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Should I Consult with My PCP Before Trying Chiropractic?

Medical doctor and staff at the backgroundIf you suffer from back pain and are interested in exploring chiropractic, you may wonder how your other healthcare providers fit into your chiropractic journey. Specifically, you may wonder if you need your PCP to refer to a chiropractor, or if you should obtain their consent before getting chiropractic care.

As a licensed chiropractor for more than 20 years, I have had many patients wonder if they should get their PCP’s blessing before starting chiropractic. It is common for my patients to wonder if they should inform their PCP when they start chiropractic – or even if they should get their PCP’s permission to begin chiropractic.

One of the most important things I tell patients is that while it is not necessary to obtain a referral from your PCP for chiropractic, or even their permission, it is important to let them know that you are seeing a chiropractor. Keeping all of your healthcare team updated with your health journey is vital.

In this article, I will share ways to introduce your PCP to chiropractic care.

Getting Your Health Team on the Same Page

A chiropractor is considered a primary level provider in many states, including Virginia. For this reason, it is not necessary to get a referral from your PCP to try chiropractic.

However, it is important for all members of your health care team to work together. This ensures you get the best care. In essence, the proverbial left hand should know what the right hand is doing in terms of your health care. As such, it is important that you inform your PCP or other spine care doctors that you are seeking chiropractic care.

Making sure your care is coordinated across your healthcare providers can help you in different ways. By informing your PCP that you are seeing a chiropractor, your PCP can in fact help your chiropractor. This includes:

1. Sharing medical records or reports with your chiropractor

When your PCP is aware that you are seeing a chiropractor, they can share your medical records directly with your chiropractor. This can help the chiropractor make a full and accurate assessment of your medical condition and overall health. Further, your chiropractor can keep your PCP informed of any changes in your spinal health.

2. Sharing imaging test results with your chiropractor

Tests results from MRIs, CT scans and X-Rays are often part of your medical records. These tests can help your chiropractor clearly understand your spinal health and determine the best plan of care. Further, sharing any existing records helps you avoid unnecessarily repeating tests.

3. Accepting referrals from your chiropractor

On occasion, your chiropractor may determine that chiropractic is not the best choice to treat your spinal condition. In these cases, your chiropractor can communicate directly with your PCP. Your chiropractor can recommend other treatment options to your PCP, helping to facilitate your care.

Introducing Your PCP to Chiropractic

Being a PCP can be grueling work. The PCP’s focus is usually to diagnose and treat common chronic health conditions, identify acute problems like infections, and triage to specialists or emergency personnel when appropriate.

For this reason, it should come as no surprise that in-depth knowledge of other specialties like chiropractic can often fall by the wayside for PCPs. In fact, most PCPs do not even have formal referral relationships with chiropractors. This is true even though around two-thirds of PCPs have recommended that a patient see a chiropractor.

Steps to talking with your PCP about chiropractic include:

  • Share your chiropractor’s credentials with your PCP. These should include their degree, how long they have been practicing as a chiropractor, and any specialty training they have received.
  • Ask your chiropractor to print out your case notes to share with your PCP so that your PCP can understand the chiropractor’s diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Print out resources, such as common patient questions which can be found on our blog, to help guide you when talking to your PCP

If your PCP has any specific questions about chiropractic, you should be able to refer them to speak directly with your chiropractor. At Precision Spinal Care, with your permission, I am happy to speak to your PCP about how chiropractic aligns with your healthcare needs.

Precision Spinal Health and Integrative Care

At Precision Spinal Care, I do not require that you obtain a PCP referral to make an appointment. That said, I encourage you to inform your PCP that you are seeking chiropractic care to keep all of your healthcare providers on the same page.

As a credentialed spine care specialist, I am used to integrating your medical care with other healthcare providers, including PCPs and other spine care specialists. At your first visit, I will review any medical records and imaging that you or your doctor provide. Then, I will fully assess your condition with a thorough spine exam and a discussion about your medical problems.

After your exam at the first visit, we will discuss my evaluation. If chiropractic is not the best solution for your needs, I will recommend the type of specialist who is most appropriate for you.

If chiropractic care is the best way to meet your care goals, we will work together to develop a plan to meet your needs. I make sure to set reasonable expectations and milestones for your recovery. At regular intervals, I will reevaluate you to make sure you are meeting these goals and that chiropractic remains the best choice for you. With your permission, I will make sure to keep your PCP in the loop about any changes to your spinal health status.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you look for expert chiropractic care. At Precision Spinal Care, we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs and discuss all the options with you and your family.

Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment through our webpage.

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