Managing Your Chiropractic Associate – The Offer

Whenever I am consulted by a clinic that is new to the challenges of hiring a chiropractic associate, one of the first questions I get is how to structure the compensation. There are many great ways to set up the pay and bonus structures so that it will optimally motivate your new chiropractic associate. In this article I will attempt to discuss some of the best compensation arrangements I have encountered and setup over the years.

However, before we jump into those payment structure scenarios specifically, let’s spend some time reviewing some of the obstacles and mindsets encountered so that you are well up to speed on the realities of working with associates.

Reality Checks

I first want to address an issue that I see so often on blog posts, forums and so on concerning the hiring of chiropractic associates. We have all heard it before “… chiropractors eat their own… ”

Now I realize that in chiropractic, as in all professions and all areas of life, there are doctors that will take advantage of a chiropractic associate and visa versa. Nevertheless, upon further reflection it must be remembered that this is a free society. No one is forced to work anywhere and hence always has the ability to seek a better paying position elsewhere. In addition, supply and demand most often dictates what a chiropractic associate doctor is paid. This is out of our individual control. These are market forces at work, not the greediness of every chiropractic business owner.

If the average chiropractic associate’s base salary in a certain area is 4 thousand a month should I pay 6 thousand because I am a good guy? Not if I am a good business man I wouldn’t. Now, of course this does not take into account a myriad of mitigating circumstances. What is this particular doctor’s experience? Does he bring a patient base with him? Has he in some way demonstrated or do you have some assurance that the candidate can build up and manage a large patient base on his own – verses just wanting to show up and treat whoever is placed on his schedule?

A common scenario that I have seen arise occurs when a chiropractic associate has been working for a clinic for a good period of time, usually a few years, and they know the numbers that they bring in and the collections that result from their efforts, yet they do not feel their pay has grown relative to those numbers. In fact, in most situations where I see a disgruntled chiropractic associate this is usually the case. The underlying cause of this is often poor communication on the part of the owner (or fear of honestly communicating) and a lack of understanding on the part of the associate.

It is common for an owner to feel that “I Am The Owner” because well, he is after all, but because of that, the owner often feels that the employee shouldn’t concern him or herself with the business matters of the clinic. And, in many, but not all cases this may be correct. However, the associate is really not ‘just another employee’ and as such should not just be treated like one.

Failing to adequately communicate from the start often creates problems; especially as it relates to pay structures. There obviously are reasons for why the pay and bonuses are valued at what they are. One reason could be because the owner ‘carried’ the chiropractic associate for quite a number of months (or years) while the associate built a practice. And when the success of the chiropractic associate finally comes the owner may now feel he is entitled to reap the rewards of taking on those risks and extending those early efforts. In reality, that is a valid standpoint on the side of the owner; however, the chiropractic associate needs to realize that from the beginning of employment.

Another observation regarding chiropractic associates is how often they will come up with a number in their head that they think the owner should make off them. I will often hear an associate say something like “… I can understand the clinic making about 5K per month, but I’m bringing in 20K, it’s not fair!… ” The issue here is not the deal, the issue again is communication.

When a chiropractic associate starts bringing in a substantial amount of income (keep in mind, these are patients he has fostered over time, not those that were handed over to him when he first started at the clinic) in many instances he becomes more like a partner; regardless of ‘ownership’. And, when the associate is really good, and he is making the clinic a good deal of profit, then perhaps a partnership of some sort should be considered at that time. After all, you don’t want to lose someone who makes you money – this is where greed or ego can ruin a good thing!

One solution to help get the chiropractic associate’s skewed view back into focus is for you to somewhat ‘open the books’ to him. Especially when hiring a new graduate as an associate, they will often have no concept of what it takes and what it costs to run a busy practice. That chiropractic associate may think very differently about his $20K contribution when he finds out that the clinic costs $80K per month to operate. I have found that sometimes you actually have to show the chiropractic associate the numbers, show them the bills, the payroll, etc. It is way too common for them to overlook all that it takes to run a practice and incorrectly assume that the money they are bringing in just goes right into your pocket.

