10 Vital Questions to ask a potential Chiropractor before becoming their patient:

1. Do you address the entire structure including the skull?
Many Chiropractors will make a specialty on one area or another and claim that this is the most important area to address above all others. The truth is, they're all important - all areas must be addressed and re-addressed throughout the treatment, as needed. The structure of the body is entirely connected and one area corrected by the Chiropractor adjusting it, will then cause another area to change. Ask the Chiropractor if they are practicing a full, whole body, integrative method which doesn't forget or neglect the Skull as part of whole body structural correction.

2. How do you assess for where to treat the body?
Some Chiropractors will use radiology (X-ray imaging) as their primary mode of assessment. X-ray imaging is often necessary to rule out diseases that the Chiropractor should know about before treating a patient. However, it has its downside when using it to assess for where to treat. An X-ray image represents an instant in time and if the spine is a dynamically changing thing (as in the process of structural correction), then the treatments that are done, won't always be the accurate ones needed, as the spine changes. Make sure that your Chiropractor uses a method of treatment assessment that does not rely on one moment in time - specially if they claim to do Structural Correction.

3. Is your method of assessment highly consistent from Doctor to Doctor?
This might be a tougher question for the prospective Chiropractor to answer since he may not realize or know if it is. So you may need to judge for yourself. There are many methods out there which give findings that may seem accurate, but are actually quite subjective (prone to test as the doctor wants it to test). Find out if what their assessment method is based on, and if it makes sense to you, then continue with them. The assessment method(s) are extremely important because this is the thing giving your doctor direction on what to address.

4. Do you actively educate patients on proper set ups for proper posture at work, in the car, and at home?
By actively educating patients, I mean:
a. Checking all your shoes to see if any of them would slow your progress down. Then also, fixing them up, simply and economically (not expensive orthotics!).
b. Demonstrating on your own body on how to set up your pillow height on your bed at home with towels.
c. Going out to your car to see how the seat can be adjusted to give you optimal comfort and maximum gain from the treatments.
This is personalized attention on posture habits which make all the difference.

5. Have you studied, practiced, and gotten personalized mentoring in your particular method of Chiropractic for enough time to become an expert in it?
This can vary from method to method. Some methods require less of a learning curve and some more. Nonetheless, you'll want at least a mildly seasoned veteran at it, and has seen many different types of cases and knows how to handle each one. You'll just have to get a feel for the answer that they give you. Confidence can make a good impression, but ask about the various successes that they have actually had with it. Then follow up with your own situation specifics and see what they say about you.

6. Do you know the limitations and potential pitfalls of your method of treatment, and how to correct things, as they happen during treatment?
There is no perfect method. Some are simple, and some more complicated. There are now over 86 distinctly different and official forms of Chiropractic - many are surprised to hear that because they are familiar with the uniformity of the Medical profession. All Chiropractic is unified though, in the fact that we move bones back into place. Be sure that they know their method well enough to correct what things are caused during treatments. Regardless of the type, if there is no re-checking of one's work as you do it, then you have a method that is equal to 'reaching around in the dark' and then hoping you get what you want. Because Chiropractic manipulation involves physical force, there are some unintended results that can occur as well as the intended. Your future Chiropractor must be able to quickly pick these up and correct them during the treatment. A good analogy that I like to use on this concept is ironing a shirt. You wouldn't just iron both sides and then not check the original side again, would you? You may have caused another crease, but the careful ironer, or Chiropractor, will have a method which makes sure that you are fully done when they say you are.
And a really good method should have you breather deeper and stander taller at the end of each treatment. Be sure to ask if this is a typical result, every time.

