Chiropractic Physicians: Why Do They Want You Coming Back Over and Over?

IcebergIt is interesting when people ask about my profession. After stating I am a physician, the question that always follows is, “what kind of physician?” I found out quickly that my answer (“a really good physician!!) was not the answer they were looking for. Once the word “Chiropractor” was mentioned I could see a mixed review of positive acknowledgement  and “disappointment” in various faces. Although I found it amusing, I would then follow their question with, “so when was the last time you saw your chiropractic physician?” Some, who had never seen a chiropractor before would state, “oh, I don’t believe in chiropractors.” My inquiring mind had to follow this comment with, “what exactly do you not believe in?” After learning this question created temporary neurological impairment demonstrated by their inability to vocalize any meaningful content, I assisted them by asking an additional question. “What do you think a Chiropractic Physician’s job is?” This question seemed to restore all neurological function as the words clearly flowed. Here were some of the comments and beliefs:

  • “They crack your neck and back.”

  • “They massage you to make you feel better.”

  • “They fix you if you’ve been in a car accident.”

  • “I don’t know what the hell they do!”

I began to realize that most people were unclear about the responsibilities a chiropractic physician performed. There are differences based on the state you practice in, however, in the state I reside (North Carolina) we are considered primary chiropractic physicians. This means that patients have direct access to our offices without the requirement of referral from any other health professional. This also means that chiropractic physicians are responsible for performing examinations based on the patient’s health history and presenting symptoms. This places the primary chiropractic physician and primary medical physician on equal grounds when it comes to evaluating and diagnosing health conditions.

Once a diagnosis is made each doctor must decide what type of treatment would best resolve the presenting condition. If the condition related to abnormal function of the musculoskeletal system (typically causing pain, loss of range of motion and or function) a chiropractic physician would provide various forms of treatment to correct these problems. If the condition related to bacterial or viral infections resulting in some form of illness, the medical physician would prescribe various pharmaceutical agents to address the condition. Each doctor has their own purpose and function and, in a utopian society, would work together seeking the best course of action for the patient.

Chiropractic physicians have a tendency to be more holistic. They view the body and person as a WHOLE BEING rather than only treating what appears to be the deficient area, organ or system. Medical physicians have a tendency to focus more on symptom care and helping their patients return to a pre-diseased state. Both types of doctors offer important healthcare services to their patients.

Chiropractors, in general, schedule more office visits with their patients because the goal of their treatment plans address the ROOT CAUSE of the presenting problem rather than narrowing their focus to SYMPTOMS and temporary relief. Most people realize that symptoms are the last phase of a problem to surface and the first phase to diminish. It is important to realize that symptom free is NOT synonymous with healthy. A good example is tooth pain. Anbesol may relieve a tooth ache, but an underlying abscess may be the ROOT CAUSE of tooth pain. Clearing an infection requires more time to “fix” the underlying cause of the problem than anesthetizing (with Anbesol)  nerve pain from a tooth.  In this example, the patient would then be given the following responsibilities.

  • brush teeth twice a day

  • floss daily

  • take prescribed antibiotics to ward off the infection.

If the patient did not comply with the doctor’s instructions, it would likely require more time and more expense to restore proper health.

Chiropractic health care is no different. If the patient does not comply with lifestyle modifications needed to correct the underlying problems, the duration of care can be prolonged. This is THE PRIMARY REASON why people return for office visits over and over. In many cases, patients would rather let a chiropractic physician provide treatment repeatedly to restore normal function than to take the necessary steps to reduce the dependency on the physician. In these cases, the physician is being utilized as a “band-aid. It is important to realize that the physician’s treatment is not an alternative to the patient’s personal responsibilities in restoring and maintaining good health. To maximize health, the chiropractic physician AND THE PATIENT must participate together.

So the next time you hear the “rumor” that chiropractic patients have to keep coming back for more and more care, you will know the truth. Whether you are a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of medicine or doctor of dentistry, your patients need to come back for care for the REST OF THEIR LIVES to optimize their health. The FREQUENCY, however, is all based on the goals and patient compliance. Patients willing to make the necessary lifestyle modifications including (1) nutrition, (2) exercise, (3) hydration, (4) stress reduction and (5) increased quality sleep will likely need care less frequently. Periodic evaluation and treatment in the chiropractic office to maintain proper nerve, muscle and joint function will help slow down or prevent degeneration (joint, bone, disc and soft tissue.) Degenerative changes (including arthritis) are ABNORMAL, but frequently occur because the consumer is not educated on the NECESSARY steps to prevent it.

If you have never been to a chiropractor, I suggest you do some research and find a good qualified physician able to clearly communicate and work with you to help achieve the goals YOU DESIRE. If it’s been a while since your last visit, call your chiropractic physician today to schedule an appointment for a check up. Don’t wait until symptoms surface. Maintaining good health reduces painful episodes, degeneration and saves substantial healthcare costs.



