The Informed Patient

How to choose a chiropractor?

It is imperative that the chiropractor that you chose is recognised by the General Chiropractic Council www.gcc-uk.org. This is your guarantee that the chiropractor in question has the appropriate qualifications and has successfully completed a yearly continued professional development programme. All registered chiropractors can be easily found on their website.

Legislation

The legal framework within which chiropractors practice in the UK is comprehensive and, therefore, very detailed. It consists of the Chiropractors Act 1994 (the primary legislation) and 15 associated Statutory Instruments, commonly called ‘the Rules’ (the secondary legislation).

Chiropractors have to comply with a variety of other more general legal requirements, for example health and safety and data protection. More detailed information regarding the practice of chiropractic can be found on

www.gcc-uk.org, the website of the General Chiropractic Council. Information about the British Chiropractic Association can be found on www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk.

What do I need to know?

As a patient you are entitled to know precisely what the chiropractor has diagnosed your condition to be, how long he/she expects it will take to attain an acceptable result, and what the associated costs will be. Potential side-effects and risks should also be discussed.

Avoid chiropractors who routinely x-ray all patients, try to convince you that you are going to need ongoing and frequent care as well as those who try to “sell” you long term care at reduced prices – provided that you pay in advance. While it is true that longstanding conditions need more care, every treatment strategy must have a beginning and an end. Never-ending care only promotes treatment dependence and has never been proven to be either necessary or effective. Also, avoid clinics that advertise reduced rates for initial consultations or free x-rays.

In general terms you are better off seeing a chiropractor who is part of a larger team of health care practitioners. While chiropractic care is indeed effective for many spinal conditions and some forms of headache it should be obvious that not all patients are going to experience excellent results. Being a part of a team signals that the chiropractor wishes and is able to cooperate with other health care practitioners and is likely to be forward minded in his/her method of practice.

Chiropractors that promote “wellness” treatment, the treatment of infants, asthma and conditions that cannot be rationally explained should be avoided.

Never conclude a consultation with unanswered questions!

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