Another common scenario also concerns the new graduate. As is true with most of us when we first graduate, it is common to think you can do better than the establishment, or the perceived status quo attitude of the ‘older’ doctors. A new chiropractic associate/graduate with this mindset will see that $20K per month and think, “I could open my own practice for $3-5K per month overhead and start pocketing $15K per month!” A good owner will recognize this green attitude and over time educate the chiropractic associate on the realities, the risks and often the hardships of owning a business.

So… now that I have laid the groundwork for some serious considerations regarding the realities of working with chiropractic associates, let me discuss a few specific compensation scenarios.

Compensation Scenarios

Treating Associate

The first consideration when it comes to what to pay a chiropractic associate revolves around what the position entails. If you have a very established clinic, with a steady and self-perpetuating new patient funnel and you are looking for just a treating doctor then you are in the best of all hiring situations. Typically in this scenario you as the clinic owner will not be working in the clinic, and this doctor will take over most if not all of the patient treatment. This is what most chiropractic associates really want. Most, don’t really inherently want to do tons of new patient talks, health fairs on weekends, and every other type of self-promotion often required of a new doctor. If they really had a burning desire to do all that then that chiropractor would probably be opening their own clinic.

Find a principled chiropractor that just wants to adjust and pay him a salary just above whatever else he could get paid in your area. If you want the cream of the crop then you have to pay more than the guy next door; how much more should be dependent upon what the security of that new doctor will mean to you. For me it is worth a premium to have a chiropractic associate who shows up all the time, never complains, does his job and is very appreciative of the position he has. Up to 125% of the going wage is reasonable to me.

On top of that though, I am a big fan of the monthly bonus. In this situation however I caution against doing a bonus based on collections. A chiropractic associate in this position should not necessarily be privy to the figures the clinic produces; in addition, collections can often be very cyclical and not representative of the work done on the part of the doctor – especially in his eyes. A simple system that I use is based solely on the patient visits (PV).

Whatever the average PV (over the last 12 months) was per month before the doctor came to the clinic, plus 10% should be the base. Should the chiropractic associate do a much better than average job then he should be compensated appropriately. So, if the clinic routinely has seen about 600PV/month then the doctor’s bases would be 660. Anything above that will yield the doctor $_____ per PV. That figure of course depends upon how much revenue your clinic generates per PV. I would not have a problem paying a good chiropractic associate about 20% of that number, so if you brought in an average of $100/PV then the doctor would receive a bonus of $20/PV for every patient visit over 660.

Having a bonus structure based on PV not only sets a good goal but is also very easy for everyone to track. When I have organized pay structures in this manner there are many months where the chiropractic associate makes more money in bonus than in salary. I am perfectly fine with that because he is making money by that fact that he is making me money verses say a fluke higher than normal collections month that he inappropriately reaps the benefit of.

Hybrid Associate

The next chiropractic associate compensation type is more of what I call a ‘hybrid’ position. In this situation you, as the owner/chiropractor, will often be treating alongside this doctor (at least for a while). You desire to hire this chiropractic associate to help you out with your patient load but also to build his own practice so you can create another income stream from within your practice.

In my experience, of the 3 types of chiropractic associates that I discuss in this article, this is the most difficult to find and manage. Reason being, you are looking for someone that is hungry; someone that is willing to work hard for perhaps little pay in the form of salary but with good incentives to build. If you can find such an associate who is wanting to grow like this, yet truly doesn’t have the ability and/or the desire to actually go out and do it all himself and just needs your guidance, then you may have found a diamond in the rough.

The risks are perhaps obvious. This can easily turn out to be the type of chiropractic associate that I described above, the one who will see his numbers, think he can do so much better down the street on his own, and use your practice as a launching pad. This is the most common fear of any clinic looking to hire a new chiropractic associate.

To find a good associate of this type you truly have to do your due diligence in making sure you hire just the right person. This is one of many very good reasons to consider using a placement agency to do the ‘filtering’ for you. The other side of the coin in this scenario is hiring the doctor who shows all the promise in the world but overtime proves unable or unwilling to perform. This is the doctor that sold you on being ‘highly motivated’ when in reality they just want to be a treating doctor. In the last article in this series we will discuss how to severe ties when this unfortunate situation arises.

Compensation of a chiropractic associate in this position should be generous enough to attempt to ensure long-term loyalty, yet produce a good and fair profit to you. I have consulted with clinics, as well as put into place associates just like this in my clinics. The chiropractic associate made a very small base, say $2,000 to $3,000 per month; however, anything they bring in above a certain amount – often I use the figure of double their base – is then split on a percentage basis.

