Choosing a chiropractor

What you should know about …

 Dr. Ira Shapiro of Plaza Chiropractic Center poses with figure skater Michelle Kwan. Dr. Ira Shapiro of Plaza Chiropractic Center poses with figure skater Michelle Kwan. What is a chiropractor?

Chiropractors are well-trained doctors specializing in the structure and function of the spine and joints of the body. Chiropractors receive a doctor of chiropractic degree and their training involves intensive studies of spinal adjusting or manipulation techniques and advanced radiology.

Chiropractic is among the safest of the healing arts. Doctors of Chiropractic represent the nation’s largest drugless, nonsurgical health care profession.

Questions to ask and topics to discuss

First, just like choosing any type of doctor, this is a personal choice. You may wish to start your search by asking friends, coworkers and relatives for recommendations.

Next, set up a consultation with the doctor to make sure he or she is someone you are comfortable talking with. There are many questions you may wish to ask at this time:

Did the chiropractor go to an accredited school? There are certain standards with specific curricula being taught to meet the standards expected and needed in the profession.

Does the doctor regularly attend continuing education seminars? A chiropractor should always know the current methods of care.

What are the chiropractor’s feelings about where chiropractic fits in with other health professions, his responsibilities in performing competent diagnosis of patients ? What experience does he have with patients who have similar problems or symptoms as you? Avoid any chiropractor who sees the chiropractic profession as being opposed to the medical profession or who denies responsibility to diagnose and refer appropriately.

Make sure that the hours of operation fit into your lifestyle. Very often there are several office visits required for certain treatments and you want to be sure you can make the appointments and receive appropriate care.

What are the fees? The office will review the fees for the treatment being recommended, and will discuss your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses. Any doctor whose fees are substantially higher or lower than other chiropractors should raise a warning flag.

What kind of treatment does the chiropractor use? Most chiropractors use adjustment/manipulative treatments. These are used to restore normal joint function, to decrease pain, swelling and muscle spasms as well as to improve range of motion.

Your chiropractic evaluation

You will be required to fill out forms focusing on your problem and past history. Then you will have a private consultation with the doctor. This should be followed by a focused examination that includes a range of orthopedic and neurological tests, and an analysis of your musculoskeletal system. Your doctor may also recommend Xrays or other tests to confirm a specific diagnosis.

The treatment

After your examination is complete, you receive a complete report of findings. The doctor should be able to explain in clear and understandable terms the options of treatment including a plan to see results. You can also expect a re-evaluation to determine your progress. It is also important to stay actively involved in your treatment and rehabilitation.

There are some new technologies in chiropractic care

Cold Laser Therapy (approved by the FDA) is an exciting new advance in the treatment of pain. Laser may be the answer to problems with carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, neck pain and back pain. It has been proven to relieve tingling, muscle weakness and loss of sensation. Low-level laser therapy offers safe, efficient and painless treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions, most notably carpal tunnel syndrome.

Therapeutic lasers work by supplying energy to the body in the form of nonthermal photons of light. When converted to chemical energy, it can be used by the cells to accelerate the normal rate of tissue healing. Cold Laser Therapy is a noninvasive alternative to surgery and is pain free.