If you’re experiencing back pain, choosing the right clinic or chiropractor can be a challenge.
There are plenty of options out there, but how do you know if you’re picking the right one for your circumstances and condition?
Back pain varies in duration and severity and so do the treatment methods required to make you feel better again. Just like any form of health problem, you’ll want to feel confident you’re placing trust in the right people.
Here are four key things to look for when choosing a clinic or chiropractor.
- Look for accreditations and qualifications
In January, we were proud to accept two awards from the Royal College of Chiropractors – the PMQM (Patient Management Quality Mark) and the CMQM (Clinical Management Quality Mark).
Very few clinics hold these awards and it’s even harder to find one that has been awarded both. Considered ‘gold standard’, the PMQM and CMQM are examples of accreditations you should look for when choosing a chiropractor.
Looking beyond chiropractic, depending on the practitioner you choose there isn’t always a legal requirement for healthcare practitioners to have specific qualifications or expertise; personal trainers are a great example of this. Pretty much anyone can call themselves a personal trainer without undertaking any specific training or meeting any legal registration requirement. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good at their jobs, but it does mean that you can’t always rely on professional titles to help you choose.
Chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists are legally regulated and they need to meet specific professional standards in order to be registered.
You may come across sports therapists and acupuncturists who have voluntarily registered with a standards body. That certainly shows some willing on their part but demonstrates why you need to consider the rest of the checks in this blog, alongside the presence of accreditations.
- Find social proof
This term is used a lot in business, but it absolutely applies to the process of choosing a chiropractor.
Every clinic will tell you they’re great – of course they will. But what do their customers say? The more you can find out about a clinic from ‘the horse’s mouth’, the more social proof you’ll have about their claims.
If you can, speak to family members and friends who have used them before, and scour their website for testimonials. It’s also worth jumping onto social media and searching for mentions of their name – people are likely to hit Twitter or leave a Facebook review if they have something particularly good or bad to say about a clinic.
You also have every right to ask the clinic directly for any patient reported outcome measures or satisfaction surveys they may have.
If you’re approaching a clinician, ask if they have any reviews or recommendations from past clients who had issues similar to yours. While their solution for your auntie’s tennis elbow was arguably perfect, it might not be as good a fit for your chronic sciatic pain.
- Check their website and other marketing material
A chiropractor’s website will – or, at least, should – tell you a lot about what they can help you with and how they’ll go about doing so.
The website should be transparent about their approach and the potential costs involved.
If you come across a clinic website that seems to promise the earth and claims that they can address every kind of back pain via their ‘secret’ wonder cure – tread carefully. The same goes if there is no mention of pricing on the website and little detail on the team behind the clinic.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
This is your body, and you have every right to ask as many questions as you see fit before choosing a clinic.
It’s a cliché, but there really is no such thing as a stupid question, either.
Before you book any form of treatment, make sure the clinic will conduct a consultation with you. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you might have. For instance:
- What are the options for managing your specific condition?
- What are the anticipated benefits, timescales, and potential risks?
- What can you do to help manage your condition?
- Is ‘wait and watch’ an appropriate option? I.e. is it likely to get better by itself?
- How many patients has the clinician had and successfully helped with problems similar to your own?
Those who claim to be experts don’t know everything, and the answers to the above questions should be honest and give you a solid reason on whether or not to proceed with treatment.
If you’re concerned about finding the best clinic or chiropractor for your condition, we’d love to help.
Just get in touch with our friendly team today and hit us with as many questions as you like!