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Chiropractor: Am I Getting Ripped Off?

Hey guys,

I just came back from my 2nd visit to my local chiropractor in one week and I am still a little puzzled about the whole deal. It’d be great to hear some opinions about this.

Here’s the background info: I went to see the guy because of some lower back pain that resurfaced while deadlifting a couple months ago, and also because of some chronic pain in the cervical spine + IT band issue in the right leg…

Anyway, the first time I went to see him last Saturday he performed a series of tests (for some reason he looked at my eyes a lot) and cracked a number of joints during a few minutes.

I tried to get as much specific info about my injuries as possible, but he kept giving very general answers about the nervous system controlling the whole body, and about the spine protecting the nervous system, etc. I asked him: so what are the muscle imbalances that are causing all these problems? His answer was that the muscle imbalances were only a consequence of faulty spine alignment.

We scheduled another appointment for today, once again he cracked stuff in my spine for a few minutes… And then he wanted to schedule yet another appointment, within a few days!

So I asked him: what exactly is the course of action? He answered that I would have to see him about twice a week for a month, then only once a week, then once a month indefinitely… in order to correct problems in my spine and then keep it from reverting to its non-optimal state.

So here I am thinking: WTF?! Am I fu**ed up to the point where I’m gonna have to spend 600+ bucks/month just to fix my injuries, which I thought were fairly minor?

What do you guys think? Especially the chiropractors here or those that have seen one: am I getting ripped off, or is this the “real deal”? Isn’t there a cheaper way to go about this?!

Yeah, he’s ripping you off.

I started going to one earlier this year. I went once a week for a few weeks then we kept pushing the appointments out a week or two as long as I was doing well. Right now I’m just going every two or three months if I feel I need to.

The guy I went to was pretty specific about what questions he asked. I also decided to get some x-rays done after I went for a couple months and as soon as he looked at them he was able to point out some problems in my hips caused by my poor sitting habits.

Sounds like you are getting ripped off. You can’t always expect someone to immediately know what is wrong right away. But twice a week and once a month forever seems like overkill.

Go see a sports med doctor instead. They should have more experience and be able to give you better advice than not simply not lift heavy, which is what most general practice doctors will advise.

If you are not comfortable with your chiropractor, seek out another one. Ask them specifically what their athletic background is. Tell them what you do (ie lift) and what your expectations are.

I had the benefit of having an aunt who became a chiropractor. College/semi-pro athelete and is very sensitive to the needs of atheletes. When I moved away and needed chiro care for a disc injury, she told me what to look for, specific techniques etc. I “interviewed” several before I settled on my current chiro, who has literally saved my life (and she’s easy on the eyes). She’s athletic as well and holds a CSCS for whatever that’s worth. I went to a D.O. at a sports center, and they prescribed worthless PT in that my spine needed to be manipulated, quite obvious from the x-rays.

No one is better qualified to do that than a chiro. I think Bushido on this board is following the “Evidence Based Chiro” path-- ie. healing real structural issues based on quantitative studies-- at least that’s my understanding.

I was very straight forward with my chiros that I understood an optimal nervous system means optimal healing, but I wasn’t into the non-quantitative methods (the ‘foofy’ stuff). I went to one chiro who was from the 60’s and into the “Applied Kenesiology” method which was ok until he had me stand across the room and ‘shot’ energy at me. My current chiro is very hands on.

When I was in school, I got a migrane that lasted 4 days. I was literally curled into a ball crying. The doc prescribed Fioricet and Motrin and said it was a muscle spasm.

I went to my aunt, she took xrays and did an adjustment on my neck. Pain was gone in a half an hour. The curvature of my neck was BACWARD (ie concave forward). Several adjustments later on the drop table (ie The Pierce Method, I think), she had restored my neck curvature. Drugs and PT don’t do that, only “Hands On” manipulation.

Just some of my experience. Moral: Shop around and be 100% comfortable and confident with your chiro (or any health care professional).

If he can’t give you straight answers and is only cracking your back, he’s a ripoff. Find an ART practioner who also does chiropractic. They’re way more beneficial.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Until he had me stand across the room and ‘shot’ energy at me.

That sounds kind of gay.

Drugs and PT don’t do that, only “Hands On” manipulation.


Physical therapists can perform mobilizations and manipulations depending on the state.

Glad to hear you found relief.

[quote]Krollmonster wrote:
SteelyD wrote:
Until he had me stand across the room and ‘shot’ energy at me.

That sounds kind of gay.

Drugs and PT don’t do that, only “Hands On” manipulation.

Physical therapists can perform mobilizations and manipulations depending on the state.

Thanks. Yeah, the energy thing was weird. I never went back.

I stand corrected on the PT manipulation-- thank you.

Back when I was in highschool (when I was about 14), I had a pretty “serious” kyphosis. First thing I did in the morning after waking up was always cracking my neck, then I still felt like doing it again during the course of the day. I was overweight back then.

I didn’t get completly “fixed” by his practices, but I sure went often during the first months. Even though it seemed like he didn’t do much, it actually did a lot of good. My hunchback is now almost all gone (I’m 23, 180lbs now), but I still have some upper-back issues to take care off in the weightroom. I felt like writing this, because without a chiropractor, I don’t think I would have even had stepped out the house without a hoodie or something, I was ashamed of my hunch.

Just saying that even if you think he’s not doing much, that doesn’t mean that it’s not helping your condition by a lot still.

