the following questions:

Is the Chiropractor Actually Helping Me?

Do their treatments hurt? Some therapists have a “no pain, no gain” mentality, resulting in treatments that may be more painful than they need to be.

If you feel like your healthcare provider (be it massage or physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, or any other practitioner) is hurting you, even if they are not, your belief that they are hurting you will impair your healing. This phenomenon is called “the negative placebo effect.”

I always tell my patients to listen to their instincts. If what I do or say does not jive with them, they should tell me. Their instinct always trumps my recommendation or technique. It just means we have to find another technique that works for them, both physically and mentally. You cannot separate the two.

Many of my patients say that, for such a small female, I give a mighty adjustment and dig deep with my soft-tissue work. But many patients receive ultra-gentle care from me. I cater my treatment to the patient’s needs and limitations. I am not going to adjust a construction worker the same way I would an elderly lady with osteopenia.

There are times where I am pressing on tender muscles, but I aim to produce good pain. My patients understand that it may hurt in the moment, but the body knows it is a good hurt and a productive movement toward wellness. I never want to cause bad pain. That, to me, is a pressure that causes more harm than good, such as bruising healthy tissues. I aim to mobilize joints, not strain them.

This is where the art of practice comes into play. Anyone can move a joint, but not everyone can move it safely and well in a manner that that patient is comfortable with. That is why such practices take years of education and require licensure.

If you have had a rough chiropractic experience, I hope you recognize that it was the practitioner and not the tool that caused your negative experience. Now that you have a better understanding of chiropractic, I encourage you to give it a second chance.

Is the Chiropractor Living Up To My Expectations?

At your first appointment, a chiropractor should give you a rough timeline of when you should start seeing results, how likely you will recover, and to what degree. If you are not seeing the results as expected, get another opinion. Do not be afraid to seek more than one healer’s advice to validate the root cause of your pain.

When a patient isn’t seeing results as expected, it can be due to the provider not treating you completely or a misdiagnosis resulting in the wrong treatment being prescribed.

My least favorite thing is when a patient comes in with what I call a “garbage can diagnosis,” which is basically a fancy combination of Latin words that describe their symptoms but not any underlying causes or conditions. Then, armed with this “diagnosis,” a medical doctor will generally attempt to cover up the patient’s symptoms with drugs. It is relatively easy to do, and everyone is happy at the cessation of symptoms. But the long-term cost of this approach is immeasurable: The patient’s health will continue to deteriorate over time because no one is addressing the root of the problem. 

To make matters worse, the effectiveness of any medicine decreases over time as the body learns to break it down. This reduced effectiveness results in having to increase the dose over time. Sadly, the patient is trained to blame this problem on the fact that they are aging. No! The patient needs to learn what the root of the problem is so they can properly treat it and so their body can start healing over time instead of worsening.

I love my job. Every day I get to watch people transform from the belief that their health was naturally going to worsen with time to a place where their lives and abilities actually improve over time. I have many patients who are healthier in their forties and fifties than they were in their twenties and thirties.

Does Every Visit Have The Same Treatment?

The first few visits may be the same if you are in acute pain. But as you improve, your treatments should evolve as you improve. If you are in pain, you should transition from passive, palliative treatments, like gentle mobilization and electrical muscle stimulation, to more active care, like muscle strengthening and self-care management. Your practitioner should give you instructions on how to strengthen your weak and injured muscles and stretch your tight and spastic protective muscles in between your chiropractic visits. 

Chiropractic, when mapped out for your specific needs (versus a cookie-cutter format), will shorten your pathway to wellness.

Remember, we chiropractors are your servants.  We work for you.  If you are getting no help or help that seems wrong, fire that chiropractor and find your best chiropractor. 

You do not need to be in pain! Know that you can get well! You simply need the right plan with the best chiropractic team.  Good luck finding your best chiropractor!!!

Best,

Dr. Karin Drummond
Drummond Chiropractic, LLC
Your Downtown Bloomington Chiropractor
565 North Walnut Street.
Bloomington, Indiana 47404

(812)336-2423

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