How do I find a chiropractor without the "woo" - ?
September 9, 2014 7:56 PM   Subscribe

I like how I feel after a chiropractic adjustment, but I am deeply tired of the offices I have gone into where the whole place is like a wellness cult. How do I find a chiropractor in Chicago that's gonna make me feel better without all the woo?

I have endured the well practiced hard sell. I have tolerated the posters all over the walls extolling the virtues of chiropractic for non-nerve-related ailments. I have politely ignored the entreaties to join their weight loss cohort. I don't need any more x-rays, time taken to discuss how chiropractic could help me in all aspects of my life, or wellness plans lasting six months with visits every three days.

I go because getting adjusted does make me feel better, but I am sick to fucking death of all the cult-y crap and am ready to just quit this office and cope with pain instead. Surely there are chiropractic offices in Chicago that treat you like a car that needs a tune-up and not a walking wallet with back pain or a not-yet-converted lost earth-bound spirit of tranquility. Where do I find them? Are there keywords I should look for when searching? If I call one, what sorts of questions do I ask on the phone to suss out their MO?
posted by juniperesque to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a big bucket of nope on chiropractic, but if you really are helped by them...

your keyword is going to be sports.

sports medicine chiropractor
sports chiropractor
sports sports sports

When your business is specifically geared toward treating people who bodily fling themselves at each other for fun/profit you tend to throw the woo crap right out the window.
posted by phunniemee at 8:04 PM on September 9, 2014 [12 favorites]

Unfortunately, there are no chiropractors in Illinois on Chirobase's referral directory, which is the only place I'd even remotely consider finding a chiropractor.

Which I probably wouldn't. Physical therapy uses many of the same techniques and is both less likely to be covered in woo and less likely to injure you horribly. (That really does happen with chiropractic, particularly with neck manipulation; I've talked to quite a few people who've been harmed by it, and you can read more about that sort of thing in more than one previous Ask.) Massage may also provide many of the same benefits, and is usually more accessible than physical therapy.
posted by asperity at 8:05 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

If you decide to go the physical therapist route, I went here and saw Anne McJimsey and liked her a lot.
posted by phunniemee at 8:14 PM on September 9, 2014

The reason you are getting all that crap is that it is an integral part of the chicanery that is chiropractic "adjustment". The stuff you like can be found at pretty much any sports medicine doctor, and physical therapists in particular.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:24 PM on September 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

Massage therapy. That's what you need.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:36 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

Osteopaths can do adjustments and they actually went to medical school. Look for doctors with DO instead of MD after their names.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:10 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

My father in law is just the chiropractor you are looking for, if he isunfortunately not in Chicago. He seeks nothing but the odd pillow or ice pack. Does no woo or hoo, just takes people in makes done small talk adjusts them and send them on their way, with exercises if needed. He has all the same things you do that annoy him about a lot of his colleagues. So they do exist, and I wish I could post a name more locally for you to look into.

His suggestion ask if they sell supplements or offer a lot of add on services like massages etc avoid them like the plague..He also says you may have to have xrays unless you have recent ones because a good chiropractor would not adjust you without seeing them because they need to know there is no other issues etc. Also in many cases insurance and Medicare won't pay without them. Good luck.
posted by wwax at 9:28 PM on September 9, 2014

I'm glad you found something that works for you. There's a lot of judgement around what people choose to do with their bodies, and it's lame. It's your body, do what you want. (But yes, be safe.)

I second the keyword "sports" as a good one. I found a fantastic massage therapist that way. He definitely had a woo side that was apparent in the way he decorated his office, but he was also extremely knowledgable about the body, showed me a bunch of stretches that would help me (which were the same my physical therapist showed me) and was focused on my pain levels and not a nebulous definition of "wellness."

I've spent most of my adult life uninsured, so I have a pretty good sense for which alternative practitioners are bullshitters at this point. The best ones usually have a healthy respect for conventional medicine. If a potential practitioner seems judgmental when I talk about medical doctors, I pass on their services. Good luck finding a good one. They're out there!
posted by ohisee at 10:25 PM on September 9, 2014

Sensible chiropractors do exist. Some good signs include:
- They are part of a practice that includes physical therapy or you got the recommendation from your physical therapist (you should have one anyway if you are getting chiropractic treatment).
- Sports focus, as mentioned above.
- They should be giving you exercises and checking in on them each visit, not just treatments.

When I did a similar search, looking at facebook pages was super helpful as well.
posted by susanvance at 5:51 AM on September 10, 2014

Another thing you can do is ask what kinds of conditions they treat. If they say they can treat anything that's not musculoskeletal, that's a red flag. "Sure, we treat ear infections!" = NOPE
posted by mskyle at 6:07 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

The US Olympic team travels with chiropractors. Chiropractic care definitely has a legitimate place in physical care. My dad (and thus I) see one of the Olympic chiropractors and there is zero woo. I would suggest seeking out a sports chiropractor, as others have suggested. Also, websites tend to be pretty telling; is that not your experience?
posted by DarlingBri at 7:56 AM on September 10, 2014

Chiropracty is at least 90% woo, so you're at a disadvantage there. (If it were actually medically sound, there would be actual medical doctors practicing the discipline. Yes, it makes you feel better, temporarily, and then you need to go again.)

So, your actual best bet is to speak to your doctor about the problems you are experiencing and what to do about them.

If you are insistent on seeing a chiro, however, you want to look for practices that are focused on sports and athletes,
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:41 PM on September 10, 2014

You might ask your PCP - many can and will recommend chiropractic for exactly the sorts of things you're looking for. Otherwise agreeing that looking for those with connections to sports medicine and physical therapy.

That, and word of mouth - have you asked your local friends network?
posted by ldthomps at 12:45 PM on September 10, 2014

I have had good luck with chiropractors that practice ART (active release techniques). They make adjustments with their hands, not a machine or electrical pulses, and are often the folks you see taking care of athletes at all levels, including Olympians. The ART website allows you to search for doctors by location, and there appear to be a number of practitioners in and around Chicago.
posted by zebra at 3:06 PM on September 10, 2014

The keyword you're looking for it "biomechanic".

There are non-woo chiros out there. They're much rarer than the "wellness centres", because the cult-y shit pays better. It's truly unfortunate that the Chiropractic Association allows this pseudo-health care to flourish, because it's hurting what's left of the profession (I've commented on this before).

There are chiropractors who know the difference between conning and care. They usually refer to themselves as biomechanics. This is not a guarantee of a woo-less quest, but is should help cut some of the snake oil salesmen.
posted by kisch mokusch at 6:01 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Shipping container donation   |   What is this dance called? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.