Questions to Ask Your Chiropractor

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Whether you’re anticipating your first visit—or your 15th—to a chiropractor, you can get the most from your treatments by asking questions about it. These questions can help you learn if a particular chiropractic technique will work for your specific symptoms, and how much these visits are going to cost you in the long run.

1. Will chiropractic help my symptom/problem?

Many people seek chiropractic care for low back pain, headaches and other symptoms, and chiropractic benefits these types of issues. But before you begin, you should ask your chiropractor about your specific symptoms and what you can expect from treatment. This conversation can help set expectations for improvement over the long-term. Plus, you might discover the chiropractor recommends a different modality, such as fascial-stretch therapy (a type of manual therapy), to receive the most benefits from your chiropractic adjustments.

2. Will you take X-rays?

Some chiropractors want to obtain an imaging study to pinpoint spinal issues before they develop your plan of treatment. If your chiropractor wants X-rays in advance of treatment, find out if the cost is covered by your insurance or if you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

3. How many chiropractic appointments will I need?

A single visit to a chiropractor may not fully correct your musculoskeletal issue. Chiropractic adjustments generally need to be performed on an ongoing basis to obtain results. You should ask your chiropractor how many appointments, in general, it might take to address your condition.

4. What is my cost for chiropractic?

Many health insurance plans cover the cost of chiropractic visits, at least on a limited basis. Check your insurance policy to find out more about copays and the maximum number of allowed visits. If you’re paying out of pocket for chiropractic, ask how much the initial visit costs, as well as the price of subsequent appointments.

5. Does the visit include massage?

Many chiropractors offer massage or hydrotherapy prior to an adjustment because warming the muscles, ligaments and tendons makes them more pliable, which makes the spinal adjustment easier to perform. If you’re seeing a chiropractor with massage, find out if it is included in the cost. Ask your chiropractor or the front office staff how it will be billed to your insurance company. 

6. What chiropractic techniques do you use?

Many people associate chiropractic with the ‘high-velocity, low-amplitude’ (HVLA) thrust, in which the chiropractor uses his or her hands to quickly and forcefully pop the neck or spine into alignment. However, this is not the only technique chiropractors use. A chiropractor might use a low-force technique to manipulate the joints of people with osteoporosis or another disease that elevates their risk of injury during an adjustment. 

Some chiropractors use a spring-loaded ‘activator’ instrument that targets individual vertebrae directly for realignment. Still others use various types of tables and other equipment to aid in chiropractic manipulation. Ask your chiropractor which techniques he or she might use to treat your condition and why.

7. What additional therapies or services do you offer?

Beyond physically aligning people’s spines and other joints, many chiropractors offer adjunct therapies and services like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), hydrotherapy, nutrition counseling, exercise plans, supplement recommendations, and many other services to help you live a healthy lifestyle.

Chiropractic has a long history of diagnosing and treating pain with drug-free spinal adjustments. Many people find the benefits of chiropractic to extend beyond pain relief to an overall improved feeling of well-being. To make the most of your chiropractor visits, be sure to ask questions about how the treatments might improve your pain and how much the visits will cost.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Dec 18
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Chiropractic. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/chiropractic.html
  2. What is Chiropractic? American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Why-Choose-Chiropractic/What-is-Chiropractic
  3. Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic. American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Why-Choose-Chiropractic/Chiropractic-Frequently-Asked-Questions
  4. Activator Method Chiropractic Technique. Spine-Health Knowledge from Veritas. https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/activator-method-chiropractic-technique