Norton Shores Michigan Chiropractor - I recently met a new patient in my Muskegon chiropractic practice whose story was similar to many many others that we hear. She presented with lower back pain that radiated down into the leg which later turned to numbness and loss of strength in the leg.
She initially went to the ER, where they, in her words “did nothing,” giving her Valium and Vicodin, patting her on the head and sending her home. She also visited with her family doc (who of course was busy so she saw a PA) who took x-rays, said her back “was fine” and gave her more pills. She made a return trip to her MD (and saw a PA again) who took an MRI, telling her “you have some arthritis, but your back is fine. It should be better in a couple of weeks.” After several weeks, she called her doctor’s office again (but never actually talked to or got to see her own doctor) and they sent her for some PT. At the PT clinic in the hospital, they put a stim machine on her back, which actually caused her more pain. Eventually, she was referred to our office by a friend.
Like I said, this scenario plays out in my practice a LOT. Here is where it gets interesting. She proceeds to tell me that not ONCE did someone actually perform even a routine physical exam on her. In fact, no one EVER placed their hands on her throughout this process.
When I was in chiropractic school, it was beaten into my head that you always perform a physical exam before rendering a diagnosis. It doesn’t have to be a 90 minute marathon, but even a simple range of motion, palpation, and very basic orthopedic exam shouldn’t be too much to ask. All she got was about three minutes to rattle off her symptoms and then they jumped to imaging and drugs, with no specific diagnosis whatsoever. Here’s the kicker: she actually WORKS for the hospital. If she cannot receive care that is up to the standards of the medical profession, what chance do the rest of us have???
Now, in the chiropractic profession, there is much debate about whether or not a chiropractor should be performing a physical examination that is similar to what a medical doctor would provide (including things like heart and lung auscultation, blood pressure, etc). I am not going to tackle that debate. However, a good chiropractic evaluation for a new patient (or a current patient with a new condition) includes an in-depth consultation, thorough palpation of the spine and/or extremities for signs of subluxation, range of motion exam, and specific orthopedic tests pertaining to the patient’s condition. From there, imaging studies may be ordered. By combining all data found during these procedures, only then can a diagnosis be rendered and a treatment plan recommended.
If your doctor (medical, chiropractic, or otherwise) has you hop on the table and just seems to shoot from the hip, you are not receiving a treatment that is on par with what is expected of that practitioner by their profession. If your doctor is not taking the time and effort to figure out what is causing YOUR problem, you are getting cookie-cutter care, which is not good enough when it comes to your health.
A patient of mine recently sent his dear old mother and father in to see me and I ran into him the next day. He thanked me for taking such good care of his parents. They told him that they “were really impressed” and that the examination they received in my office was “the most thorough exam they had ever had.” Yet I didn’t spend an exorbitant amount of time with them whatsoever. I treated them like any other patient that walks through the doors of Zehr Chiropractic. When you care about your patients and truly wish to get down to the root of their problem, patients should always feel like they received a thorough evaluation. If you feel like you’ve been rushed through and given fast-food type care, maybe it’s time you find a new doctor.