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An Adelaide Chiropractor’s 2 Major Pet Peeves

A Chiropractor’s 2 Major Pet Peeves

Treat the person, not just the condition.

I’m a big fan of those words. Patients are, after all, people like you and me. Unless it’s the zombie apocalypse, in which case it’s debatable. And when you deal with people directly, there’s always potential headaches that come with it.

Sometimes you’re in a bad mood and you become a little mean, so you snap at your Chiropractor! Other times, you’re in a rush and want to get down to business. In the Chiropractic industry, this is known as “less talky, more poppy!”.

Look, I’m not always a saint myself. And we’ve all had days we’re not especially proud of. So I embrace this as part and parcel of my work.

Having said that, I do have 2 major pet peeves when it comes to dealing with my patients:

  1. Patients who are always late.
  2. Patients who have their phones ringing.

Thankfully, these 2 unforgivable sins don’t happen too often. Which is why whenever they do, they stick out like a sore thumb.


Constance the Constantly Late

Constance is a patient who always runs late for his appointments. He comes in all shapes and sizes, genders and backgrounds.

He’ll rock up at 11:20 am for an 11 am appointment. Or he’ll call you the next day, apologising for missing his appointment profusely only to do it again the next time.

If you see your Chiropractor enough times, this is bound to happen once or twice. Traffic may be unexpectedly rough or you’re just bogged down with work that day. This is understandable.

Constance however, is a repeat offender who offers no valid excuse! It’s one thing to be fashionably late, but after a while, it just becomes a part of your identity.

I can imagine you nodding your head in agreement as I’m sure you know a few Constances in your life. And if you’re reading this confused, it may very well be that you’re a Constance yourself (though I hope not).


The 5-minute rule for chronic pain patients

The 5-Minute Rule

Fortunately, there is a simple solution for Constance to redeem his reputation within the 4 walls of his Chiropractor’s clinic. I call it the 5-minute rule.

Let’s imagine that Constance has a 3 pm appointment with Dr Kelvin Chew.

It’s not realistic to expect a patient to arrive on the dot at 3 pm. Any patient who does deserves to be in the Chiropractic hall of fame, but this is by no means a reasonable expectation at all.

What’s more practical is giving the patient a leeway of 5 minutes. 5 minutes before 3 pm and 5 minutes after 3 pm. This leaves a range of freedom for patients to arrive between 2:55 pm to 3:05 pm comfortably.

If Constance knows he’ll end up arriving after 3:05 pm, a courtesy phone call would be the best thing to do. This way, the Chiropractor can confirm if it’s going to affect the next patient or not. Worst case scenario, an alternative time will be arranged for Constance on the same day.

Otherwise, the Chiropractor may have no choice but to rush through Constance’s appointment to avoid affecting everyone else after. This is obviously not good for Constance. Even worse, he’ll be added to the “bad boys” list, and not in a good way.


Riley with Her Ringing Phone

Although it may not be obvious, there’s a whole lot of details that go into a successful Chiropractic checkup and adjustment. To the untrained eye, it looks like your Chiropractor is playing “pop the weasel”, getting as many popping sounds possible.

But there’s a lot more going on in your Chiropractor’s headspace. Decisions need to be made on the fly for:

  1. Where's the subluxation (problem)?
  2. How to best adjust (fix) it.
  3. What’s improved for the patient (objectively)?

Hence, focus and concentration are Chiropractor’s best mates. This ensures quality adjustments for you, which should translate to a better outcome (e.g. less chronic pain).

Silence your phone when at your Chiropractor's office

Then, there’s Riley. She’s a social butterfly with a network the size of South Australia. Naturally, she sees value in staying connected with her peers.

It’s difficult for her to remember to switch her mobile to silent before getting adjusted. She might not even realise it’s the right thing to do yet.

So when someone calls her, she reaches for her phone and answers it. Not noticing her Chiropractor giving her a death stare as she chats her heart out. Or, she fumbles for the off button, trying to silence her phone, embarrassed about forgetting to turn it off in the first place.


An Easy Fix

This one’s pretty straight forward. Before starting your session, please turn your phone to silent. Think of it as a movie theatre. You’re about to have an awesome experience and you don’t want to be interrupted halfway.

If you urgently need to make or take a call, do it outside the clinic so other patients won’t have to reluctantly eavesdrop (you can’t close your ears, can you?).

And most importantly, please never ever take calls WHILE getting adjusted. You might have long arms to reach for your phone while lying face down, but your Chiropractor’s fuse might not be so long.

Put simply, practice common courtesy and the golden rule - treat others as you want to be treated.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of every Chiropractor or the Chiropractic profession as a whole.

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Hi, please describe your pain or other symptom.
Dr Kelvin Chew