People experience an injury or pain and seek the advice of a chiropractor, but not all chiropractors practice the same. Depending on the injury, many individuals are not sure if their treatment is the best option in their case. If you’re seeking a second opinion from a different chiropractor, it’s warranted to consider what qualities you are looking for in your next insured doctor. We’ve detailed seven cases for when an individual should opt for a second opinion.

7 reasons to seek a second  chiropractic opinion

Full spine x-rays

Consider another clinic if a chiropractor suggests a full spine x-ray at your first appointment. Full spine x-rays are unnecessary to start care, especially if there are no red flags or trauma that indicate there is a need for medical attention. X-rays are a limited diagnostic tool; they show a break or change to bones. If either of these revealed themselves on an x-ray it would result in a medical referral. X-rays do not diagnose pain and cannot provide insight on where to adjust or treat the spine. Also, x-rays do not communicate how many chiropractic treatments are needed to recover from an injury. Do not base your care and recovery on x-rays; request a second opinion.


Scans are surface level

Think twice about a clinic if a scanner is used during your examination to determine muscle tension and pain responses. Surface EMG does not give data that is reliable for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. There are several variables that come into play when scanning, potentially changing results minute-to-minute. Don’t allow fancy equipment and a color-coded chart to distract you from what you already feel and experience when it comes to pain.


More than a number

If you feel the chiropractor did not listen or thoroughly examine your area of pain, these are indications of how you will feel during the treatment process. You should not be treated as a number, but deserve to be taken seriously. If this is lacking in the consultation or exam, seek a different clinic. 


Extensive treatment plans

Your injury may require several visits in order to experience recovery, but the number of visits needed cannot be determined based on the first time you meet with a chiropractor. We recommend a second opinion if you are shown lengthy treatment plans, for example 1-2 years or more than 60 appointments, at your initial appointment. The reason why we advise against long-term treatment plans at the beginning of your care is because it is unknown how the body will  respond to adjustments and therapies. Patients should become confident in the direction of their care and see progress in some capacity between 6 and 10 visits. Examples of improvements you may experience over this time include less pain, ease of engaging in daily activities, better sleep, and less restriction in range of motion. You have the right to ask “why” if presented with a treatment plan of 60+ visits or appointments spanning over the course of years. 


Primary pain deserves attention

Some chiropractic philosophies state adjusting the first vertebrae has the ability to heal the body. While this may be true in rare cases, you should receive care in the primary area of concern. For example, if you present knee pain, the chiropractor should treat the knee and surrounding areas. It may be time to find a different provider if you seek care for a specific area of pain, but the clinician does not treat that area. Don’t spend months under care for an area of the body that is not your primary concern. 


Fear tactics

The instillation of fear is a reason to pursue a second opinion. Fear disrupts the ability to process information; do not base your decision on fear placed in you by your chiropractor whether you are discussing treatment for a mild injury or a severe condition. The clinician’s responsibility is to communicate with patients and provide solutions. Sometimes these conversations are difficult to navigate, but it is unacceptable for a professional to utilize fear tactics to prompt a decision surrounding treatment. Chiropractors and other health professionals are resources and guides for you to make decisions that empower you and promote wellness. 


You are not glass

Bodies are strong, resilient, and require movement to heal. To be warned not to exercise after an adjustment or to avoid any regular activity to prevent “undoing” the adjustment is a red flag. While no one wants to experience an injury, the body does not need to be treated like fragile glass in order to heal. Safe activities and modifications should be discussed with your provider and changed over time as the body heals. 



It is important to remember when interacting with any medical or health professional there are always other resources. It is ok to say “no” or to explore a second, even third opinion. When consulting a doctor in non-emergency situations it is ok to say “I need to think about it” and take time before making a decision. Most doctors are happy to give you advice and guidance, but it doesn’t tie you to their recommendation. Ultimately, your health and medical decisions should be based on what is best for you, not the clinic or doctor. You are the advocate for your health!  Your interactions with your health and wellness community should be a partnership- navigating the minor and major injuries or illnesses together.

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