The reason I like to use ‘double their base’ is that it sets it up like a 50/50 partnership wherein they are paid the first base amount and hence I take the risk in the beginning and then the next equal base amount is paid to me. That way I am back to ‘even’ before any percentage is paid out to the chiropractic associate.

The percentage split should be arranged based on the expense structure of the clinic. In a very expensive to run clinic, a 50/50 split (on gross revenue) might be unreasonable to you the owner. If your overhead is 80% of your total revenue, and you are keeping only 50% of the chiropractic associate’s gross income, then you are potentially only profiting 10% while he is profiting 50% (above the base). That is not a fair arrangement for the owner. However, a smaller satellite or otherwise less expensive to operate clinic might allow you to profit just fine on the 50/50 arrangement. For just that reason, I love to manage chiropractic associates in small clinics; we can both make a good and fair profit and the long-term relationship is more secure!

Independent Contractor Associate

The third type of chiropractic associate compensation structure is really more of a partnership, although you most likely will not be handing over any ownership. This is the independent contractor chiropractic associate who starts out with zero income (or maybe a fee paid to him per PV for each patient of yours he treats) and then just receives a percentage of his gross revenue. Again, depending on many factors, this percentage is usually somewhere between 40-60%.

If you are desiring this situation to be long-term you may want to operate more in an open-book environment – especially after a year of two of proving himself – and be willing to alter that percentage in the chiropractic associate’s favor as he reaches higher levels of gross income. Again, this is not the time to be greedy. I would have no problem with a chiropractic associate taking home $20K per month if he was creating $12-15K per month additional income for me that I otherwise would not have received would he not have joined my practice. As a motivating schedule, something like the following would not be unreasonable:

50% of gross revenue paid to clinic from 0-10K
40% of gross revenue paid to clinic from 10K-20K
30% of gross revenue paid to clinic from 20-30K
20% of gross revenue paid to clinic on all collections >30K

Keep in mind given this schedule that the percentage paid to the owner only lowers for the gross revenue that fits into that new tier. In other words, the first $10K is still at 50% and then any gross revenue between $10,001 and $20,000 is subject to the 40% and so on.

Also, as a disclaimer, the numbers just provided would work well in a clinic that already does somewhere around 50K/month in gross revenue. A chiropractic associate that adds another 30K to that will essentially be paying the clinic 12K, which may be a number you consider fair if he truly ads little to no greater expense to your overall structure while at the same time helping you reduce your patient load.

7 Key Reasons To Seek Chiropractic Care

Chiropracticis a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Those that use chiropractic care regularly recommend it highly for a variety of reasons. Here are the seven best reasons to find a chiropractor when you aren’t feeling your very best.

1. Chiropractic Has Been Proven Safe

Chiropractic is one of the safest therapies available if you are suffering from any neuromusculoskeletal issues such as back, neck, joint, or head pain.

What exactly does safe mean? If you want to talk numbers, then the risk of injury is 1 in 286,000,000, or 0.0002%. Compare that to standard treatments such as medication and surgery where the risk of injury is 1 in 1428. That’s right – chiropractic manipulation is that much safer, and as you’ll learn later in this report, more effective as well.

The most common issue involving chiropractic isn’t an injury at all. It is simply some mild soreness after adjustment. Think about how your muscles feel if you’ve done something you don’t normally do. You feel sore because your muscles, bones, and ligaments have moved in ways they are not used to moving. This is what happens during a chiropractic adjustment but on a minor scale. Any soreness you feel will be gone within 24 hours and most patients feel immediately better with no soreness whatsoever.

Why is chiropractic so safe? There are four main reasons:

Chiropractors have years of schooling with coursework that includes classes on all aspects of the spine.
Chiropractors have been trained, doing clinical work long before becoming licensed.
Chiropractors continue their education long after graduation, completing courses yearly in order to maintain a license to practice.
Finally, and most importantly, a chiropractor’s basic philosophy is that the body is capable of healing itself. The purpose of a chiropractor is simply to remove the subluxations, or blockages, that occur in spine so that the body can do its job.

