Chiropractor: am I getting ripped off?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Mikael, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. Mikael

    Mikael Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,049
    Hey guys,

    I just came back from my 2nd visit to my local chiropractor in one week and I am still a little puzzled about the whole deal. It'd be great to hear some opinions about this.

    Here's the background info: I went to see the guy because of some lower back pain that resurfaced while deadlifting a couple months ago, and also because of some chronic "soreness" in the cervical spine + IT band issue in the right leg that appeared recently...

    Anyway, the first time I went to see him last Saturday he performed a series of tests (for some reason he looked at my eyes a lot) and cracked a number of joints during a few minutes.

    I tried to get as much specific info about my injuries as possible, but he kept giving very general answers about the nervous system controlling the whole body, and about the spine protecting the nervous system, etc. I asked him: so what are the muscle imbalances that are causing all these problems? His answer was that the muscle imbalances were only a consequence of faulty spine alignment.

    We scheduled another appointment for today, once again he cracked stuff in my spine for a few minutes... And then he wanted to schedule yet another appointment, within a few days!

    So I asked him: what exactly is the course of action? He answered that I would have to see him about twice a week for a month, then only once a week, then once a month indefinitely... in order to correct problems in my spine and then keep it from reverting to its non-optimal state. Not only that, he said that during the first few weeks I shouldn't play tennis because it would mess everything up. Talk about a bummer...

    So here I am thinking: WTF?! Am I fu**ed up to the point where I'm gonna have to spend 600+ bucks/month just to fix my injuries, which I thought were fairly minor?

    What do you guys think? Especially the chiropractors here or those that have seen one: am I getting ripped off, or is this the "real deal"? Isn't there a cheaper way to go about this?!
     
    #1
  2. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    5,997
    Get a second opinion. I would not spend $600/month on something like that. I don't know if you're getting ripped off because medical care is generally expensive anyways.
     
    #2
  3. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,806
    I've recently started seeing a chiropractor as well, only mine is also a soft tissue and sports injury specialist, as well as a runner and triathlete. The first appt. was 150 and a long appt, about 45 minutes, as he checked me out and looked at my specific complaints (lower back and plantar fasciitis in my left foot).

    Since then, I'm supposed to go back twice a week for a while (though my schedule and pocketbook don't allow it), with subsequent session costing 80 each.

    However, he is spending the lot of my time with him on my foot, which is my biggest problem. He is using ART (active release therapy) to break up scar tissue, and it hurts like H*LL!!!! He also works on my shoulders and neck a bit, and also does the obligatory spine/neck cracking.

    I'm not sold on him so far, especially since my foot has really hurt since I've started treatment. I'm giving him one more week, and then maybe pulling the plug and going back to what I was doing on my own. My reasons for going to this specific guy is that he is an athlete himself (so won't tell me just to stop playing/running) and was highly recommended by a friend who is a serious runner.
     
    #3
  4. RedWeb

    RedWeb Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    730
    Odds are you're getting ripped off.

    In my personal experiences chiropractors aren't worth it. They did not help me and most of the people I know were not significantly helped by them. I started yoga about 2 years ago and that has been better than any medical help I've ever received (other than a couple of surgeries that were mandatory due to various injuries).

    That being said it is also difficult to find good sports medicine oriented doctor(s). The best ones tend to work with local semi-pro and pro teams so you might be able to do some research and find someone that way, if you live in or are close to a bigger city.

    Ask around at tennis courts, especially older players who may have gone through some physical trials. Most people are more than willing to share their experiences. That was how I got started with yoga.

    Good luck!

    P.S. IMHO, Topaz's has a much higher liklihood of success than yours because she got references and the dude is an athlete himself.
     
    #4
  5. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,140
    You have lower back pain and you deadlift. I don't think the chiropractor is your biggest problem.
     
    #5
  6. Fee

    Fee Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    7,299
    Location:
    In front of my computer, obviously
    I go back and forth about chiropractors. I had a great one in So Cal, he didn't pull any of that twice a week stuff with me, but I have not found a good one in Nor Cal and the one that I have seen so far knew that I was flat broke and still tried to give me a 3 times a week treatment plan when I threw out my back a few years ago and I never went back. While I believe that SOME forms of holisitic medical can be helpful, I don't think anyone needs to see a chiro more than once a week.

    Go get a really good sports massage, see if that helps align your muscles.
     
    #6
  7. wao

    wao Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,124
    Location:
    Scottsdale, Az
    Ripped off, possibly. Having ruptured L4 -L5 playing basketball I am always cautious of my lower back. Have you seen an orthopod? or as another poster mentioned a second opinion. That is something that I would definately do. I lift 3 times a week and deadlifts are a part of my workout. I have definately increased the strength in my core ( stomach ) by doing 200 - 300 situps 3-5 nights a week. For me that definately helped my lower back. GET A SECOND OPINION.
     
    #7
  8. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    3,363
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Get a massage once a month, and learn how to stretch correctly, also get one of those foam rollers....
     
    #8
  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW

    I agree, except for the Ortho part. Most Ortho surgeons look at sports injuries that don't require surgery (they are surgeons, after all) as a waste of time.
     
    #9
  10. wao

    wao Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,124
    Location:
    Scottsdale, Az
    Unless you find/have a good one. The ones I have always recommend surgery as the last resort. In any profession there are good ones and ones that are not so good.
     
    #10
  11. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    14,330
    #11
  12. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW

    I'm not taking about good vs not so good, rather Surgical vs Sport Medicine oriented.
     
