Here’s what I think you should look for in a healthcare provider:
- Not all chiropractors are the same. If your goal is to relieve pain or prevent injury you want a chiropractor who specializes in joint, muscle and nerve function and alignment rather than the use of chiropractic care to treat non-musculoskeletal illnesses and diseases.
- Choose a provider who orders X-rays or imaging only when indicated rather than automatically ordering x-rays for all patients.
- Confirm that you’ll receive individualized treatment vs a standard treatment protocol applied to all patients.
- Make sure your chiropractor matches the duration of care with the extent of your pain and injury. Unless you have a chronic pain diagnosis, short, effective treatment plans are usually better (and less expensive) than long-term treatment plans with no endpoint.
- Look for someone with a demonstrated willingness to refer to other medical providers, both inside and outside their practice, when helpful. You don’t want someone who insists on only chiropractic care.
- You should expect to receive a complete health history, physical exam and diagnosis, not immediate treatment without a complete assessment. As I said above, however, x-rays may or may not be necessary.
- You should receive one-on-one attention from your physical therapist.
- Make sure that you can get the same PT every time, if that’s important to you. Alternatively, you should be able to get more appointment flexibility if you’re willing to be treated by other staff members. Either way, it should be your choice.
- Look for the privacy option that you prefer — for example, a private treatment room, a semi-private area, or an open environment.
- Make sure your therapist has experience in treating your specific type of pain or injury. General experience in other types of problems is no substitute.
- Your physical therapist should have access to all standard equipment — thermal/heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, etc.
- Look for a physical therapist who uses hands-on mobilization, soft tissue and fascia techniques, not just largely unsupervised exercises and application of ice or heat.
Pain Management Doctor
- Look for an office that engages in small acts of kindness vs “just a number” bureaucracy and hassles.
- Choose a pain management specialist who will listen to you with compassion rather than someone who assumes that patients always exaggerate pain, seek drugs or attention, etc.
- Look for a pain management physician who offers comprehensive treatment options vs specializing in just a single type of technique.
- Look for a specialist who emphasizes minimally-invasive techniques rather than surgery or prescription drugs.
- You want someone who works collaboratively with physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other specialists like neurologists and rheumatologists, not a go-it-alone approach that limits the help offered to patients.
- Look for an acupuncturist experienced in treating musculoskeletal pain and injury as well as other illnesses and disease.
- You want someone experienced in working with chronic pain like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome vs less specialized experience
- It’s important to find someone who’s knowledgeable about vitamins and herbs, but they should emphasize patient care and not just the sale of herbs or nutritional supplements.
- Your provider should be fully attentive to any and all of your concerns. If they’re uncommunicative or dismissive, or seem to be using a one-size-fits-all treatment approach, keep looking.
Here at Randolph PRWC we also offer a free community resource for Morris County, our “Pain Navigation” service. If you’re trying to figure out what kind of specialist you need to see, just give me a call. I’ll be happy to chat with you, even if the best answer is a provider who’s not part of our practice here.