How to choose a chiropractor, or warning signs that you need a new chiropractor:
- Silly marketing gimmicks. There are a variety of gimmicks designed to procure you as a patient.
A common one is advertisements for a "free" massage. What is something "free" worth? Nothing. All this chiropractor
wants to do is get you into their office, so he/she can "sell" you treatment. Also, beware telephone solicitation from
a chiropractor or an "advocacy group" recommending you see Dr. ___. These are also marketing ploys to get you into their
- Excessive visits. Depending on the nature, severity, and extent of your problem, after 1 to 4 weeks,
your pain should be reduced by 40-50% after beginning treatment. Beware of any chiropractor who recommends 3, 6, or
12 months of treatment based on your 1st or 2nd visit. If you are not getting better, your chiropractor should recommend
a referral to another health care professional. Too often, I talk to people who have been treating with their chiropractor
2-3 times per week for nearly a year, and still feel no better. When asked why they keep going, they say "because Dr.
___ says I have to". Any chiropractor who does this is not acting in the patient's best interest. They only see
the patient as a revenue source.
- Excessive x-rays. Beware of any chiropractor who uses x-rays for any reason other than to rule out a
fracture, dislocation, or bone disease. If you present to your chiropractor with neck pain, he/she should not perform
x-rays of your whole spine. X-rays should be taken if: you have sustained a recent traumatic injury and are in considerable
pain; your history and examination indicate bone disease such as arthritis; you have long standing pain in an area that has
not responded with care. No one is perfectly symmetrical, and no one's spine is perfectly straight and balanced.
If you are pain-free and your chiropractor wants to continue treatment because of what an x-ray shows, get a second opinion
before continuing care.
- Excessive supplementation. Chiropractors take many nutrition classes in their training. Beware
any chiropractor who says his/her vitamins are the only ones that work. Beware any chiropractor that wants to sell you
large amounts of supplements without referring you to a retailer or health food store for comparable products.
- Unwillingness to work with other professionals. If you are not getting relief, you should not have
to ask for a referral. Your chiropractor should have already recommended one for you.
- Treating areas that don't hurt. When you are treated, three things can happen. You get better,
you get worse, or you stay the same. If you feel good, only two things can occur - you stay the same or you get worse.
If you go to a chiropractor with lower back pain, he/she should not manipulate your neck unless you have a neck problem.
There is no evidence that performing neck manipulation can help your lower back and vice versa. If your chiropractor
insists on manipulating areas that don't hurt, get a second opinion.
Ask Dr. Schmutz
- I've heard that once you go to a chiropractor, you have to go for the rest of your life. Is this true? Not
at all. Depending on your area of injury and severity, your individualized treatment plan could vary from 1 or 2 visits
to a few weeks of care. Your progress will be monitored regularly, and once you have reached a level of full, pain-free
function or maximum improvement, Dr. Schmutz will release you from care, usually with specific home care instructions to help
you to take care of yourself. If you have future problems, you are free to return.
- Do you work with other doctors? Yes. Dr. Schmutz has a variety of physicians, including orthopedic
surgeons, neurologists, podiatrists, and internists that he will refer you to should the need arise. If you are not
making significant progress with our care, and he feels that you could benefit from other treatment, he has no problem referring
you out. His primary goal is to get you well again, even if that means sending you to another doctor.
- Do you prescribe medication? No. As a chiropractor, Dr. Schmutz does not prescribe medications,
as this is outside his scope of practice. But, if he feels you would benefit from prescription medication in order to
speed the healing process, the necessary referral will be made. Dr. Schmutz does use some nutritional products which
he may consider using in your treatment.