    #12
  13. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    5,997
    Yeah if you go to a surgeon, expect surgery to be the recommended solution :p
     
    #13
  14. wao

    wao Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,124
    Location:
    Scottsdale, Az
    I'm somewhat fortunate that my ortho is partiners with a sports medicine practice. They do all the work and pt for one of the NHL teams.
     
    #14
  15. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Chiropractors are not medical doctors and are considered quacks by the medical community. Most medical doctors are also considered extremely ignorant and they account for far more deaths than chiropractors ever will. This is a double edged sword here. If you're paying out of pocket, I say stay away from that quack, but if you're covered, see him once in a blue moon and don't let him determine your schedule. One thing's for sure, you never see a chiropractor when you have a strained muscle because he/she can further strain the muscle with manipulation. Good luck with your decision.
     
    #15
  16. ojingoh

    ojingoh Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    165

    Great advice, well said.

    My brother is a chiro. I am happy and proud of him for finding a career that he loves and believes in. That said, I would go find a PT who can show you how to heal yourself. My biggest problem with chiropracty is that it's pallitive not curative.
     
    #16
  17. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    How did your parents take the news? I know most Korean parents want their kids to go to med school, but chiros these days make good money.
     
    #17
  18. ojingoh

    ojingoh Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    165
    Nice pickup w/r/t ojingoh :)

    Family was ok with it, they're just stoked he's off the street lol. I think my family is pretty atypical of the Korean experience though. Most of my Korean buds have really lame guilting parents, we're just not like that.
     
    #18
  19. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Well you shouldn't have named yourself squid!
     
    #19
  20. ojingoh

    ojingoh Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    165
    SMOKED FERMENTED SQUID no less lol
     
    #20
  21. bigfoot910

    bigfoot910 Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    Southeast NM
    To answer a few of your questions about the procedures...
    The reason he was checking your eyes was to determine neurological deficits, nerve impingement in the C-spine can lead to deficiencies in the way that you receive information to the brain (eyes, ears, mouth, nose).
    Secondly, the generally accepted practice is to do 3 times a week for the first couple of weeks to take care of any acute injury. After that time period many chiro's move down to 2x a week to help care for the chronic injuries and lead into a wellness care. After the injuries are beginning to subside, many will go to a wellness plan that generally moves the appointments to 2-4 times a month. However, this is completely dependent on how well your body holds and adjustment and how quickly you re-subluxate your spine.
    The reason that the chiropractor wants to see you beyond the injury treatment period is to keep you on the right pathway to health and wellness. You do not HAVE to see a chiro indefinitely, it is just many peoples opinion that they like the results they are getting and they don't like how they feel without care once they have felt how good they can feel.
    I personally get adjusted once a week and can't imagine life without it.
    As stated earlier, if you have a problem with the price, you might be better served trying to find an insurance based chiropractor to lower your out-of-pocket costs.

    I hope you continue to use the chiro, the stress on the tennis court will really put a strain on your spine that will translate to your everyday life. Good luck!
     
    #21
  22. Mikael

    Mikael Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,049
    Thanks for the replies everyone, it's really helpful to hear other opinions. What I'm gonna do is ask around and search harder to find another doctor, ideally some kind of physical therapist who specializes in sports... anyway, the objective is to get a second opinion (and even a third opinion if possible...)

    Bigfoot, you make a good case for the chiropractor but unfortunately I just can't afford to visit him that often. And if I can't afford to do the "initial phase" where he supposedly fixes my problems by cracking stuff 2-3 times/week, I don't know if it's even worth going less often as that wouldn't help in the long run anyway...
     
    #22
  23. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,806
    Sounds like a good plan, Mikael. I think I definitely benefit from the fact that my chiro is also a sports and soft tissue specialist...he spends more time on my foot than anything else. Plus, the fact that he is also an athlete gives him a better perspective, I think, than someone who is not.

    I know my chiro sometimes has a booth set up at local races and sporting events...if there is a lot of that in your area, you may want to check that out. Or, I found this guy by talking and asking my tennis teammates about who they saw for their various ailments!

    Good luck!
     
    #23
  24. bigfoot910

    bigfoot910 Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    Southeast NM
    Like Topaz said, there are many Chiro's who specialize in athletics. There is a program that they must go through in order to get the specialty. These Dr's will be more familiar with certain types of sports injuries and may be able to help with those issues more effectively than a non-specialist chiro.

    Anyway, good luck with what you choose and I hope you can be back on the court pain free soon!
     
    #24
  25. Quasar

    Quasar Rookie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    149
    Um, yes, you are getting ripped off. This should be obvious to you. Be more cynical.
     
    #25
  26. IceNineTX

    IceNineTX Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Messages:
    410
    This seems to be the classic thing that gives chiros a bad name. I have a friend who is a chiropractor, but takes a more holistic approach. I have seen him 2-3 times, always on my schedule and terms. He does an amazing job. He will use a mix of "adjustments", stretching, muscle manipulation using electrode thingies (technical term), acupunture, and ultrasound. Except for the adjustment part, it's all the same things that a PT did for me when I had neck/shoulder issues a few years back.

    He has never once tried to put me on a regular program of return visits.

    Your guy may truly believe in what he is doing, so I would hesitate to say he is ripping you off. But if you are skeptical, get another opinion. You should never do anything you are not comfortable with.
     
    #26
  27. bee

    bee Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    Messages:
    682
    They tell just about everyone their spine is crooked and all that. It's a shame. And, yes, they want you to keep coming back for your regular "adjustments."
     
    #27

Share This Page