Choosing a chiropractor

Have back or neck pain, but not for sure if a chiropractor is the answer? Medical experts give their take on what you should do before making that appointment.

-- Be wary of those who say spinal manipulation can cure whatever ails you. "Look for a chiropractor who uses an evidence-based approach and is willing to work with other medical professionals," said Scott Fonda, a chiropractor at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

-- Ask whether exercise is part of the program. "Evidence suggests the best approach to spinal problems is a short series of treatments followed by a gradual transition to taking care of your own spine and using exercise on a regular basis to prevent future problems," said chiropractic physician Donald Murphy of Rhode Island.

-- Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. "The best reference is still a personal one," said Jim Winterstein, president of the National University of Health Sciences, an accredited chiropractic school.

-- Get more than an adjustment. Find a chiropractor who also offers other therapeutic procedures, including nutrition, exercise, lifestyle management and laboratory testing.

-- Shop around. "Don't sign contracts and don't prebook for a lifetime of visits," said Alden Clendenin of the Chicago Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center.

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