Consultation Considerations
Posted on 4/13/2012 by Alan Rousso
Categories: New Patients Communication Skills Procedures

As seen in ChiroEconomics
Regardless of how you choose to practice, make sure your patient communications align with your purpose, vision, and mission.
Unfortunately, there is no one way of doing thing. And the same is true when trying to determine the best strategies for your practice to grow.

Consulting used to be much easier. Clients would ask questions like, “How do I do a consultation?” or “What information should I include in my report of findings?” and more often than not, there was a single solution to the problem. Did that strategy work? It depends on who you ask.

Times have changed, people have changed, and there is now a shift happening in chiropractic. People are no longer doing things because someone said to do them that way; people are doing things that align with their values and goals. Do you believe that the strategies and attitudes toward chiropractic are exactly the same for the chiropractor whose goal is to remove pain and dismiss the patient as it is for a subluxation- or wellness-based chiropractor? Neither is right or wrong, as each serves patients in his or her own unique way.

So which strategy is right for you? The answer lies in the question: What is the purpose of your practice and what are you currently doing in pursuit of reaching your goals?

Consultation styles

One of the most important office strategies you can develop is the consultation. First impressions, although not always correct, are the ones that tend to last. Here are some different consultation examples. You may find that some work better for you than others.

When you greet patients, ask them, “What seems to be the problem?” or “How can I help you?” Ask them how long they’ve been suffering with their problem and what seems to make it better or worse.

Next, ask them if their pain is better or worse during the day or night, whether there is any radiation of the pain, and whether they feel better or worse lying down, sitting, or standing.

Your goal should be to determine whether a patient is a good candidate for chiropractic care. The majority of patients will recognize you and your practice as an effective treatment for their condition. And plenty of practices offer a similar type of consultation and attract dozens of new patients into their offices. Some are pleased with this type of office strategy — and some are not.

For those practitioners who want a more subluxation-based approach, you may want to address some of the PQRST (provokes, quality, radiates, severity, time) questions and add some additional information to shift perspective.

For example: “Tell me again how long you’ve been suffering with this problem?” “Why don’t you think your body has been able to heal itself over this amount of time?”

The answer is almost always the spine and nervous system. The purpose of the spine and nervous system is to control and coordinate every system, organ, and tissue in the body.

So, the goal of your consultation should be to see if nerve interference is contributing to your patient’s problem and if chiropractic can help. Also determine whether that interference has caused any changes or damage to the surrounding structures of the patient’s nervous system and where those changes and damage mightA

Notice the shift that the consultation has provided. You’ve gone from a completely pain-based model to associating the implication of the spine and nervous system into the consultation.

Regardless of how you choose to practice, make sure your office strategies align with your purpose, vision, and mission. You’ll be happier, more congruent, and ultimately get better results.

RoussoAlan Rousso, DC, PCC, has written numerous articles on chiropractic and contributed to the book Walking with the Wise for Health and Vitality. He can be reached at 516-707-9119,, or through

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