Meeting the Chiropractor

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I’ve had hesitations about chiropractors for years. I don’t know where it stemmed from or where I got the notion that I couldn’t trust them. Nothing dramatic happened to me or anyone I knew. I’m sure there are horror stories out there about chiropractic care, because there are horror stories about everything, but I haven’t read any or sought them out. The distrust is there with no explanation.

It may sound ridiculous to dismiss a healthcare practitioner based on these strange notions, but I’ve done stranger things. Anyways, as I said in part 1 – I took Tami Stackelhouse’s advice about giving chiropractic care a shot using her tips, and found a chiropractor closest to me. That Friday I drove over to their office to fire away my list of questions.

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Quick sidebar about the drive over. It sounded so easy – that drive over, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t. I have anxiety about physicians and those in the healthcare world. Major anxiety. Like I-need-to-take-a-Xanax-to-calm-my-nerves-before-my-heart-beats-out-of-my-chest-and-I-sweat-all-the-water-out-of-my-body type of anxiety. It’s only two miles away, probably closer, but it didn’t matter.

All sorts of questions were running through my mind. Questions like,

  • What if they laugh me out of the front door?
  • What if the other clients look at me and can tell I don’t belong there?
  • What if the chiropractor says what I want to hear only to get my money?
  • What if it he doesn’t know what I’m talking about with my issues?
  • What if it doesn’t believe in fibromyalgia?
  • What if he doubts my pain?

On and on these questions went through my head. It was almost dizzying to me. However, I put on my big girl pants and forced myself over to their office. I probably killed all the gas in the car by driving fast/slow, fast/slow with the air conditioning on full blast. Seriously, I was dripping sweat like a water sprinkler. I kept moving forward though just to get it over with faster. I’d be back at home in no time. No sweat. Haha

The chiropractor’s office is one of those houses turned into an office, so it’s got a welcoming look to it. There’s a porch with rocking chairs and a few potted plants out front. The parking lot is not too small or too big and shaded by the surrounding trees. I parked out back and walked around to the front of the house. Office. Building?

The front door leads into a hallway with two rooms to your immediate left and right. Just beyond the hallway is a small receptionist/waiting area with a bathroom off to the side. Yes, I took note of the bathroom because that’s what you do when you have constant stomach issues. Past this area is another hallway which leads to the doctor’s office, another small room which is for massaging, and an intake room with x ray machines and other techy stuff. I take in what I can when I’m visiting a new place that I’m nervous about. It may be a way for me to take some control of my uncertain feelings of a new situation.

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After walking in, a woman greeted me from the room off to my left and said she’d be with me in a minute. I sat down in the waiting area, and I wasn’t there long before a man came out of an office and greeted me. Introduced himself as Dr. Tom* and asked how he could help me. He might have seen my nervousness, I’m not sure because I immediately began babbling why I was there.

I didn’t list my issues or my hesitation with his field of expertise, but did let him know chiropractic care was suggested to me and I had a few questions about him and his practice. I had researched him in the preceding days, so I knew a little as to why he choose chiropractic care. Those reasons together with amazing reviews is what led me to his office. I didn’t mention any of that to him.

Here are the questions I asked him:

  • What is his care philosophy?
  • How does he do adjustments?
  • What is the prep and recovery?
  • Does he use any activators?

I was so nervous that I can’t remember all of the conversation, but I remember the meat of it. He told me of intake procedures and how he determines which care plan is recommended, if any is needed. The intake procedure is simple.

The receptionist, Charlotte*, would give me a packet to fill out at home. The packet is a two page (back and front) questionnaire regarding my medical history, current issues, past issues, and a few other questions. I would then return for a new patient appointment to complete the intake process.

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The rest of the intake consists of reviewing the packet with Charlotte, and then she would run some tests on me to get a better picture of where I was in a chiropractic sense. These tests include a thermal imaging scan, pulse test, and possible X-rays. The appointment would be expected to take 1 hour or so.

I really liked his easy going, straight to business approach. I didn’t want to add fluff to the conversation, and wanted to know exactly what he was all about. That’s exactly what he did. He went on to tell me about his beliefs regarding the body. And this is the part that had me hooked onto his every word.

Dr. Tom believes the body works as a whole – not in parts. That it should be viewed as one and not as symptoms. Medicine shouldn’t be the first option when figuring out a person’s discomforts and ongoing issues. He said medicine is just a temporary fix in most cases (not all), and getting to the root of the cause is where he comes in.

Does he not sound like a functional doctor? Love it! These are beliefs I’ve had for the last few years, and I’ve never imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I’d be fortunate enough to meet a healthcare provider with views aligning with mine. Much less a chiropractor! How bizarre.

After he that, I told him briefly of my nerve issues in my arms and my stomach issues. I didn’t go into details with the previous three weeks of health issues and mysterious ailments. Scaring him off before I got him cornered was not a good idea. Ha! I told him I had an appointment with a neurologist on May 11, and he asked if I’d give him a chance to help before that time. It was a fair request and his points were valid, so I agreed.

As Charlotte came in, Dr. Tom and I shook hands again as he left to care for his client in one of the rooms. She gave me a new patient packet and scheduled me an appointment for April 20 – the following Friday. That gave me one week to tackle that questionnaire as well as my fears of returning. Yes, I was confident in him and his philosophy, but I still had my reservations about the whole idea of chiropractic care.

I was looking forward to the following appointment, but I had no idea it would go the way it did.

Find out how the intake exam went and what to expect with it. Be sure to read the rest of this chiropractic care series.

*All names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Brandi Clevinger

A place where I talk about everything and sugar coat nothing.

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