In talking with some patients, I’ve come to realize not many people understand the importance of a chiropractor being a portal-of-entry provider (meaning, you don’t need to have your MD write a script for you to see a chiropractor). This is a valuable commodity, especially if you have insurance, of which you can take advantage.
First of all, let’s talk about why this is an excellent option.
From a chiropractor’s perspective:
We endure the same amount of schooling as a other medical professionals at a doctorate level, except we focus more on the biomechanical aspect. This is important because a chiropractor can rule out red flags or deadly conditions and/or refer you to the appropriate provider.
From a patient’s perspective:
(Most of) You have insurance to take care of any of the health-related problems. Take advantage of it! Why live with neck pain/headaches when you can have your condition treated effectively and be pain-free? Also, it’s always a good idea to have anything that isn’t normal examined by a professional to make sure it’s not a bigger problem than you think.
So how can neck pain kill you?
Essentially there are two ways that we will discuss, which I’m going to call non-diagnosis and misdiagnosis. Non-diagnosis is leaving a neck condition untreated until it is too late. These are the red flag conditions in which chiropractors are trained to diagnose and refer to a specialist such as beginning signs of stroke, tumor, cancer, etc. Misdiagnosis is essentially a condition that is diagnosed wrong. Although misdiagnosis can happen in any office or with any provider, some are more extreme. Of these most extreme, I’ve seen many of patients that had common, successfully treated-with-chiropractic conditions that have undergone risky operations because of misdiagnosis. The American Chiropractic Association created a graphic to depict the risks of death with commonly used prescriptions/surgeries versus the risk of stroke with neck manipulation.
Now, would you rather go to a surgeon and have surgery for something that can be treated by a chiropractor in 4-12 visits, or would you rather go to a chiropractor and be referred to a surgeon for a condition that absolutely needs surgery?