Patients and health providers may question why chiropractors are not always included on a treatment team. In the past, chiropractors were seen as an alternative or supplement to doctor (MD) and physical therapist (PT) visits. But in recent years, the three disciplines are recognizing that there are benefits of coordinating treatment. Here are four reasons to encourage collaboration among MDs, PTs and chiropractors.
Although they seem similar, chiropractors and PTs have specialized skill sets that can enhance outcomes for patients if they plan treatment together. The chiropractor should be considered the expert for adjustments while the PT should address muscle strengthening and mobility. By dividing duties, the PTs and chiropractors can focus on their specified areas without trying to incorporate exercises and procedures usually performed by the other discipline. Working together also allows the providers to tailor their treatment decisions based on a patient’s unique strengths and needs.
2. Faster Results
Collaboration allows an easier continuation of care. Instead of seeing each specialist separately, at different time periods, patients could receive these services at the same time and benefit from the communication between both professionals. The PT and the chiropractor can discuss what seems to be working or if there are any issues for the patient. Sharing progress updates will help to determine when goals are met and a discharge from services is appropriate. Or, the PT and chiropractor can decide to refer to an MD if the patient has plateaued and needs additional treatment.
3. Safer Pain Relief
Although they have different approaches and treatment methods, both chiropractors and physical therapists are committed to providing safe, non-invasive pain relief. If they team up, they may help a patient avoid surgery or prescription pain medication. When you are treated by a back pain doctor like one from AmeriWell Clinics, you can experience more effective pain relief.
4. Increased Referrals
By establishing relationships with MDs and PTs, chiropractors can join the provider network and receive more patient referrals. Likewise, a chiropractor can reciprocate by referring patients to an MD or PT if they think a patient needs alternative care. Opening communication allows each discipline to share their skill sets, guidelines and treatment approach so they can learn about each other’s roles. An MD or PT who did not make referrals before may start reaching out to chiropractors after getting to know them personally.
Nowadays, the healthcare system requires teaming for reimbursement. With education, doctors, PTs and chiropractors will be prepared to join forces and refer when needed. As a patient, request that your providers connect so you can receive the benefits of collaborative and individualized care.