Avoid the 3 Biggest Mistakes Finding a Chiropractor

Dr Timothy Lim

Apr 5, 2019

If you’ve ever had any type of pain, auto accident, work injury, physical ailment, or thought about improving your overall health and wellness, you’ve probably at one point in your life thought about seeing a Chiropractor. Now, you may be at the point where you’re ready to find a good chiropractor in Singapore, but you still have some questions…is this you?

Maybe you’ve been to a Chiropractor, but he did not meet your expectation. Now you want to make sure that this time around you do all you can to make the right decision. Today many are seeing a Chiropractor for everything from gaining more energy, improving performance, de-stress, and improving overall health and wellness. I felt the need to write this report to help people avoid common mistakes when finding a Chiropractor. Many choose wrongly and suffer for it physically, mentally and financially.

My name is Dr Timothy Lim, a Chiropractor. I want to give you a few tips to consider as you make your decision to find a chiropractor that is a correct “fit” for you. I hope that after reading this, you’ll be motivated enough to make your own decision-but more so, you’ll make the correct decision and save yourself some pain and suffering. I don’t mean to offend or to take shots at any other chiropractors out there.

As of this writing, there are over a hundred chiropractors in Singapore. The reason why so many Chiropractors can operate in such a small area or city is that everyone has a particular “flavour” (if you will) and certain people gel with certain personalities better than others.

Let’s get right to it and discuss the first mistake people make when finding a Chiropractor. 

The first mistake people make is being unaware that there are different types of chiropractors. I believe there are basically two types or “flavours” of chiropractors in Singapore.  

The first type of chiropractic is one that has more of a “commercial” emphasis. Many of these companies may seem like what some call "conveyor belt" chiropractic treatment. When I first returned to Singapore to practice in 2009, one of my medical doctor friends asked me if his understanding of a typical chiropractor treatment was accurate. “Patient comes in...told to lie face down on the adjustment table…wack-crack...5 minutes... the second patient is lying beside on another table...ready for their turn...just like an assembly line processing meat, correct, he asked?” I was stunned. He looked sincere, he wasn’t joking. For lack of words, I said: “Not all chiropractors practice this way.” 

This first type of chiropractor tends to recommend large treatments plans. One young lady came in my office for lower back pain and indicated she had been to a chiropractor on her intake form. She revealed she had prior chiropractic treatments for one year.
She had some pain relief from her treatments, but her pain persisted. I asked why she wanted to continue with chiropractic care after investing much time and money.  She said she was told that her lower back pain condition needed more treatments to get better. However, she couldn't afford another year of the treatment package, even with their interest-free instalment plans. She was looking for a second opinion. 

Now if you have a big budget to spend and don't mind going for treatments frequently, then this first type of chiropractic type practice may suit you. Whichever chiropractor you choose, do your due diligence and do your research. Check the company's refund policy, just in case you want to stop treatment for any reason. Do they refund the balance and any administrative fee involved? Count your cost before making a decision. Most chiropractors DO NOT publish their prices on their website.

The second type of chiropractor in Singapore is quite just the opposite of the first type of chiropractors described above. These chiropractors usually see a single patient in a room. Some will appreciate this kind of privacy, while others may not care. Your treatment visit frequency may largely depend on how you respond to treatment, rather than on a fixed frequency schedule. Many of these chiropractors also have their prices published on their websites. Knowing the cost beforehand gives you some idea how much you might want to spend. For those of you who don’t like surprises, this "flavour" of chiropractor may work for you.

The second mistake people make when choosing a Chiropractor is they think x-rays alone can give an accurate diagnosis of their problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even doctors can have different interpretations from a set of x-ray. Let me illustrate below how a GP/Medical Doctor and a chiropractor could interpret an x-ray differently.

Patient X, age 45-year-old female has neck and shoulder discomfort. She suffers from pain and tingling sensation radiating down to her left arm. 

Scenario One:
Patient X visits her GP for a consultation. She was given pain killers, muscle relaxants and B-complex vitamins. A neck x-ray was also ordered. X-ray report indicated mild to moderate cervical spondylosis (aka neck spine degeneration) and encroachment of osteophytes (aka bone spur) at C5-C6. The GP advised that if her condition remains, a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon will be made.

Scenario Two:
Patient X’s friend told her that chiropractic therapy may help with her condition. She decided to get a different opinion from a chiropractor and brought her x-rays along. The chiropractor looked at the x-rays and told her she has mild to moderate cervical spondylosis (aka neck spine degeneration) and encroachment of osteophytes (aka bone spur) at C5-C6 based on the x-ray report. 

Additionally, the chiropractor said she has subluxation (aka misalignment) of C5 and a loss of cervical lordosis (aka straight neck viewed on x-ray side view). Furthermore, she also has Phase 2 Spinal Degeneration in the neck. The chiropractor recommends chiropractic adjustments. 

In the above two scenarios, both types of doctors look at the same x-ray but other than what’s written on the x-ray report, both had quite a different conclusion and treatment approach. As both types of doctors have a very different training background, we can expect a different treatment approach. The x-ray film alone cannot be the only diagnostic tool. It's not going to tell the doctor how to fix the problem. The x-ray can only reveal the current state of the spine. 

The third mistake people make when finding a Chiropractor is thinking that all chiropractors use the same techniques. There are hundreds of chiropractic techniques which may explain why each chiropractor you visit may be a totally different experience. Many chiropractors use either their hands or mechanical instruments to deliver the adjustments. Hands-on adjustments are usually associated with joint manipulation of the spine and extremities that result in a “pop” sound. Hands-on adjustment can also involve the skull and tail bone that does not result in an audible pop sound. Instrument-based adjustments feel like a “click” or “vibration” when administered. Yet, there are chiropractors utilise more physiotherapy equipment such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), heat packs, stretch/strengthening and traction therapy. 

Is there one method that works better than another? After over a decade of treating patients, I found that while some patients respond better to hands-on technique, some respond better with instrument-based adjustment. Fortunately, many chiropractors use both hands and instruments to adjust the body. If you have a preference for one or their other be sure to let the chiropractor know.

Thanks for reading this report. Hope it helped and brings you a step closer to feeling better and getting your situation taken care of. Got questions? Contact Us.