I feel bad for patients that are in pain and are looking for the right health care practitioner for them, because it can be difficult to decide between a chiropractor, physiotherapist, manual osteopath, kinesiologist, etc. Are they all the same? How do you know which ones are good and which ones to avoid? In reality, every practitioner is different and has their own unique way of assessing and treating patients. When it comes to manual therapy and hands-on care, there is a lot of overlap between the different professions. What’s important to remember is that if you want an evidence-based healthcare provider, then the profession does not matter. The evidence does not have any preference or bias for a certain profession. The evidence doesn’t care if they are a chiropractor, physiotherapist or medical doctor. Evidence is evidence.
- That being said, I’ve made a list of things to AVOID when choosing a healthcare provider that should help narrow down your choice as a patient:
- They DON’T take a full history of your health
- Does NOT communicate the risks or benefits of your treatment plan
- Uses FEAR mongering to scare you into an excessively long or endless treatment planDoes the SAME treatment for every single patient
- Does NOT care about your pain or complaint and uses some arbitrary external measure of treatment success (such as lines on a thermal scan or “alignment” on an x-ray)
- Does NOT encourage exercise or active involvement in your care, and wants you to completely rely on them for your health
- Wants to x-ray EVERY single patient that walks through their door
- Treatment NEVER changes, even when there is no progress or improvement in your condition
- They don’t take the time to LISTEN to your concerns or answer your questions
- They are never willing to REFER to other practitioners when a problem is outside of their scope or specialty
- They are against vaccination (only medical doctors or pharmacists can discuss this issue as it is within their scope of practice)
- Does NOT give you 1-on-1 individualized care and rotates between multiple patients at the same time (this one is debatable)
Just by avoiding the above red flags, you will be well on your way to finding the right healthcare provider that practices in an ethical manner. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the decisions of your therapist if you have any concerns or reservations. Happy hunting!