According to various polls and questions asked of the public, more than 50% (sometimes 60%) of the population indicate they would consider visiting a chiropractor. For the last forty years, the percentage of people that actually do so has remained the same. While more people are seeing chiropractors than ever before, consistently only 10% of the population does so.
Why? If so many people would consider chiropractic as an alternative to other medical choices, why don’t they actually do it when the need arises?
They don’t know what to expect.
Most people have gone to see a medical doctor. They have an overall understanding of what they can expect when they walk in the office. They expect a little window, to be handed some paperwork to fill out, and then eventually get a chance to visit the doctor and tell them where it hurts. They also know that they’ll likely be handed a prescription that will help their symptoms and they can be on their way.
What happens when they go to see a chiropractor? That’s just it. They don’t really know. They assume it’s similar to a visit to an MD, except that instead of a prescription the chiropractor is likely to “pop” something. Do they really need something “popped”? They’re not sure so they go with what they know.
They don’t know if their condition can be helped with chiropractic care.
They think of chiropractors as helping with auto accidents and low back pain (if you just go by the most common advertisements seen), but they don’t have that. They have headaches, or neck pain, or shoulder pain. Can a chiropractor help with that? They look at a couple of yellow page ads or run through some websites. Some say they do, some don’t say anything about it.
Can they get help by seeing the chiropractor? Again, they’re not sure so they just go back to what they know. They want relief and they want it fast. They’ve gotten relief before by getting a prescription so once again they find themselves at their physician’s office.
They don’t know who to see.
All the chiropractic ads say different things. Activator Methods? Gonstead? Palmer Graduate? Do I need that? Is one really better than the other? This guy seems okay, he’s wearing a white coat and advertising “decompression.” Do I need to be decompressed? All of the chiropractors seem to be advertising slightly different things, while the medical doctor offices all seem to be closer to the same.
There can be a lot of confusion about visiting a chiropractor. While many chiropractors offer an initial no-charge consultation, most people just aren’t going to sit through a consultation when what they really want is pain relief as quickly as possible. It’s really up to the chiropractic profession to continue to educate and get a consistent message out there so people will know what to expect, which conditions are regularly treated, and understand some of the terminology that is out there when it comes time to make their choice.