How Many Times Should I Have To See My Chiropractor?

This is a question that I get all the time. The answer is; I don’t know yet, come on in and I’ll examine you. Every person is different, and so is every injury. The text books will give an average recovery rate for each particular injury, and even treatment recommendations. The problem with those is that they are not specific to a case.

Most people who ask this are concerned about cost, or have heard that once you visit a chiropractor you have to keep going the rest of your life. To allay fears, I always say that I will set up a treatment plan with them, so that they can decide how many visits they are going to use. I examine them and present my findings, and recommend treatment. I then ask them if this seems reasonable to them. If they are hesitant then I recommend a 2 week trial. If at that point I am not getting any results then I need to do something else anyway. If we are getting results, I present my findings, and try again to set a treatment plan with them.

I also base my treatment on goals rather than numbers of visits. For example we set the goal to get the pain to centralize. When we reach that goal we will change our visit frequency. As soon as they reach their ultimate goal I re-examine, see if the patient has additional goals that they want to achieve through chiropractic, if not, I release them from care.

My patients usual goals are to get back to life as quickly as possible. For some anxious patients, they may not even complete the full treatment plan. They do this at their own risk, but they feel that they can get the rest of the way better on their own. For the chronic condition patients they may be treating the rest of their life just to cope with symptoms. There are other patients still who want performance or maintenance care. These are looking for a bit extra from their care. They may not even be hurting, but know that their life/game is better with regular care.

Simply put, if you think a doctor is recommending excessive visits, ask him about it. If you are still concerned ask for a second opinion. You are never required to keep going to a chiropractor. If you think you are being bullied or scared into unnecessary care then you have legal recourse. No doctor should ever try to get you to come more often than he believes is needed. If you pay in advance. The doctor should refund any unused portion of your payment. Here in Utah it is a part of our ethics code.

3 thoughts on “How Many Times Should I Have To See My Chiropractor?

  1. Pingback: What to Expect at a Chiropractic Visit « Chiropractic Discussions

  2. Matthew Shevlin

    After not seeing a chiropractor for 6 years I went to one just to get an adjustment and I have insurance for it and the doctor did not do any xrays
    and kept asking me if I had any pain and I said no just felt a little stuck. He said insurance will pay for 3 days a week for three weeks. I called him and left a message with him asking him to call me back and he did not but his assistant did asking me if I wanted to make an appointment. What do you think about his actions?? Thankyou

    1. cmnacnud Post author

      Without knowing the diagnosis or your response to treatment I can’t comment on his recommended 9 visit treatment plan. I would say that he could improve by spending more time with his new patients to be sure they feel like their questions are resolved. That is just the right thing to do in my opinion. Taking X-rays is not always clinically justifiable, and though I’d love to see an X-ray on every patient, it’s just not always needed.

      When it comes to treatment I honestly don’t care how much the insurance says they’ll pay for. I base my treatment recommendations on standard of care and a patients response to care. In other words if you have a diagnosis that the book says will take 4-6 weeks to recover from then I will inform you of that, then set up treatment for a 2 week trial of care. After that trial I do a brief re exam or at least evaluation of your response to treatment then set up the next phases. If there are money issues or difficulty in finances for the patient we’ll discuss their options separately. It doesn’t change what I would recommend, but does sometimes change what they will do. I also try to call each new patient personally. If you had more questions than I could answer over the phone in a reasonable time I might have my assistant schedule you for an appointment or at least a block of time that I could sit down with you.


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