Your neck is stiff, you're experiencing shoulder pain and that niggle in your back just won't go away. Your colleague suggests chiropractic treatment and you remember a friend who swears by the benefits of seeing their chiropractor. You'd like to give it a try, but how do you go about selecting the right one for you?
In this article, we reveal six steps you can take to ensure your treatment is in safe hands.
" ... the single most important step you can take when considering a course of treatment is to check if the chiropractor's name appears in the Chiropractic Council's list of registrants."
Choosing a chiropractor can be tough.
It's not often that you place yourself into the hands of someone you don't know, so it's only natural and very much advisable to do your due diligence before entrusting someone with any aspect of your health.
You really want your relationship with your new chiropractor to get off to a flying start - someone who you gains your trust quickly and who you'll feel comfortable with treating you on an ongoing basis.
So, how do you start?
First, let's take a look at the factors you're likely to base your decision on. We'll then draw up a shortlist of suitable chiropractors and progressively narrow this list down to the one most suited to you.
Step 1 - Rank your decision-making criteria
While not absolutely essential, the process of assessing what you consider important can be quite revealing for many people when choosing a new chiropractor.
Take a look at this list of factors and rank them in order if importance to you:
Quality of care - I want to feel sure that I'm in qualified hands that will help improve my condition safely
Quality of service - I want to be treated well by all service staff at the clinic
Convenience - I want to travel as little as possible from either my workplace or home
Affordability - I want to pay as little out of pocket as possible.
Most people want to feel safe, so quality of care is likely to figure reasonably high up your list.
For some, location trumps all other factors. For others, price may be the overriding factor - especially if your health insurance doesn't cover treatment. Others may regard customer service as key and that a clinic that builds strong relationships and offers a smooth onboarding experience is the most critical factor.
Step 2 - Create a shortlist of chiropractors
Who doesn't use Google or Google Maps as their first port of call these days?
Run a quick Google search. For example, something like: "chiropractor hong kong". You'll see a few adverts at the top, followed by prominent clinics on a map of the local area and, just below that, the unpaid listings.
Make a note of a handful of clinics of interest.
You may want check some independent, fact-checked sources for a more objective perspective of the availability of quality clinics. For example, The Ultimate Guide to Chiropractors in Hong Kong from Healthy Matters gives an overview of typical costs while going on to list some of the top chiropractic clinics in Hong Kong.
Step 3 - Check whether the chiropractor is registered in Hong Kong
In order to practice chiropractic legally in Hong Kong, a chiropractor must register with the Chiropractic Council of Hong Kong. In order to be accepted, the chiropractor must satisfy the criteria for registration - which includes having the pre-requisite qualifications and experience.
As such, the single most important step you can take when considering a course of treatment is to check the chiropractor's name appears in the Chiropractic Council's list of registrants.
Look closely and you'll find our very own Dr Rin Park there at CC000188.
Step 4 - Check out the clinic website
Almost all chiropractors in Hong Kong have a website. Take a look. Does the information about the clinic appear to satisfy your key factors from step 1?
Step 5 - Call up for prices and services
The vast majority of chiropractors in Hong Kong don't publish their prices online so you'll need to contact them to find out. While you may find this inconvenient, the bright side is that you can learn a lot about a clinic through your conversation with the receptionist.
When calling a chiropractic clinic, consider the following:
Is the receptionist professional, friendly and informative? In most cases, the people handling the phones are the same people who will be greeting you, helping you with documents, processing your payments and scheduling follow-up sessions. So you'll want to be sure that there are no significant communication issues and that you'll feel comfortable dealing with them on a regular basis.
What does the initial consultation involve? You'll want to check the initial consultation involves a full physical assessment. This should generally include a postural examination and various neurological and orthopaedic tests. The first visit should also include treatment, provided that there are no indications to suggest otherwise. You may also want to ask about what you can expect from the treatment itself - does it involve just chiropractic adjustments or does it also incorporate forms of physical therapy?
How much will it all cost? It's common in Hong Kong for initial consultations to cost more than regular sessions as they will almost certainly involve some kind of physical assessment and take longer as a result. So you'll want to find out the costs of the initial consultation, follow-up treatment and any other possible expenses such as x-rays. If you have health insurance coverage, you're now in a position to assess whether you're comfortable with any out-of-pocket costs incurred.
Got a good feeling about this clinic? Take the plunge and book that initial consultation. You'll learn a great deal more from your direct interactions with clinic staff and the chiropractor during your first visit.
Step 6 - Attend the initial consultation
During your initial consultation, you'll have an opportunity to assess whether this is a clinic you'd like to strike a longer-term relationship with - both in relation to the reception staff and, in particular, the chiropractor.
With regard to your first experience with the chiropractor, consider:
Is the chiropractor able to diagnose your condition and communicate this clearly to you?
Is the chiropractor able to communicate the short-term and long-term benefits of any course of treatment?
Do you feel physically comfortable in the hands of the chiropractor? Are you able to relax?
Do you feel free to discuss all related health concerns with the chiropractor?
It's possible you'll hit it off right from the start. It's also possible that it could take a few sessions to feel relaxed - especially if you're new to chiropractic treatment. Just remember that you're under no obligation to continue if you feel in any way uncomfortable.
A good relationship includes open communication and you should very much expect this from your experience at any chiropractic clinic.