What to Look for in a PT or Chiropractor
There are several things to consider with any practice. Their hours of operation, location, cost, amount of your time required, and quality of service. We are going to focus on that last critical element here: quality of service, which is difficult to determine ahead of time as a consumer. It essentially depends on two things:
- The skill level of the practitioner
- The amount of focused time he/she gives you
To help you, here are 5 Things you Want to Know.
How much one-on-one time do I get with the PT/chiropractor?
The more one-on-one time with your practitioner, the better. Call and ask how much time patients normally spend on machines, stimulation, heat/ice. Also ask how much of this is with someone else, such as a physical therapy assistant (PTA), aide, or tech.
Do you have private treatment rooms?
These are good because they ensure undivided attention on you. Also ask if there is a motorized, mechanical table. For a true hands-on practitioner, this helps him/her treat the body at just the right angle. If they do quality hands-on work all day, you’d expect them to have the top tools of the trade.
Do you practice overlapping appointments or “double booking”?
It may be better to first ask how long most patients are in the building finishing their treatment or exercises. Then ask how many patients are typically scheduled per practitioner per hour. Do the math, and then ask the question directly if you like. You don’t want your practitioner distracted by another patient if you can avoid it.
What is the training or specialty of the therapist/chiropractor?
This can get overwhelming really quickly as I mention in “What’s the difference between a PT and Chiropractor”. Try to bring these questions to the PT or chiropractor directly. It’s good if she has experience, so ask about her career. Ask generally at first. You want to hear her say that most of her career has been focused on hands-on treatment (called manual therapy by PTs, or adjustments by chiropractors). This is important because more hands-on time means more experience and skill in sensing/diagnosing abnormal movement. A practitioner that relies mostly on exercise or machines may be great, but you want someone with experience finding and fixing the underlying problems first. There is no substitute for the hours of hands-on experience in a diagnostician. Ask what techniques she uses most often. Jot them down and research them. Check YouTube. Try to get a sense of how aggressive or gentle the techniques are and what you think you can tolerate.
Finally, pay a visit
It never hurts to check things out for yourself. Go swing by the facility unannounced, and ask for a tour. A website and/or social media can also help you to get a feel.
There are many benefits from Craniosacral Therapy (CST), which is a gentle, non-invasive form of Osteopathic Manual Therapy that I use every day in my practice. It’s great for people who find conventional approaches (such as medications, exercises or...