Chiropractic is so safe that agencies unassociated with chiropractic tout its benefits. For instance, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, found that complications are rare. Not only that, they suggest that chiropractic should be used before surgery is considered. And finally, they state that prescription drugs are not recommended for most back pains.

2. Chiropractic Has Been Proven Effective for Pain
If you have pain, chiropractic may be just what you need. Studies in the United States and other parts of the world show that chiropractic manipulations are effective. One study in California found that chiropractic was effective 86% of the time for general lower back pain.

But what of acute lower back pain? A report released by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research recommended chiropractic as the best treatment for this ailment. A study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Jefferson County (Missouri) Rehabilitation Centre showed that there was immediate improvement when chiropractic was used to treat acute low back pain.

Study after study has been conducted and study after study has concluded that spinal adjustment is superior to other treatments for acute pain. But chiropractic is beneficial to more than just general, chronic, or acute lower back pain.

Patients of chiropractic seek help for neck pain or discomfort as well. In fact, 19% of patients report neck pain at the first consultation. This pain is usually caused by accident or injury but can also be brought on by every day living.

The modern medical treatment for neck pain is either immobilization or physical therapy. However, studies have shown that spinal adjustments are more effective. For instance, a study done in the Netherlands observed patients receiving one of the three treatments. They found that spinal adjustments improved overall physical functioning more than the other treatments.

Beyond the back and neck, patients often seeks chiropractic care for headaches, including migraines. For chiropractic patients, migraines are often reduced or resolved without using pain killers or other prescription medications. A study was published by chiropractic doctors at University of Odense and the Nordic Institute of Chiropractic and clinical Biochemist in Denmark showing that spinal adjustments and soft tissue therapy allowed for steady improvement.

Many people understand the role of chiropractic in the back, neck, and head because chiropractors are seen as “back doctors.” However, chiropractic has proven effective for many other conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, infantile colic, and much more.

For pain associated with a variety of conditions, chiropractic is proven effective, often more effective than modern medical treatments. Coupled with the safety of chiropractic, it should be your first choice when dealing with pain.

3. Chiropractic is Less Invasive and Drug Free

If you go to a medical doctor due to neck and back pain, you are likely to be given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDS. Although these drugs are given out regularly, they do have significant risks t hat are far greater than the typical issue, soreness, seen with chiropractic.

NSAID risks include:

Allergic reactions, some of which can be life threatening
Hives or rashes
Increased risk of heart attack
Increased risk of stroke
Gastrointestinal issues such as bleeding or ulcers

Another typical treatment is bed rest. But this, too, can cause problems such as muscles atrophy, heart and lung weakness, bone loss, and blood clots.

Let’s not forget surgery. Surgery is used for neck and back pain whenever painkillers and bed rest don’t work and the risks of surgery are great. They include:

Breathing issues due to anesthesia – a patient can quit breathing entirely
Blood loss leading to transfusions
Cardiovascular risks such as heart attack or stroke
Scar tissue
Blood clots
Lung collapse
Injury to other areas of the body
Numbness and tingling of parts of the body
Swelling and bruising
And even death

Chiropractic has none of these risks because it is not invasive. There is no cutting on the body and there is no medication prescribed. To avoid the risks associated with NSAIDS and surgery, chiropractic is an excellent choice.

4. Chiropractic is Less Disruptive to Your Lifestyle

Chiropractic is done on an outpatient basis and has easy recovery, often less than 24 hours of minimal soreness. Consider this in comparison to the recovery of surgery.

After any surgical procedure, the body needs time to repair tissues damaged during the surgery so that the body can return to normal. Surgical recovery is a process that can take time, often long periods of time requiring medication and bed rest. In fact, pushing yourself too hard after surgery will cause setbacks and make your recovery time longer.

Chiropractic, on the other hand, has limited recovery time. At most, chiropractic patients may feel some mild soreness in the area of the manipulation. This soreness is typically gone in a matter of hours, not days or weeks as with surgery.

Additionally, surgical patients that are older, out of shape, overweight, or generally in poor health will take far longer to heal and be ready for every day life. Although different factors will dictate how quickly you are pain free, the ability to resume your lifestyle happens quickly with most patients, often with as little as one manipulation.

5. Chiropractic is Less Expensive

In August 1999, Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) of Kansas presented a study titled “Lumbago Treatment.” When viewed per treatment episode, chiropractic was shown to be more cost effective than anesthesiology, neurosurgery, neurology, registered physical therapy, orthopedic reconstructive surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and rheumatology.

