Monday, October 5, 2009

Chiropractor myth #2` (3-5 to come)

If I see a chiropractor I have to see one for the rest of my life.

     I was meeting with a friend a while back and she was telling me about her back problem. She said “I should come see you it’s really bothering me.” “Sure” I replied. Then I seen hesitation on her face and she said “I am worried though....I don’t want to have to get my spine realigned for the rest of my life.” I started to laugh until I quickly realized she was serious. My friend was actually under some misinformed information that when you go see a chiropractor you have to see one for the rest of your life.

        Before I continue I have to let it be known every single patient and every single chiropractor is different. The specialty and philosophy of professionals differ all the time. It’s important as a patient you realize the difference between being pressured to do something and being strongly informed on what’s the best for your well being.

       Sometimes patients forget they hold the power and option to get a second opinion. However, sometimes this is difficult considering the long wait to see a specialist or surgeon. The beauty of conservative health care though is the quickness of a second opinion.  I ask patients to exercise this right all the time. In fact, I am not even offended if a patient visits another chiropractor to get a second opinion based on my diagnosis.  After all I don’t know everything. Few alternative health care professionals refer to one another and I think this is a shame. I know chiropractors that have a specialty in certain injuries, sports and even certain body areas. Why would I not send my patient to one of these people for assistance? Furthermore, maybe this other chiropractor has access to certain modalities or is trained in techniques which better fit the needs of this patient.
         You do not HAVE to see your chiropractor for the rest of your life. You never HAVE to do anything. You have the right to a second opinion and to be informed of your alternatives in treatment. If a patient may benefit from surgery it’s my professional obligation to let them know of this option or at least instruct them to seek out a surgical consult.I have patients that come once and some that are frequent visitors. A patient’s treatment plan may differ depending on their injury, their goals or even their availability. Let’s look at some examples     
     The one time only patient can often be one whose injury is not within my professional scope. For example a patient which discovers they have cancer. This is not within my scope of practice and this person needs an oncologist or another health professional. Another one time visit can be those just wanting a second opinion. These patients are often the best patients. They respect your opinion and are really just concerned they may have something serious. Sometimes reassurance is all these patients need.  
           Another scenario is the patient that is a frequent visitor. This patient can be an athlete that keeps getting bumps and bruises along the way. This is fairly reasonable considering all professional sport teams have a full time health care staff.  Another example may be an expecting mother whose body is experiencing pains she has never felt before. Other examples include those with an occupation which creates chronic postural problems.
            One more scenario which I have not dealt a great deal with but have seen before is those people with lifelong disabilities. Some people who have conditions such as multiple sclerosis, scoliosis, cerebral palsy, arthritis, neurological conditions or post surgery issues. Often these patients may report great results with continuous visits to their local chiropractor. They may have consistent pain, need long term rehabilitation, balance training or just simply attempt to prevent their symptoms from worsening.
            So as you can see there are many different scenarios in the average chiropractic office. It’s important to ask yourself what are your goals and more importantly communicate them with your chiropractor. Do you just want the pain to go away, do you want to make sure this never happens again, do you want to get muscle work on chronic problems or do you just want a second opinion. Remember no matter what the reason always assess your options, ask questions and be proactive. After’s your body. Dr. Wayne Button BSc DC  Chiropractor Myth # 1 Myth # 3

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