Being in practice for almost 14 years you see a lot of things. Sometimes it’s the rare things that stand out but more often it’s the repetition of certain behaviors. Today I’d like to discuss a few of the most common patient mistakes I see regularly.
- Waiting for acute pain before coming in for a visit. Most people don’t wait until they need a root canal before visiting a dentist, they go in for regular checkups to prevent problems from beginning. But when it comes to the spine, far too many patients believe they must run it into the ground before addressing it. Your spine absorbs pressure daily and letting it go too long will cause problems. A regular checkup provides numerous health benefits in addition to keeping you out of these episodes of pain.
- Not following up after an initial visit. I cannot tell you how many times I will adjust a patient for the first time, tell them to return for a follow up within a week and then not see them for months. Once they return, I usually hear how great they felt and how well they did in the days following the adjustment and then how it slowly came back over months. Many of the problems that patients see me for began over a period of weeks, months or even years. When you experience immediate improvements, but symptoms return it is your body providing feedback that your problem can be fixed but it may take some time. When you gain weight, it won’t come off in a day, if you took years to create a spinal issue it won’t be fixed in a visit.
- Thinking all chiropractors are the same. I had a patient this week that had been under chiropractic care off an on for years. I evaluated him and did what I would consider a basic, hands on adjustment. He was amazed at what I did and raved about it to everyone in my waiting room (we never hate that!). The reality is that it was not anything fancy or elaborate but his previous chiropractor used a different method and my treatment was different. It’s not that mine are better but not every chiropractor or technique is the same and some may be more effective for you than others.
- Not wanting a thorough assessment before treatment. My office is on a busy road and from time to time we’ll get someone that stops in asking to “get their back cracked.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting the satisfying feeling of an adjustment but before that happens you really do want a solid evaluation. Properly evaluating an issue can save you time, visits and money and get you feeling great far faster. My evaluation process is thorough but not time-consuming and involves a great history, physical exam and x-rays in-office if necessary. A few extra minutes to find the true cause of an issue is invaluable in the short and long term.
- Not playing a part in your own health. I love helping people, it’s one of the reasons I do what I do. However, an adjustment is not a cure-all for your health. When people visit a dentist, they understand that brushing and flossing between appointments will help them maintain their treatments. However, when it comes to chiropractic, people often expect one adjustment to last them forever and solve all their issues. An adjustment can absolutely help but you need to care for yourself when you’re not here getting adjusted as well. Stretching, exercising, eating better, improving postural habits, etc. are all examples of this. When you take an active role in your own health the treatments you receive will only magnify in effectiveness.