Why so cost effective? Medical doctors and physical therapists rely on:

CT scans

Over 50% of the charges are simply for diagnostic procedures and not for actual pain relief.

On the other hand, the majority of chiropractic expense comes from office based treatment with less than 10% of costs arising from diagnostics, typically in the form of spinal x-rays.

A study in the May 2007 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that chiropractic resulted in a 60.2% reduction in hospital admissions, 59.0% reduction in hospital days, 62.0% reduction in outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 83% reduction pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine.

By reducing these items, overall costs associated with chiropractic care are significantly less than that of traditional medical care.

6. Chiropractic Helps With Injuries Due to Accidents

Chiropractic is beneficial in treating various injuries such as sprains, pulled muscles, and joint problems due to auto, sports, work, and everyday injuries. The most common injuries due to accidents are:

Lower back misalignment
Upper back and neck misalignment
Repetitive motion injuries

Whiplash is the sudden movement that causes distortions to the neck. This type of sudden movement often happens during a car crash, even one at very low speeds. Although you may not initially feel any pain, the vertebrae that move out of place will eventually cause problems with the nerves and cause you pain from misalignment or subluxations. Medical doctors prescribe pain meds and bed rest for whiplash, which may be good for a day or two, but not for the long run. There is no way to remain in bed indefinitely nor is it possible to function regularly on pain medications. A chiropractor will help you with the cause of the problem rather than help you manage the symptoms.

Lower back misalignment can happen suddenly or over a long period of time. For instance, you can improperly lift something heavy resulting in immediate back pain, or you can simply have poor posture that results in back pain over time. The misalignment causes subluxations that can be corrected using chiropractic.

Lower back pain is made up of several different low back problems including:

Vertebral subluxations
Injured discs
Muscle strain
Ligament sprain
And more.

The ability to correct injuries holds true for the upper back and neck as well.

Repetitive Motion Injuries are a fast growing source of pain in the United States often associated with the workplace, particularly sitting at a computer terminal for long periods of time. Repetitive motion injuries cause less oxygen to get into the muscles and this causes scar tissue to develop. Chiropractic releases the subluxations causing the pain.

So, whether your pain is from a car accident or merely sitting incorrectly at work, chiropractic is a way for you to feel better fast.

7. Chiropractic: Because You Live, Move, and Breathe

Because you are alive and move about, you are sure to cause a misalignment of your spine at one time or another. Simple movements such as sitting or bending can cause problems. So can walking, running, stretching, and lifting. In fact, any movement can create a subluxation and subluxations cause pain when left alone. So, if you move, then you can benefit from chiropractic.

Whether you are out running every day or see yourself more as a couch potato, chiropractic can be beneficial to you. It is the most effective natural healthcare available. And, as you’ve learned, it is safe, effective, non-invasive, inexpensive, and great for any injuries you may have. If you live, move, or breathe, you should have a doctor of Chiropractic as a member of your personal health care team.

Top 8 Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic

What is Chiropractic?

Does it really work and how?

Is Chiropractic Safe?

At what age should a person have a chiropractic check-up?

Does it hurt?

Does my insurance cover Chiropractic? / Is Chiropractic expensive?

How much time does a chiropractic visit take?

Once I start care do I have to go forever? / Does my body become dependent on chiropractic care?

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a natural healing science, art and philosophy primarily concerned with detecting and then eliminating interference to your nervous system. Since your nervous system controls every aspect of your body, chiropractic can have a major impact on multiple areas of your health. Founded in 1895, it is the world’s largest drug-free healthcare system and the 3rd largest primary healthcare system in the USA behind medicine and dentistry. Over 25 million Americans will see their chiropractor this year.

Does it really work and how?

Yes Virginia, chiropractic is the real deal! Chiropractic is firmly grounded in science and has an ever-growing body of research showing it to be safe, effective, comfortable and affordable. The latest estimates show that over 85% of Olympic athletes utilize chiropractic care to enhance performance and stay healthy as do most professional athletes. No question that it works!

Chiropractic is based on the fact that every structure and function of your body is controlled by the nervous system. If there is interference to the nervous system, then whatever body part or function that nerve was controlling will stop working at 100%.