  1. I love your sense of humor in this piece and the care you take to explain your profession. I snickered when I read these words: temporary neurological impairment demonstrated by their inability to vocalize any meaningful content…

    I can relate. This is my response whenever I am asked big questions about significant things. I think my hesitation is more a case of needing to be mindful and articulate in my answer, than anything else, but sometimes it comes of a lack of knowledge. Sometimes.

    I love the visual you used for this piece. Drives home the point that we all need to be more proactive in addressing issues beneath the surface. Another informative post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Overcoming the myth that doctors are boring and lack personality is challenging. I’m glad you enjoyed the levity I attempted to bring to this article. I have a great deal of respect for ALL types of physicians and healthcare professionals. Clarifying our boundaries and working together to provide the best assistance available for our patients needs to remain the highest priority. Any practitioner able to provide this level of care will achieve success for both their patients and themselves.


  2. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    Really great information on what a Chiropractor does! My husband goes to a Chiropractor for his back pain. He goes about twice a week and time will tell if it improves his condition. I think Chiropractor’s fill in a very important blank left by mainstream medicine. Thank you again for another informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you found the information beneficial. More and more people are recognizing the long term value that their chiropractic physicians offer.

      Regarding your husband: Most chiropractic physicians put together a treatment plan to address a musculoskeletal deficiency. Chiropractic care is just one component. FYI-you should discuss with your husband the recommendations his chiropractor made regarding his role (outside the chiropractic office) to help address the diagnosis to make certain everyone is working in the same direction. Chiropractic adjustments by themself may reduce symptomatology, but to prevent an ongoing degenerative process, there are usually tasks the patient is responsible for undertaking as well. Has this been discussed with your husband? If it has, terrific. If it hasn’t, it would be a good idea to clarify this with his chiropractic physician.


      1. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

        His situation is a bit complicated where he broke his back in a bad accident and was paralyzed for a bit. The doctors say that there isn’t a lot they can do for his pain and that he ia lucky to be walking. I am hoping that this treatment helps him manage the pain a little better. Great advice as usuall!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your article and all the humor you added….how wonderful to be able to be a primary…Out in California we have to get a referral and then your insurance may or may not cover it….I have all the faith in Chiropractors….you are all, well most, there is good and bad everywhere, good men/women…I love the fact that all the doctors I have seen believe in the holistic approach….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes a little humor takes a serious topic and makes it easier to digest. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. My profession still has a long way to go in communicating our education and our training. I am very proud to be part of profession that cares about the quality of life our patients experience.


      1. And you should be, I agree that more is needed about the world of Chiropractors….so many people have set opinions about what they think something is…anyway….good article…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Boredom is certainly never a symptom one gets from reading your posts! I, too, appreciate your humor.

    I’m glad you’ve written this piece as I’ve had misconceptions and stereotypes about Chiropractors. I love your stance since you stress that patients take active roles in being healthy and not rely solely on the physicians. I’m so glad you don’t put down any other professions in the medical field which is refreshing since there seems to be a Team A and Team B mentality in today’s world which I find to be ridiculous. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fortunately, I outgrew my ego many years ago! Learning to LISTEN and focus on the NEEDS of others, taught me important lessons and helped me develop into the physician I’ve become. Education is important. Clinical experience is important. Caring about people trumps all. I love the profession I’ve chosen. I have learned as much from my patients as I have taught them. I will never be able to thank them enough.

      Stay true to yourself. Be passionate about life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How funny because I was just talking with a friend of mine who after he told me he really likes his chiropractor I literally asked him, “so what the hell do they do, anyway?” Please don’t take that the wrong way! 🙂 I’ve just not had much personal experience with chiropractic medicine and I appreciated this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand your sentiments. My profession has done a poor job communicating with the public. To some degree many in our profession have gone the easy route and called themselves neck and back doctors. (80-90% of the population develop neck or back pain and therefore marketing is simple). The bigger picture and more important one are the actual health benefits. By restoring functional movement to the spine nerve interference is removed. To simplify the picture, it is similar to re-connecting an electrical circuit. The lightbulb wasn’t broken; the power supplying the light bulb wasn’t reaching it. The body works the same way. If you supply it with what it needs (nutrition, water, rest, exercise, etc…) and correct any communication disturbances (chiropractor’s job) you optimize its functional capacity. It is obviously a lot more detailed, but I didn’t want to be responsible for a sudden narcoleptic episode. 🙂 Chiropractic healthcare is an important part of health maintenance. I hope this explanation adds clarification.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh this was absolutely helpful, thank you! I’m always fascinated by the human body and the many ways outside of just the traditional to care for it. I’ve never been to a chiropractor but perhaps I should think about seeing one.

        Liked by 1 person

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