Chiropractic services can be a great supplement to your regular health care. Many patients with musculoskeletal pain, acute and chronic, seek out treatment from these professionals. Often, it comes at the recommendation of their primary care physicians.
The problem is finding the right one for you! When searching for a local chiropractor, Indianapolis has a lot to choose from, but we’re here to guide you through your choice.
What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a clinician that has attended and graduated from a Doctor of Chiropractic program. It is a four-year advanced degree steeped in the study of biology, physiology, anatomy, client care, and hands-on treatments.
The type of care that a chiropractor will provide is called “adjustments”, also known as manipulations, to all parts of the body, mainly the spine. The general goal of this care is to correct poor alignment and aid in pain reduction.
It is typically a portion of a total care program and will supplement other forms of treatment like the following:
- Modalities like heat, ice, or ultrasound
- Exercise therapy to improve strength and stability
- Stretching to gain flexibility
- Posture training to improve functional alignment
Chiropractic treatment may be exclusive or a part of a more expansive treatment program, depending on the patient’s needs.
What to look for in a Chiropractor
Searching for the best chiropractor can feel daunting, but some helpful tips will make sure you find the right fit for you!
First off, narrow down your search by asking for recommendations from friends, family, and your medical doctor. When people you know have had a great experience, it can be a good starting point for your hunt.
Don’t feel like you have to stick to these recommendations though. If you come across a chiropractor that you’re interested in, go for it. Besides finding an expert in the field, you are also looking for someone you can develop a good rapport with.
Check for reviews
Once you have a list of potential care providers, time to dig a little deeper. You can visit the clinic websites or Google pages to scan through patient reviews and testimonials. Pay attention to mentions of the features that might be important to you.
Some suggestions of things to look for in reviews include:
- Clinician friendliness and professionalism
- Clinic atmosphere and cleanliness
- Scheduling flexibility
- Quality of care provided
Hopefully, you like what you read and this narrows down your search further. Some clinicians may also have a specialty, like chronic pain, low back pain, or sports injuries. If you feel like your condition needs a more trained eye than the general expert, investigate for these qualities as well.
Check for credentials
You can verify a chiropractor’s license by visiting the website of the state’s governing body for the profession. In Indiana, you will be able to search directly from the licensing website.
Enter in the information that you know and you will be provided with the license number, status, and current clinic location for the said chiropractor. It’s highly unlikely that a practicing health care professional isn’t current on their license, but this is an optional step that can provide you with more details.
The website of the clinic where the clinician works can be a helpful place to find background information, personal treatment styles, specialties, and more for each provider. A well-tended website will have updated photos and you can tell a lot from a person by their smile!
Aside from pearly-whites, you’ll also find extra information like their certifications and credentials. Even reading about their educational background and hobbies can help you find a person that you will be able to connect with.
What to look for in a clinic
Another valuable way to find the right chiropractor for you will be to understand what each clinic offers. Chiropractic clinics are incredibly varied and diverse. Think about the type of care you are seeking while you explore clinic options. If it’s purely chiropractic manipulation, most clinics will be able to meet these needs.
However, other clinics like ours have much more to offer, like acupuncture, cryotherapy, flotation, and IV therapy. You might be eager to try one of the above-mentioned treatments, and you can discuss with your medical doctor the modalities that may benefit you the most. Feel free to call the clinic to ask how these treatments are typically incorporated in chiropractic care programs.
As far as the clinic itself goes, you’ll want to find one with a friendly and helpful staff, a nice waiting room, and a high standard of cleanliness.
On a clinic’s website, you’ll be able to find any awards they’ve won and descriptions of the types of patients they serve. Like, if a Colts player uses this clinic, you know it’s probably good. Look for the following accolades on a clinic website:
- Service awards
- Best chiropractor award
- Best care awards
The awards that a clinic or practitioner has received speak worlds about the type of care that you can expect.
If you’re social media savvy, also browse through the clinic’s presence on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This can be a great way to get a look at how the clinic operates, the personalities of providers and how involved the business is in interacting with customers.
Review the extensions of your health insurance coverage plan. You should be able to search through your healthcare system online portal to find if any of the chiropractors on your list will accept your insurance.
The easiest route is to attend a clinic that you know is connected to your insurance. However, it isn’t the end of the road if your ideal clinic isn’t covered. Many clinics will accept out-of-network referrals or pocket payments.
The type of care you receive is important. If you have found the best clinic for you, there’s no need to settle for second best if you can avoid it.
Your First Visit
You’ve finally settled on the chiropractor you want to try out. They check all your boxes and you’re ready to schedule your first appointment. But the search isn’t quite over yet! All the prep work and searching have been done, but what truly matters is your experience.
When you attend a clinic for treatment, make your assessments to compare to those testimonials you read and received from friends. A few important things to take notice of while you are at your first visit:
- The general mood of the clinic staff
- How well you get along with your chiropractor
- The professionalism of the providers
- The knowledge base and expertise of your clinician
Your initial visit will typically include an examination and initial treatment. This will last about an hour and give you a really good idea of what to expect for the remainder of your care. During this visit, your chiropractor will discuss what the plan of care is going forward.
Considering this plan, make sure it meets the following standards:
- Includes your requests for types of treatment, as long as the chiropractor agrees it will be beneficial
- Is specific to your condition
- Meets your needs
- Has a clear end goal, like less pain, more mobility, better posture, etc.
The plan of care should make sense to you and your chiropractor should give you a good idea of the types of results that are expected in a certain amount of time. For instance, after 6 weeks of treatment, your pain should be 50% lower and you’ll be able to return to playing golf. That goal has got to be measurable and valuable to you.
You can ask your chiropractor what the plan might be if you don’t meet those goals. It should be an easy question for your provider and allow them to discuss alternative treatments and continuation of care options.
A chiropractor can seem perfect online, but you might find that you aren’t a good match after your first visit. If this is the case, know that you can always request a different referral from your medical doctor.
Most likely, with all the care you put into researching the right provider for you, you’re going to be very pleased with your choice! Remember, a treatment program is a collaboration. Meaning, it’s important that you uphold your end of the deal and complete any home exercises or directives issued to you. Have patience in the process! You might not see results after only a few visits. Especially if you’re dealing with chronic pain, it can take a while for things to get better.
The path to finding the right chiropractor doesn’t have to be an arduous one. Start with gathering those recommendations and go from there. Good clinic websites will provide you with a lot of information about the clinic you’re looking at. Finding the best chiropractor for you is all about locating someone with a great combination of excellent care and a personality that pairs well with your own. Good luck with your search and happy healing!