For example, if a person suffers a pinched (irritated) bundle of nerves in their lower back they frequently experience back pain and muscle spasms. What most people do not realize is that the nerves in the low back not only control the muscles but other organs as well including the colon, bladder and reproductive organs. Irritation to the same nerve bundle can, in addition to muscle spasms, cause symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bladder control issues and menstrual cycle problems. What surprises many is that a person with a pinched nerve bundle in their low back may have the other symptoms but no pain and no muscle spasms! Only about 10% of your nervous system tells you about pain so you can have a problem in 90% of your nervous system and NO PAIN.

Chiropractors focus on the spine because this is where the delicate nerves are most likely to be compressed or irritated as they pass through on their way to control all parts of your body.

The majority of spinal problems arise from physical, mechanical stress to your body such as accidents, injuries, prolonged sitting etc.. These stresses and injuries result in stiff immovable joints which in turn cause surrounding joints to become overworked, loose and eventually damaged. The treatment to correct these problems also has to be physical and mechanical in nature.

It is crazy to think that taking a drug is going to loosen up a stiff, damaged spinal joint. The drug may cover up the pain and symptoms but will do nothing to correct the physical cause of the pain. In fact taking drugs over time will allow the joint to become more and more permanently damaged.

Chiropractors employ many gently methods of physically restoring the normal motion and function to your spine which reduces nerve interference and allows your body to heal itself. These treatments are called spinal adjustments and are typically, not only pain-fee, but an enjoyable experience.

Is Chiropractic Safe?

Yes, chiropractic care is exceptionally safe! The minuscule risks of chiropractic care have been greatly exaggerated by our competition in order to scare you away from the safest form of healthcare and back to medicine, the most dangerous form. Chiropractic has a better safety record than any drug, even baby aspirin and Tylenol! Medical treatment has become the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA, right behind heart disease and cancer, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

An interesting statistic is that you are more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning than killed by a vending machine and you are more likely to be killed a vending machine than by a shark and more likely to be killed by a shark than by a chiropractor!

Now knowing how safe, conservative and effective chiropractic care is, doesn’t it make sense to you to start with chiropractic first and then if you don’t get well go on to more radical and dangerous forms of care like drugs and surgery? We are a backward society that often starts with the most invasive dangerous treatments first and then sees the chiropractor afterward as a last resort. Insanity.

Please help us permanently dispel this myth about chiropractic care being risky. Educate your friends and family. Spread the word and save a life!

At what age should a person have a chiropractic check-up?

Chiropractic care has fantastic benefits for all ages and ideally a person should have their first check-up shortly after birth.

I know what you may be thinking, “Infant check-up!!?” Why would a brand new baby need chiropractic care? Stop for a minute and just think about what a baby goes though coming into this world. Even during a normal natural delivery there are tremendous pressures on the baby’s neck, back and pelvis of up to 90 pounds per square inch.

With modern medicine turning childbirth into a medical procedure instead of a natural process, infant trauma and injuries are sky rocketing. You see when you drug the mother, her ability to feel and push the baby out is impaired which forces the doctor to have to pull and twist the baby out from the birth canal. Babies are not designed to be pulled and stretched during delivery which is unnatural and causes injury, they are designed to be compressed and pushed out of the birth canal which is natural and much safer. This is the same reason c-section deliveries have a much higher rate of spinal injury compared to natural childbirth.

It takes just a split second for a spinal injury to occur during birth. An unexpected push from the mother, a pull at the wrong angle from the doctor, too much force from the doctor, the use of forceps or vacuum and you have a sprain or even worse injury to the baby’s spine. This injury, called a vertebral subluxation, if undetected and left untreated can plague the baby for the rest of their life, limiting them from reaching their full potential. “As the twig is bent so grows the tree!”

OK, chiropractic is safe and good for babies but what about senior citizens? I have heard the most ignorant statement repeatedly from seniors: “I know, at my age, I have arthritis so there is no point in trying to fix my spine” WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

ALL ages can benefit from chiropractic care. Even a single chiropractic adjustment in the right circumstances has resulted in unbelievable improvement in the quality-of-life of many patients. Until you are dead, your body has an incredible ability to heal and improve. Never give up on improving your health! If your doctor ever tells you “You’ll just have to learn to live with it” he/she is actually telling you it is time to find a new doctor, one that will help keep you improving and maintaining your health and well-being for life.

