Can a chiropractor replace your GP?

Chiropractors are increasingly moving into family primary care, taking on the role traditionally filled by GPs.
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04.Choosing the right chiropractor

The doctors that CHOICE spoke to are quick to point out that there are some great chiropractors out there, and they happily refer patients to them for musculoskeletal problems. 

So if you develop a bad back, the first step is to ask your family doctor or GP to recommend one. However, if they can’t help you, there are some indicators to help you choose a good one.

  • Look for a chiropractor whose practice is limited to conservative treatment of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. Avoid chiropractors who insist that they are primary care doctors.
  • Science-based chiropractors commonly use heat or ice packs and recommend a home exercise program in addition to manual manipulation or stretching or massage of tight muscles or joints. They don’t use applied kinesiology, live blood analysis, surface electromyography, thermography, an Insight Subluxation Station or an activator (“the stick that goes click”). See our article on Dodgy Diagnostics for more on these.
  • You should see significant improvements after a few visits. Don’t get caught into signing up for a long-term treatment program or “contract of care” where you agree to have regular, frequent visits for many months – some even ask for payment in advance.
  • Avoid chiropractors who claim to prevent or treat diseases, infections and health conditions other than musculoskeletal ones; who claim to detect and treat subluxations; or who prescribe and sell dietary supplements or homeopathic remedies.
  • Avoid chiropractors who advise you not to have your children immunised.
  • The chiropractor should explain that chiropractic neck manipulation can cause serious injuries, including stroke. Ideally, they should ask you to give informed written consent.

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