How Do I Select a Doctor of Chiropractic?

When you are in pain, it is easy to think that any chiropractor will do. However, they are not all equal. In fact, the chiropractor who worked well for your friend may not be right for you. Finding the right doctor is always a very personal task that takes time and research, especially if you are looking for a specialist, like a chiropractor. You need more than just a doctor, but someone with whom you feel you can really communicate.

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Plan to dedicate some time to your search. To find a chiropractor who is likely to meet your unique needs, you are going to need to ask questions and get an idea of how they work. With many different techniques and options, you need to identify who has the treatment methods that will likely work best for you.

Why Your Choice Matters

Initially, you may think that any chiropractor is fine. However, you should take the time to research and question each doctor of chiropractic that you are considering. The field of chiropractic is unlike any other field in the medical profession, largely because they have a much wider range of treatment options. All chiropractors follow a certain approach, but there are far more acceptable methods and treatment options for chiropractors.

With an estimated 100 methods, you are looking into a field where the treatments can be incredibly different. Even if you are experiencing severe pain, you want to take the time to find someone who will listen to you and will help resolve the root problem, not just treat the symptoms.

Do Your Research

If you know someone who goes to a chiropractor, you can get their opinion of their doctor. You can also ask your general practitioner doctor for recommendations. However, you should take the time to research any chiropractor before you call to set up an appointment. Word of mouth or recommendations tend to be better indicators as the people have practical experience. The problem is that they may also have a bias.

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Here are the steps to take at this stage of the process:

  1. Jot down a list of chiropractors you are considering. You can also print out a page if you have a site that lists all of the doctors in your area.
  2. Check the ratings that a chiropractor has received from patients. Keep in mind that no one is going to have a perfect record, and some patients are going to be difficult. One or two bad reviews should not be a deal breaker (unless they are the only reviews).
  3. Visit each chiropractor’s website to see what their particular skill sets are. You may find that there is a chiropractor who specializes in the kind of problem you are having, such as from an injury or from long hours sitting at a desk.
  4. Prepare a list of questions for each chiropractor you think is a good fit for your needs. Develop the questions for the information in the following sections based on your unique situation.

Once you finish this stage, you will need to set aside time to talk to the chiropractors still on your list.

Request a Consultation

If they offer free consultations, you should try to make time to talk to them one-on-one in person. This will give you not only answers to your questions, but an idea of the doctor’s personality and how well you can work together. If the doctor does not offer a free consultation, then put them at the bottom of the list. If a doctor does not put aside a little time to talk, even over the phone, it may be an indication that they will not have much time for you as a patient.

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Make sure to have your list of questions prepared and ready before your first discussion. You can change it based on discussions, but you don’t want to miss critical questions. Take notes as the doctor answers your questions so that you can compare the answers later. This means either taking in a laptop or notepad (if the consultation is in person) or having a hands-free headset (if the consultation is over the phone).

Desirable Qualities in Your Chiropractor

Though what you need in a chiropractor differs from everyone else, there are some things that are universal. Here are the things to look for and to keep in mind as you talk to the different chiropractors.

  1. The reason why you are seeking treatment from a chiropractor is a key factor in helping you determine which is the right one for you. Things like stress and long durations of sitting at a desk have an adverse effect on your health, including your spine. If you have an injury from sports or other activities, the treatment is likely to be very different. Asking the doctor specifically about this should be your starting point. You won’t necessarily rule them out if they don’t specialize in your particular problem, but it does indicate that they may not be the best suited to treating you.
  2. Find out what they charge. If a chiropractor requires you to commit to a certain number of visits even before treatment has started, you probably should remove them from your list. There is no definitive way to know how long treatments will take before they have started. By requiring a certain number of visits prior to treating you, a chiropractor is indicating that they are more interested in having a steady income from you than in helping resolve your problem. Even if they don’t require a certain number of visits to start treatments, you want to know their rate.
  3. Do find out how long they expect it to take. This is not the same as being required to return for treatments. However, you do want a rough timeline for how long it could take to reduce pain or eliminate the problem.
  4. Find out how they work with other doctors. Your chosen chiropractor should be willing to collaborate with your primary care physician, as well as being willing to work with other specialists you may need.
  5. Ask about their goals and focus. A good chiropractor will try to resolve the problem. A great chiropractor will work to give you better overall health so that you don’t have the problem again later.

The way you feel about the chiropractor also plays a role in who you chose. If you did not feel like you communicated well with any of the chiropractors, that is an indication that you will have trouble with them later. If you felt the doctor wasn’t entirely honest, you should probably remove them from the list. Even if they are honest, your opinion and impression of them are important for having a healthy working relationship to help you.


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Choosing a chiropractor is a very personal task. Beyond having the right qualifications, they need to know how to treat the root cause for your problem. Considering the many ways a back can be injured or pain can start, there are many right paths. The important thing is finding the right solution for your individual needs.

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About Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab ( in Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief. Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.