Don't Get Scammed by the Chiropractor!

There are a ton of chiropractors to choose from in Lawrence. In a relatively small college town, there are close to 40 chiropractors within city limits. That is a lot to choose from! How do you know which office to go to? You might think most offices are pretty similar with just a few minor differences. What’s the harm in going to the biggest and nicest place? The office that can see me today is just as good as any of the others right? I can’t tell you how much I wish that were true. The truth is, who you go to matters. Like most professions, some offices are good, some are bad, and some are out to scam you. You can find an office that gives you excellent patient centered care (they exist), or you can end up at an office with the sole purpose of scamming you for all your worth. Here are some of the most common ways chiropractors scam their patients and how to avoid letting it happen to you!

Large Treatment Plans

This one makes my blood boil. My pre-schooler says I shouldn’t say “hate” but I HATE hearing about large treatment plans. If you show up to the chiropractor on your first visit and you’re told that your mild back pain will take 6 weeks of 3 visits a week to resolve. Run! There are offices (YES IN LAWRENCE) that recommend treating every patient that walks through their door with the exact same treatment plan. Three times a week for 4-6 weeks, typically involving a roller bed and some electric stimulation you don’t need each visit... You are not a cookie cutter and your plan of care should not be the same as every person to walk into that office that day. Your plan of care should be tailored to your specific condition. Your treatment should change as your conditions changes. If your chiropractor tells you they need to see you over and over for the next couple of months, you’re being scammed.

X-Rays Up Front

This one is less black and white. The choosing wisely initiative started by the American Board of Internal Medicine strongly advises against routine imaging before beginning treatment. All chiropractors are (or at least should be) aware of the actual indications for imaging a patient before beginning treatment. Spoiler alert: It seldom is. Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely times when imaging should be taken before starting treatment, but your chiropractor should have a much better reason than “let’s just take a look to be safe”. Translation: “lets run some totally unnecessary testing to run up your bill”.

Oh, and another thing, your neck that isn’t curved beautifully like their spine model…is fine. Totally normal. In fact, it is hard to find credible proof that having a decreased curve in your neck leads to pain, AND studies have shown that there is little change in the curve of the neck even with consistent treatment.Yet another way chiropractors are scamming the good people of Lawrence.

Failure to Discharge From Care

Sometimes treatment isn’t successful on a patient [Gasps]. I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes even the best conservative care just isn’t going to get the job done. As someone who’s main goal is to get patients out of pain, this can be a hard truth. When this happens, I have to swallow my pride and say “I’m sorry, I’m out of options. It’s time someone else take a look at your case”. Chiropractors suck at this. If you are seeing a chiropractor with little to no improvement in your symptoms, you could be getting taken advantage of. Some offices will lead patients on for months of care with little to no improvement in pain. You may think this is an obvious red flag, but it’s shocking to hear how many people go to the chiro for months, even years without improvement and they still keep going back! My advice - If you’re not seeing improvement after 3-4 visits, it may not be what is best for you.

Cattle Call Offices a.k.a. The One Minute Visit.

This is another topic that gets me hot under the collar. Your chiropractor should be taking the time to listen to what is going on with you each and every visit. They should care about the changes in your condition. If you feel like you’re getting herded in and out of the office as fast as possible, you’re likely viewed as a cash cow rather than a patient with individual needs. There are practice management groups that drive home the need to spend as little time with the patient as possible. I’m not talking about staying focused on the task and being effective with treatment times. I’m talking about chiropractors actually working on limiting their time with a patient to under a minute. I wish I were making this up! These kinds of offices operate under the veil of the faster they get patients in and out, the more people they help, when their real objective is to fill their schedule with as many paying patients they can possibly handle, like cattle. If your chiro isn’t actually listening to you, there’s a good chance you’re getting scammed.

For the untrained eye, it can be tough to spot a scam. Especially when coming from a healthcare professional. Hearing stories about mistreatment from chiropractors makes me angry. Scamming offices are keep me awake at night. I’m tired of hearing how the people of Lawrence are getting scammed by their chiropractor. Save yourself some trouble. Take these tools before you see a chiropractor!

  • Avoid big massive care plans

  • Be weary of imaging

  • If it’s not working, it probably won’t

  • Don’t get rushed in and out