How to choose a chiropractor

Dealing with severe back or neck pain? Read on to find out more.

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  • If you have experienced severe back or neck pain, you know it changes your quality of life in a very real, very negative way. It makes simple activities like walking and standing difficult, as well as any activity that requires physical effort. Back pain can even make it difficult to breathe.

  • If you're experiencing such pain, the first step to getting back to normal is to choose a chiropractor. A good place to start is by asking those you trust — friends, family members or another medical professional, such as your family physician — for recommendations. Once you have done that, ask your new chiropractor the following questions to ensure he or she is the best choice for you:

  • Can chiropractic techniques be used to treat conditions not related to the spine?

  • You don't want a chiropractor who claims they can treat everything from the common cold to cancer with chiropractic medicine. There's not much suggesting that chiropractic techniques are a viable treatment for any condition unrelated to the spine.

  • As the New England Journal of Medicine puts it:

  • "That spinal manipulation is somewhat effective symptomatic therapy for some patients with acute low back pain is, I believe, no longer in dispute, but there appears to be little evidence to support the value of spinal manipulation for non-musculoskeletal conditions."

  • Do you prefer certain techniques over others?

  • Some chiropractors prefer a gentle technique that gradually eases the pain away - others prefer a forceful technique that may be more uncomfortable, but is believed to produce more immediate relief.

  • If you've gone through chiropractic treatment before and know you prefer one technique over the other, a chiropractor should respect your decision, even if they don't completely agree. The chiropractor may be the expert in this situation, but it's still yourspine.

  • How long do you estimate treatment will take?

  • If you're in pain, you naturally want it to end as soon as possible.

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  • It takes one to four weeks for a chiropractic treatment to reduce the majority of a client's pain. But the amount of time it will take for you varies, of course, depending on your specific condition - that's why it's important to ask.

  • What are the side effects?

  • Common side effects following a chiropractic treatment include dizziness, headaches, fatigue and short-term discomfort in the area that was worked on.

  • But again, there may be more you need to know, depending on your particular condition.

  • What can I do to supplement treatment?

  • In addition to the treatment itself, the chiropractor will likely recommend that you adjust your lifestyle to help treat your neck or back pain.

  • Typically, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help (as long as the exercise isn't too strenuous), and other methods, such as heating pads and electrical stimulation, may help as well.

  • Once you have the answers to these questions, you're prepared to make an informed decision on whom is the best chiropractor for you, and will be one step closer to recovery.

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