Does treatment hurt?

For most people the chiropractic treatments, called spinal adjustments, are not only comfortable but are actually an enjoyable experience. All treatment is geared to each individual’s comfort level and the old “No Pain No Gain” approach is never used. It is heartwarming to see children who are so small they can’t even get up on the adjusting table by themselves, fighting with their siblings to be the FIRST one adjusted. Pediatricians would be green with envy to see how even the smallest kids are happy to be in the chiropractic office and how they love to get adjusted.

Does my insurance cover Chiropractic?

Although most insurance policies have some coverage, the reality is that in most cases it is very limited and so highly managed that, like most other health services, it pays for only a portion of needed care.

There is currently a prevalent form of craziness that I call “Insurance Insanity”. It has 2 main parts: Firstly many people have this notion that if they can just somehow obtain really great health insurance (which by the way no longer exists) that this in some way protects them and makes them healthy. Secondly, they think that if a service is not covered by their insurance that they really don’t need it. CRAZY! A prime example is a patient who needed about $1,200 worth of chiropractic care, who had the money but refused the necessary treatment because he felt it was too expensive. When asked if it was more cost-effective to let his spine continue degenerate to the point where he will need a $200,000 surgery which would leave him disabled for life? His straight-faced answer was “Well, my insurance will cover the cost of the surgery.” Now that my friend is just plain crazy.

When it comes to care, if you need it, you need it! Regardless of if it is covered, regardless of if you can “afford” it and regardless of if you want it! If you need it, you need it.

A much better question to ask is “What is the best value for my healthcare dollar?”. Investing your money is all about value not amount. For example, I believe that a dollar wasted is too much but spending a half of a million dollars to buy a one million dollar house is an extraordinary deal.

The truth that any patient with a severely degenerated spine would gladly sign over the deed to their million dollar house, to the doctor, if he could restore their health. The sad fact is that once damaged, there is no cure. There are no spine and nervous system replacements and it is very unlikely there ever will be. What is absolutely tragic is that this type of degeneration is almost 100% preventable with regular check-ups and proper chiropractic maintenance.

Chiropractic is an exceptional value for your healthcare dollar. If you need it, the benefits you receive from chiropractic are incalculable compared to the amount of money spent! In fact they are priceless.

How much time does a chiropractic visit take?

For your first visit, allow 45 minutes to 1 hour. On this visit you will need to complete some obligatory health forms, you will have a chance to sit down and consult with the doctor to review your symptoms, history, lifestyle and your health goals.

The next step is a chiropractic physical examination, some very high-tech nervous system scans, possibly an x-ray study and finally, if you are in pain, some first aid care and home instructions.

Typically on the second visit allow 30 to 45 minutes. On this visit you will receive your doctor’s report of findings where he will let you know if he can help you, he will show you what is wrong and why, how long care will take, how much care will cost and finally he will let you know of your options for care. You will then receive your first full chiropractic adjustment (treatment).

On subsequent visits allow 10 to 20 minutes door to door. The actual treatments may only take a few minutes once your work-up is complete and you have set up your treatment plan and goals.

Once I start care do I have to go forever?

In a great practice the doctor should support all clients at the level and frequency that they choose. There should never be any pressure to do anything you are not 100% behind. You may take advantage of all the phenomenal health and wellness benefits for as long and as often as you choose. Great doctors should always respect and support the wishes of their clients.

Does my body become dependent on chiropractic care?

This question always make me smile. There is absolutely nothing about chiropractic care that makes you dependent on care. There is however something that is highly addicting about feeling really good. It is funny but once people start feeling great they tend to want to stay feeling great. Chiropractic care helps your body to function at a much higher level which feels fantastic. Chiropractic care is similar to exercise but without all the sweating. If you consistently work out, the benefit is you become physically fit which feels much better that being unfit and out of shape. Most people who are in great shape continue to work out because they like the feeling of being in shape. What happens if they stop exercising? They continue to feel good for a time but all too quickly lose their conditioning and lose the benefits of feeling great. Now I ask you is exercise addicting? Does your body become dependent on exercise? Of course not and there is also nothing about chiropractic care that makes you dependent either.