Tyrel Detweiler Elite FTS
One of the bigger frustrations that circulates through the strength community is being able to find a good healthcare provider. Whether it be stubbornness by the athlete, or lack of success with previous doctors, strength athletes are notorious for taking matters into their own hands or seeking advice from other lifters to troubleshoot an injury.
The best scenario for the strength athlete is to have an outlet to qualified healthcare professionals who can empathize with their demands, diagnose an injury, provide direction and guidance for how to address their problems, and help them better understand their body to prevent future significant injury from occurring.
Although sometimes you get lucky and knock it out of the park in the first office you visit, finding that individual is not always easy. So how do you find a good healthcare provider? The following three questions are the quickest, most efficient way to determine if your current or prospective doctor is a fit for you.
Even though I believe these three questions are comprehensive enough to apply to any health professional, I’m going to come at this from the perspective of the profession in which I have the most understanding and knowledge – chiropractic.
1. What tools/therapies do you utilize?
Here’s the reality: An adjustment will not fix everything. I will probably get jumped and beaten by my colleagues — like Homer’s spinal cylinder on The Simpsons — for saying that, but it’s the truth. No one thing fixes everything. As much as our human brains want to draw specific conclusions to arrive at one solution for everything, the reality is that everyone and every situation is different.
Having said that, when it comes to treating the body, especially in the realm of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, although one treatment will not work for everyone, there are treatments that will work for most people. If you can find the treatment that
works for your body for the problem you have going on, that treatment will likely work for you consistently. So, to expand, say a good treatment option works for 80 percent of people for a specific condition. That means that 80 percent will respond and 20 percent will not.
If a chiropractor (or any healthcare professional), only has one tool in their tool belt, they may only be a good resource for a few things.
If your chiropractor has other kinds of effective treatments they can provide, it’s a different story. Let’s say on top of adjusting they also can do some sort of myofascial release (ART, Graston, whatever). Now, you’ve got two separate tools with the ability to help. Maybe they also have the ability to do cupping, dry needling, the prescribe rehab, etc. — even better. Many times, this information can be easily found on the clinic’s website. Otherwise, call the office and ask.
Again, no one thing works for everyone, and the conditions you present will have different contributing factors than the next person. The more tools your chiropractor has in the toolbox, the higher likelihood that they will be a larger asset to you and your needs – especially if you are a competitive athlete, active individual, or someone that has a high stress lifestyle.
2. What is your experience with my situation/Who have you worked with in the past?
Next in line, after determining what treatments are available, is to find out what kind of experience your prospective chiropractor has with working your specific condition and demographic. Both of these are important, as a doctor who has experience with low back pain will be able to help your low back pain to some degree, someone with experience in low back pain and your sport, hobby, or lifestyle (let’s say powerlifting), will be a lot more valuable.
Let’s say you’re dealing with bicep and forearm pain and are a powerlifter. If your chiropractor does more than just adjusting, does some level of strength training, and has worked with multiple powerlifters in the past, chances are they have seen this problem
before and understand its relationship to your training. They will have a specific treatment protocol that, through trial and error, has worked for most of their lifters with bicep pain as well and may help prevent future occurrences. They will also be better equipped to answer the third and final question that you should be asking your
3. The simplest question to ask – “Why?”
At the end of the day, it is your body, your health, and your care. You have the right to be informed and there are very few times when asking questions in order to better understand your body and the plan of care is inappropriate.
If you are not asking why, you are missing an opportunity to better understand your body. Maybe you don’t care, and you just want the problem “fixed.” That’s fine. It’s your choice. However, when the same problem continues to repeat itself because you don’t
take the initiative to ask and better understand the underlying problems, you don’t get to complain that it keeps coming back.
Now, it goes without saying that the healthcare providers you seek do have a responsibility to educate and help you understand your situation. After all, the root origin of the word doctor is “to teach.” The problem is, as I eluded to earlier, that many people don’t take ownership in their own health and expect the responsibility to be on the doctor. So many times, when we as doctors do try to educate others, our words fall on deaf ears. If that happens enough times, even the best and most caring doctor will begin to hold their
tongue – and for good reason. Why waste time trying to help someone who has shown they don’t want to be helped? That is time that could be spent helping someone who does want to take onus of their health.
On the flip side, one of the biggest complaints across all professions in today’s healthcare is that doctors do not spend any time with their patients anymore. The average time spent with the doctor, especially with a chiropractor, is extremely low. In some offices, less than five minutes. Now, I’m not saying that every visit should be
excruciatingly long, but if your chiropractor is not allowing enough time to get the necessary information from you to understand your situation, or to give you an opportunity to ask questions and understand what is going on in your body, it’s a huge red flag that everyone in the office is getting the same generic treatment strategy.
Think of it this way: When a sedentary person who weighs 350 pounds walks into ANY office with back pain, everyone knows what the best approach is for that problem. If the attitude of said individual is, “my back just started hurting, fix me,” they will likely get the treatment that they want, yet no mention about the treatment they need. After all, we live in a cupcake society that gets easily offended by reality. It’s not ideal, it’s not great,
but most doctors will not address the issue – it’s simply not worth the energy and effort to not be listened to, or even worse, be called insensitive or rude.
Now, imagine that same person walked in and during their visit asked the question, “Do you think losing weight would help?” In most cases, the doctor would say yes. Perhaps this brings a follow-up question, “Could you help me lose weight?” “Do you have any
resources or recommendations of how to start losing weight?” All of a sudden, the doctor that decided to just “shut up and fix me” from the earlier example is setting time aside to educate or find the right person to help his patient because that person took initiative to show they cared about their health.
If the doctor does not respond in this manner, it is a clear sign that they either don’t care or have very limited knowledge. Even if they don’t know the answer, a good doctor will have the integrity to refer to someone who can help. Any doctor that is not willing to help
someone who shows actual interest and willingness to take a role in their own health is not worth their salt and not worth your money or your time.
So, when you enter into a new relationship with a doctor, simply show interest, ask questions about your problem, and find out what you can do to help improve your own health and performance. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
You will communicate that you actually give a shit and are much more likely to get a more in-depth evaluation and explanation of your problem. If your interest falls upon deaf ears, you sense frustration from the chiropractor that you are taking up their time,
or they cannot give you a straight answer, you know that this chiropractor is full of shit. Go find a new one.
Have any other questions specific to finding a good provider? Ask below and feel free to reach out via social media or email at [email protected] Questions are always welcome and I am more than willing to help.