chiropractor working on a patient's back

You regularly go to the dentist to check your teeth, and teeth are bones. So shouldn’t you regularly go to a chiropractor to check your spine and joints? 

That’s what some chiropractors preach: If you have a spine, then you should visit a chiropractor regularly. 

We don’t exactly agree. 

Of course, if you enjoy the chiropractor or personally feel like it’s best for your body, set up those regular appointments. But if you’re unsure and wondering how often you should go to a chiropractor for optimal health and well-being or to address a specific issue, here’s our take at Comprehensive Chiropractic

When Should You Go To A Chiropractor?

If you have an ache, pain, question, or something you want checked out, it’s a good idea to make an appointment at a reputable chiropractor. But there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often everyone should go to the chiropractor.

Everyone has a different sweet spot – their own unique needs, feelings, and issues. How often and if chiropractic work will benefit you comes down to your individual body. 

Should I Go to a Massage Therapist or Chiropractor?

If you are struggling with some kind of musculoskeletal pain, you may be debating between going to a massage therapist vs. a chiropractor. When in doubt, we recommend coming by our office first. The reason: Massage therapists don’t have the same training and ability to diagnose you as a chiropractor. So it’s best to visit a chiropractor for a thorough and proper diagnosis to rule out the scary stuff and make sure you don’t have something bigger going on. 

If your diagnosis indicates your issues are not something we can treat in our office (like cancer or a stroke), we can refer you to a different provider. We have sent multiple people away who thought they just had a headache but showed signs of a stroke. If these people had gone to get a massage, they likely would not have made it to the hospital to get an MRI on time. 

At Comprehensive Chiropractic, we can utilize many more therapies and approaches than a typical massage therapist’s office, too, so you have more options at this one stop. After getting the appropriate treatment, you can always still go get a massage as an add-on. 

Should I See My Family Practitioner or Chiropractor?

Sometimes, the debate is between seeing your family doctor or the chiropractor. Sometimes you are recovering from an injury or dealing with a prolonged recovery. 

Unfortunately, many MDs don’t have much schooling in musculoskeletal conditions. So, they may diagnose you with “low back pain,” but that’s too vague to know how to treat properly. In some cases, improper treatment can make matters worse. That’s why we recommend going to the chiropractor first for musculoskeletal issues, like a bike fall or tweak while deadlifting. 

We worked with one patient who had weird pain in his arm. He initially went to his MD, who ran a bunch of tests and couldn’t find anything wrong. Still experiencing the pain, the man came to us. After an exam, we realized the pain was coming from his neck. One quick and easy head adjustment and his arm pain vanished. 

Sometimes, it’s just knowing how to perform the right exam and diagnosis. That’s our goal: to figure out exactly what’s going on and fix it at its root. 

A good chiropractor can really enhance your regular doctor’s treatments; both are important, of course. But in some cases, a chiropractor may have much more time to see patients than a busy doctor, which may help us notice things your doctor wasn’t looking for. Our initial visit lasts about 30 minutes, in addition to the information from your paperwork. About 80% of diagnoses are based on your history, so thoroughly filling out the paperwork can help paint a clearer picture.

Should I Visit a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor?

As a chiropractor, we can (and frequently do) refer people to a physical therapist. But a physical therapist is unlikely to refer people to other offices. A lot of PTs don’t learn how to diagnose patients because they don’t need to; they get many referrals from the MD, who shares their diagnosis. And if that diagnosis isn’t spot-on, the physical therapy may not be as effective. 

That’s why, when in doubt, we recommend seeing a chiropractor first. We’ll send you to a PT, if that’s the best option for your issue. 

When Shouldn’t You Go To A Chiropractor?

If you’re having a medical emergency or are experiencing signs of a stroke (like you can’t use or feel parts of your body), call 911 or head to the emergency room. Other times you should not visit a chiropractor are if you lose bowel or bladder function, you have symptoms of a heart attack, or you have injuries involving blood or broken bones. An emergency needs emergency care. 

Occasionally, we see patients who went to the ER thinking they were having a heart attack, but it ended up being a rib out of place. Still, in those cases, it’s best to go to the ER to rule out the big stuff. Yes, it can be a frustrating waste of money if it’s just a rib out, but it can be life-saving if it’s not. 

How Often Should You Go To A Chiropractor

Some people like regular “tune-ups” from the chiropractor. The frequency depends on you. People with physical jobs may like adjustments once a month, simply because it feels good. It can also help with sleep, mood, and more. 

Once you know how good you can feel, you don’t want to settle for feeling less than great. 

Do You Need A Referral To Visit A Chiropractic Clinic?

Whether you want to go to the chiropractor regularly just to feel good or you’re trying to correct a specific issue, the good news is you don’t need a referral for chiropractic care. You can come here first; no doctor’s visit required. 

Chiropractic Care At Comprehensive Chiropractic

At Comprehensive Chiropractic, we offer a full spectrum of services to pull from – whether that’s a traditional adjustment, dry needling, or decompression therapy

If you’re unsure whether to visit or have more questions, feel free to call, request a phone consultation, or ask to visit the office to meet us. We’d love to show you around and tell you more about how we can help.