Managing Patient Expectations In Chiropractic Care

I confess to being slightly haunted by the small number of people I have not been able to help over the years. After 19 years in practice, it is inevitable that not every patient will improve with chiropractic care. This is, of course, true for any type of healthcare modality. Even prescription drugs may help the majority of people to whom they are prescribed. But there will be a percentage that experience no benefit or even potentially serious side effects.

My challenge is one of maximizing the benefits of chiropractic for my patients. While statistically 70% of all chiropractic patients experience improvement, I believe I have been able to help a larger percentage than that. I would estimate about 90% of my patients experience some sort of improvement in the least one area of complaint. By that I mean that a patient coming in with low back pain and neck pain could possibly see no improvement in the low back pain while seeing some improvement in the neck pain. I must say this patient would still haunt me, but at least they experienced some improvement with care.

Fortunately as I have continued to practice over the years (now with slightly graying hair) I do find myself able to help even greater numbers of patients more consistently. This comes about to a large extent from experience and because I am always trying to innovate with my technique. This has resulted in my expanding my repertoire of treatments and modalities that can help difficult patients.

For this reason, I love working on patients that have not experienced success with other chiropractors. I enjoy the challenge of analyzing the condition of these chiropractic failures to determine what has been missed in the past. I can then apply my own repertoire to the case or develop new ones. I would estimate that I do see some improvement in about 50% of patients I have seen who have previously been chiropractic failures. While not perfect, it does represent a substantial number of people who have been able to find relief from chronic pain. And as the years go on, I will continue to work to bring up all those percentages as high as possible.