FAQs - An interview with the doc
Q: Tell me a little bit about how you practice.
A: I practice what I consider functional health care. Most people in the health care industry are pain or symptom based. For example, if you have low back pain, they focus on your low back. If you have neck pain, they focus on your neck. If you have shoulder pain, they focus on the shoulder. If you have high blood pressure, you are prescribed blood pressure medication, and so on and so forth. That isn’t the approach I take. I tell all of my patients that I don’t want to sound unsympathetic, but I care about your pain and symptoms to the extent that it tells me there is dysfunction in your body. My job is to figure out where that dysfunction is and correct the dysfunction. When we are able to do that, you will feel better.
I take a customized approach to each patient because every single person is different. You will never feel like you are on an assembly line in my office. Every aspect of your time in my office will be tailored to fit you, from the adjustments to the nutritional and exercise advice and everything else that we do, your care will be as individual as you are, and it will address your entire being, not just your symptoms.
Q: Do I need to be in pain to receive chiropractic care?
A: Absolutely not! Remember, I base my care on how you function, and there can be a considerable amount of dysfunction before you feel any pain. The only way to know that is to get checked.
On the other hand, pain doesn’t always mean there is dysfunction. There are plenty of times that a patient comes in, I check him for dysfunction, and I don’t do any adjustment because the body is functioning properly. I will never adjust anyone who doesn’t truly need to be adjusted, and my patients always love the honesty when I tell them they don’t need to be adjusted.
Q: I heard that once I start going to a chiropractor I have to keep going for the rest of my life
A: About a week after I opened my practice, a yoga instructor started asking me about chiropractic and said, “I have been thinking about starting chiropractic, but a friend told me that once I start, I have to go for the rest of my life.”
Well, my response to that was, “When you started doing yoga, did you have to keep doing yoga for the rest of your life?”
Of course she didn’t have to keep doing yoga for the rest of her life, but she continued because it made her move better, it made her feel better, it made her feel healthier, etc.
The same can be said for chiropractic care. You certainly don’t have to continue care for the rest of your life, but about 70% of my patients add chiropractic care to their regular routine, just like eating healthy, working out, running, and doing yoga. Health is a lifestyle. Would you just do yoga when you feel tight and then quit when you get more flexible? Would you just lift weights when you feel weak and then quit when you feel strong? Would you just eat healthy when you are overweight and then quit when you get down to a good weight? Would you only run when you feel out of shape and then quit when you get back into shape? Sure, you could treat your health this way, but the ideal person understands that all of these things are part of a healthy lifestyle. The same can be said for chiropractic care. You can get adjusted only when you are in pain, and discontinue care, but the patients who get the most out of care are the ones who understand that health is a lifestyle and regularly incorporate healthy habits into their lives.
Q: How often to you get adjusted?
A: I currently get adjusted every 10 to 14 days. I am very active, and there are times when I need greater frequency due to injury or overall stress factors in my life. We are all dynamic beings, which means we are constantly changing and evolving... which means that our proactive care measures should also change and evolve. What works well for me now might not be adequate six months from now. I'll have to edit the the answer to this question several times throughout the year!
Q: How often should I get adjusted?
A: Good question... This depends on the type of care you are looking for. I break down the care I provide into five basic categories: Symptomatic Care, Functional Restoration, Maintenance Care, Performance Care, and Inactive Care.
Symptomatic care is when you are in pain and that is the only resolution you are looking for. I will never turn someone away who is looking for symptomatic relief, and I can usually get someone out of pain quickly, but that is almost always a myopic approach to health. Remember, pain simply tells me there is dysfunction, and my job is to help you function better so the underlying issue is resolved. This brings me to the next type of care: Functional Restoration.
I can get you out of pain much faster than I can correct 20 years of dysfunction - training your brain to move your body more efficiently takes time and repetition. In this approach, you will need to be adjusted more often while we reduce symptoms and restore normal function, but this is usually a short term phase that doesn't last more than two or three weeks after the New Patient Exam. I use the Selective Functional Movement Assessment and the Functional Movement Screen, along with several other forms of movement analysis to objectively gauge progress.
Maintenace care is for when you have made progress, are functioning at a high level, and are no longer in pain. This is when the frequency is tapered and we start to figure out how long your body can maintain the level of desired function without being adjusted, and we schedule your appointments based on this interval [remember that I currently get adjusted every 10 to 14 days - that is my current 'sweet spot' for maintenance].
Performance care is for people who are not symptomatic and have reached and decent level of function, yet they still want to see tangible improvements in their functional capacity. These people often come in once per week for a chiropractic check up, and we monitor their progress using functional movement assessment tools that allow us to see tangible results.
Inactive care is for people who have been in one of the above care models and choose to discontinue care and work on their health without the guidance of the chiropractor.
Q: What is the difference between a manipulation and an adjustment?
A: Another good question. Most people in the health care industry use those two words interchangeably, but I believe that there is a big difference. To me, a manipulation is the act of moving a joint simply to restore mobility, while and adjustment takes into account the neurological changes that result anytime a force is applied to the musculoskeletal system. There is a time and place for both. It is, on some level, a semantics issue, but there is also a big difference in my mind.
Q: Do you take my insurance?
A: No, I do not take insurance. My practice is based on a “Concierge” or “Boutique” health care model. Using this model, I am able to keep my overhead low by not having to pay an employee to file insurance. I am able to spend more time with each patient. A third party will never dictate the quantity or quality of care you receive. You will never receive an unexpected bill for services that were not covered, and you will never have to worry about meeting deductibles or exceeding coverage limits. Everything is straight forward and simple to follow, which is very refreshing with all the uncertainty in the current health care marketplace.
How does this work? The patient pays a reasonable fee for a thorough exam. After that, most patients will pay a fee for an adjustment or any other services they receive whenever they come in, but some patients who are committed to long term care will have the option of paying a monthly fee that covers everything you need in that month.
Q: How long will it take for me to feel better?
A: Every single person is unique, so there isn’t any way to know how you will respond until I start working on you. This is the reason that I am not a fan of the 'care plans' that most chiropractors use when patients start care. The frequency of care you will need if you are symptomatic is probably completely different than the frequency another person needs, even if you have the exact same symptoms or diagnosis, the this frequency needs to be constantly evaluated and adjusted based on your individual response.
For example, I had a college baseball player come in for care, and he was in such bad shape that I had him come in twice a day for ten days. We started making major improvements after the sixth session, but we still had a long way to go in a very small window of time. In general, I like to see most new patients about three times in the first seven to ten days just to see how their bodies are responding and adapting to the care they are receiving. Remember, I am not chasing symptoms, so I am very specific in the changes that I am looking for when it comes to how your body is moving and functioning. People with low stress, good diets, good sleep patterns, and good exercise habits generally respond better to any health and lifestyle changes, including chiropractic care. People with any combination of high stress, poor diet, bad sleep schedules and/or poor exercise habits generally need more frequent care to keep their bodies functioning optimally.