A good chiro is a fantastic investment. An average chiro is probably a waste of money. Sadly, most people are not very good at their jobs…

I would second the advice of another poster, find someone close to you who is both a licensed chiro and ART guy. He can work both issues and will likely be more understanding of your problems and goals. I went to three chiro’s when I first had back problems, they all told me never to squat or deadlift again because it was bad for you, and this is how I hurt my back. Those guys should be friggen shot.

Good luck

The Majority of chiropractic’s are quacks. As far as im concerned the whole practice is a pseudo science. But ive known people who swear by them, then again people swear by faith healers and crystals.

Generally i find they fail to deal with muscular imbalances which cause pain and misalignment in the first place.

Are osteopaths available to you?

Thanks for all the replies guys, it looks like my plan is clear: I will try and find someone else in my area, like a physical therapist, and get a second professional opinion. A third opinion would be even better.

Boffin, I did visit an ostheopath a couple weeks ago, actually I saw him before going to the chiropractor in the first place.

It seems to me that both treatments are extremely similar: both the osteo and the chiro performed the exact same “cracks” on my spine. Only difference being that the chiro performed more assessments and wanted to see me very often whereas the osteo just said “you should be OK, if you feel more pain, come back.” I asked the chiro guy if my problems were serious and he just shrugged it off.

You should never have to rely on a chiropractor for the rest of your life. Like someone said earlier in this post, find someone good in your area.

The first day I went my chiropractor told me exactly how things were going to happen and it is exactly the way they played out. Except I did have to go back to physical therapy (he did not continue seeing me at this point, but wanted to see me afterwards).

I was in physical therapy for a month with shoulder impingement in both shoulders. I could only do a few things my physical therapist wanted me to do. After a month of seeing a chiropractor I could actually start doing almost every exercise. While I am still rehabbing if it were not for the chiropractor I would have already had surgery by now.

Look for someone who is a consultant for sports organizations and has been around a while.

Chiropractors are the rehab/complimentary equivalent of crack dealers. They will give you just enough relief to ensure you’re back again ASAP.

Every chiropractor I have ever had contact with has advised me straight off the bat that “I’ve seen this before. You’d better book your self in for ‘x’ amount of sessions” or even better, the first snake oil dealing back cracker advised me that I would have to wear orthotics and visit her every 3 - 4 weeks for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, as I am not one of the 50 richest people in the UK, this was out. On one occasion I visited her and said my back was a bit out after playing basketball. She advised that I should never do any jumping again “as that sort of thing isn’t for me.”

The next money grabbing witch I visited at Uni after I tweaked my back deadlifting made me fill out a five page PAR-Q and then dug some sort of rather uncomfortable reflexology mace into my quads, lower back and ITB and asked me to advise when the pain sensation eased in the slightest.

As the endorphins kicked in after about 10 seconds I told her “Now”. She would then stop said prodding. The entire consultation lasted about 11 minutes, including filling out the PAR-Q. I was given a “student discount” rate (in 2003) of £28.

She then advised further sessions would be £35 and that I should book in for 5 more straight away. When I asked what would happen if I was okay after the second session, she advised I wouldn’t be. She had of course “seen this thing before”. Needless to say I made my excuses, left and brought 20 Ibuprofen from the chemist for £2-49.

They are all in my experience, to a man, thieves, cutthroats and liars.

Luckily one of the blokes at my rugby club is an osteopath, who gave me mates rates of £18 (a 50% discount) as I played rugby and sorted me straight away and said don’t come back unless you hurt yourself again.

Depends who is it i guess, i actually got help from a chiro cleaning up my squat and deadlift form and actually advised deadlifting (once i was healed) my uncle is also a chiropracter and a serious lifter as well, im assuming he knows his stuff as well.

In your case, I say yeah, he is probably ripping you off. I’ve been to two chiro’s in my life, and both, while different, have been life savers. In senior year of high school, I was tackled during soccer in gym class and knocked 3 vertebrea in my upper back out.

A few visits to the local chiro and I was able to walk, run and move around like normal again. As far as a guy for athletes, he was ok.

I go to a Sports Chiropractor now, who probably is one of the best doctors I’ve met. He is one of my teammates on my OL team, and he has helped with so many things its crazy.

I sprained my wrist 4 weeks ago, and after going to him a few times, tryed to adjust it and see if it healed with ice and such, he applied some Kinesio tape, and next day, was brand new. Did the same thing with my lower back after a meet where I tweaked my lowerback, 2 sessions in and it was back to normal.

honestly, find a chiro who is an athlete themselves, one who understands diet and how the whole body works from the ground up.

I’ve found a good chiropractor. I went after hurting my lower back doing kettlebell swings. I found out that arthritis is beginning to set in in my lower back and that my spine is a little crooked. I went 3 times a week for about 4 weeks and have been going 2 times a week for 5 weeks. The cracking feels good but what I really love is laying face down with the electrodes on my lower and mid back with a heating pad on. I have awsome naps and wake up so relaxed. I have another re-evaluation next week and will probably go once per week after that. After insurance and getting 20% off for paying as a lump sum it’s only $16 per session. I asked him what exercises I should do and he told me lots of squats, romainian deadlifts, and rows.

Good luck!

I think the e-stim and heat is doing more than the chiro…

Chiropractor = Snake oil.

Go to a real doctor that specializes in athletics or sports issues. Also go get a massage and get a foam roller.