7. Can you back up your spinal correction claims with anatomical and biomechanical concepts which are easy to explain and understand?
I'm sorry but "bone out of place" is not what I'm talking about here. A Chiropractor who only thinks in this basic concept is thinking on a technician level - too simple, and it will not produce professional expert results. It is not just a "bone out of place" - it is a dynamic interaction of bones corrected, to bones as-of-yet-uncorrected.
I've always stated that Chiropractors should be the civil engineers of the body with the same reproducible and consistent results as a civil engineer has in let's say, building a bridge. But that doesn't mean it should be confusing either. A civil engineer with good communication skills could explain to a child, why there are foundations and cables and why they are placed in a certain position and why it's important that they are made of strong enough materials. So too, should there be a Chiropractic method that is researched and "solid" enough to invoke confidence in a consumer (you, the future patient), but still be easily explained.
By getting into a conversation with your future Chiropractor, you'll quickly investigate past all the usual mantra and see if there is substance to their method of practice.

8. Are you going to tell me that I will need your treatments for the rest of my life?
Many of my patients that have seen Chiro's in the past, talk about Chiropractic as being something that they "believe in" and they always will see their Chiropractor, for the rest of their life. To their shock, I respond, "I don't believe in Chiropractic, I do it. And Chiropractic should have some kind of end-result."
Chiropractic is not a belief system. Would you call a Civil Engineer or his work a subject of belief?
It is a technological subject, just like my particular method of Chiropractic. And like-wise, if you build a bridge, do you have to keep building it or does it stay built. However, spines do have the difference in that they are not made of metal and have moving parts, but there should be a stability gained that is better than requiring a lifestyle of constant Chiropractic.
Of course, limitations on this spinal stability include the factor of degeneration or disease - if it has gone too far, it may not be easy to maintain a stability. Additionally, gained spinal stability assumes that one does not get into another accident or injury during and following the program, and follows the posture education given.
Once spinal re-alignment and re-shaping is done, your spine will be much more stable and able to endure much more physical stress before you need another treatment. Maintenance treatments shouldn't be looked forward to because of 'needing relief' (very often the case with patients which haven't received real structural correction), but with the purpose being to keep their spines stable and relatively injury proof from the normal, regular physical stresses of life.

9. Do you ever push directly down on patient's spines?
The most commonly known and iconic treatment is the "push down" on top of the spine toward the floor while the patient is faced downwards on a treatment table. This can be a short term relieving procedure, sometimes very great. Unfortunately, research has shown that this, in the long term, causes a reduction in spinal stability and reduction in the ability to stand upright (that is, slumped). It should never be done, by anyone. This is probably the most controversial point in this article because so many of us have had this done by a Chiropractor, and it is quite prevalent in the field. If your potential Chiropractor does this as a regular part of their routine in treatment, then ask them not to do it. If they insist, find a Chiropractor who doesn't.

10. Are your treatments the same every visit, in the same places, in a small amount of time?
This is old-time Chiropractic and gets down to the simplicity of bone-out-of-place idea as mentioned earlier. There are also "modern" Chiropractic methods which use many X-ray images and extravagant devices to do this. Both of these above do not take into account the various changes that can take place between treatments, let alone during a treatment.
If you want to spend your time and money wisely, use these for relief care if you so choose, but I would also like to advise you to utilize a more truly corrective form of Chiropractic for long term relief and stability.

Ask these questions, and you'll know that you've found your Chiropractor!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to respond to this if you are on Facebook. I welcome comments, ideas, realizations, or questions.
Dr Dan Riesling

Dr. Dan Riesling is a practicing Chiropractor in Palm Harbor who treats mechanical sources of pain by eliminating the wound-up condition with an effective and predictable form of Chiropractic.

He thoroughly educates his patients in the Do's and Don'ts of good posture.

The doctor is available to schedule his popular lecture "Secrets to Good Posture that Your Mother Never Revealed" to groups of 5 or more. For qualified companies, Dr. Riesling will not charge his usual fee for this extremely useful workshop on posture and productivity in the workplace.

Contact his Clinic today at 727-430-2665.
© 2014 Dr Dan Riesling - Clearwater, Fl