Many chiropractors recommend regular chiropractic adjustments or a combined treatment plan including chiropractic and massage therapy as part of preventative care — meaning that you should continue to get treatments in order to head off health problems, instead of in direct response to health problems. Is this commonsense advice, or a way to get you to pay them more money? Here’s an overview of the issue at hand:
Any type of practitioner who recommends constant treatment but doesn’t expect to demonstrate results ought to be treated with caution. The term “preventative care” shouldn’t be used as an excuse for having no information to back up a treatment plan. The tricky thing is that chiropractors often occupies something of a middle space between clearly “alternative” health practitioners and medical doctors. The best chiropractors work based on evidence, using adjustments to replace the dangerous surgeries or prescription drugs that are common in the mainstream medical community. Patients of these types of chiropractors often do report feeling better getting “tune-up” type adjustments on a regular basis. Less reputable chiropractors, however, do not practice based on evidence, and it’s worth being wary.
Trusting Your Chiropractor
So how do you go about separating good local chiropractors from bad ones, those who use evidence-based treatments from those who don’t? The first thing you should do is ask what, exactly, these regular adjustments can prevent. If a chiropractor gives you an answer such as asthma or allergies, that’s a sign you should be moving on. But if he or she can point to some reasonable musculoskeletal concern and explain to you how semi-regular adjustments can prevent pain or injury, then that’s a much stronger sign that this chiropractor is concerned about your health — and not the practice’s bottom line. And as with any other health practitioner, you should take into account how long you’ve been receiving treatment and how strong your doctor-patient relationship has been during that time when making a decision.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, no one but you can decide if you should get chiropractic or massage treatments as part of preventative care. If you’re experiencing no major health problems, you can even make this decision — as many patients do — based simply on how you feel. If you have fewer aches and pains, can move more easily and are more relaxed with regular treatments, then they may be worth paying for regardless of whether they’re covered by your insurance. After all, just feeling that you can exercise without pain is likely to lead to more physical activity and eventually better overall health. You should also remember that pain isn’t an inevitable consequence of aging or activity, and you deserve to live pain free. But if you’re feeling that your chiropractic treatment isn’t benefiting you, then you should feel comfortable talking to your chiropractor about it — after all, it’s your body.
Would you consider going to a chiropractor or massage therapist on a regular basis a worthy part of preventative care? Share your thoughts in the comments.