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Cost of Chiropractic Care

Cost of Chiropractic Care

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Chiropractic care can treat a range of conditions, and help you improve your posture, alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, and enhance your overall wellbeing. When compared with other treatment options, it is often a more affordable alternative. However, there are many factors that influence the cost of chiropractic treatment. Below, we explain the considerations that affect the price of chiropractic care so that you can better understand what to expect and budget for your treatment.

Overview

In general, chiropractic services range from approximately $30 to $200 per session. Of course, each type of treatment has a different cost. For example, an initial consultation with a chiropractor may be provided at no charge, while a typical therapy session costs about $65 on average. More intensive or advanced care will most likely add to the expense of treatment, as will the frequency with which you undergo chiropractic therapy. Generally, chiropractic treatments must be repeated on a regular basis for a certain period of time to become and remain effective for patients. If you decide to pursue chiropractic treatment, your practitioner will provide more information about your expected costs at your first appointment.

The Chiropractor's Experience

According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractors must complete approximately four years of pre-medical undergraduate coursework, then finish an additional four to five years of specialized training. This includes taking courses on chiropractic methods, human musculoskeletal anatomy, health science, and more. It also usually involves at least a year of practical work, during which chiropractic students work directly with patients under professional supervision to hone their skills. Only after completing this rigorous program, which adds up to over 4,000 hours of work, can a person become accredited as a chiropractor. This is the baseline level of experience your chiropractor should have, but, of course, some practitioners have also spent many additional years in practice.

Chiropractors with more years in practice may charge more for their services. They can typically command a higher rate because:

  • They have refined their skills by working with dozens if not hundreds of patients.
  • They have a stable base of clients who require their time and assistance.
  • They may have completed more continuing education courses or updates to their original training.
  • They may have further enhanced their expertise by training other practitioners to build their practice.
  • They may have invested more time, energy, and capital into their chiropractic equipment, technology, and office space.

For these reasons, many patients feel more comfortable working with an experienced chiropractor, and are therefore willing to pay more to see these types of practitioners. However, you may be able to receive high-quality care and save money by receiving chiropractor care from a doctor with excellent skills but fewer years in practice. You may also be able to reduce your expenses by working with a less seasoned chiropractor in a more established practice, under the guidance of an experienced professional.

The Location of the Chiropractic Clinic

The prices for chiropractic care vary from region to region due to the cost of living, taxes, and demand for this service in these locations.

The location of your chiropractic clinic may also affect the price of your therapy. For example, a chiropractor in Beverly Hills is likely to be more expensive than one in Montana. Similarly, chiropractic treatments may be pricier in counties or towns where more patients desire these services. For these reasons, you may choose to see a chiropractor further from your home in order to save money. However, you will need to factor your travel and commuting expenses into your overall cost for treatment.

The specific location of your clinic may also influence your costs. Chiropractic practitioners can operate from private practices, out of hospitals, or in medical centers. Chiropractic offices that provide more luxurious amenities or come equipped with more sophisticated treatment tools may charge more for their services.

Chiropractic Financing

Since chiropractic care often requires ongoing treatment, you may need to pay for a program of adjustments and therapy sessions that could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This is overwhelming to many patients and may even make treatment seem impossible. Chiropractic financing can help you spread your expenses over months or years to make treatment more accessible for you. Some clinics may provide private, independent financing, which you will arrange with the practice's administrators, while others may work with external lending companies such as Compassionate Finance®.

Get financed for chiropractic care today with Compassionate Finance

If you opt for financing, you will need to meet the requirements to qualify for a chiropractic loan. You must also be able and prepared to make monthly payments for your costs, with added interest. Financing your chiropractic treatments can help you fit your care into your monthly budget while allowing you to receive the services you need on a more immediate basis.

Chiropractic Care and Insurance

Although it is considered a complementary or alternative medical service, most insurance plans cover a portion of chiropractic treatment costs. This includes the largest health insurance providers, as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and the federal health care plans for United States active-duty and veteran military members. Chiropractic care may also be covered under workers' compensation.

While most insurance providers help to pay for the costs of chiropractic treatment, the parameters of this coverage may vary. If you have been referred to a chiropractor or are considering pursuing chiropractic care, you should ask your health insurance provider the following:

  • How many chiropractic visits per year are covered under my plan?
  • What percentage of my chiropractic costs will you help to pay for?
  • Will I need to provide a copayment when I visit my chiropractor?
  • Does chiropractic treatment count toward my deductible?
  • Can I reimburse my chiropractic expenses?
  • Do you cover the cost of initial chiropractic examinations?
  • Do you include radiography costs in your chiropractic coverage (many practitioners take x-rays of the musculoskeletal system to make diagnoses and plan treatments)?
  • Will you help to cover any vitamins, supplements, or orthopedic tools (such as special pillows, garments, or home physical therapy equipment) my chiropractor prescribes or recommends?
  • Do I have to go to specific, approved chiropractors to apply my coverage?

Understanding the answers to these questions will help you make an informed decision about the chiropractor you choose to work with and the amount of money you budget for your treatment.

Paying for Chiropractic Care Out of Pocket

If your health insurance does not cover chiropractic care, you do not have medical insurance, or you do not qualify for financing, but you require chiropractic treatment, you may need to pay for your care out of pocket. This may require you to save up for chiropractic care or find ways to make additional income so that you can afford treatment. It may be possible to work out an alternative payment agreement with a clinic, such as trading your services or time for chiropractic care.

Paying for your chiropractic care out of pocket allows you to choose the practitioner with which you are most comfortable, since you will not be limited by your insurance provider's requirements.

Some clinics or practices provide discounts or additional treatments for patients who are able to pay for their chiropractic services upfront. Paying for your chiropractic care out of pocket also allows you to choose the practitioner with which you are most comfortable, since you will not be limited by your insurance provider's requirements. If you need to pay for your chiropractic treatment outright, finding an affordable provider may be even more important, but you should still ensure that you receive high quality service.

Most chiropractic clinics necessitate payment on the day of or before your care, although some may require you to pre-pay for a package of treatments so that you can achieve your desired results. If you decide to pay for chiropractic care out of pocket, you should speak with your clinic to determine if using cash, a check, or a credit card may be most appropriate.

Being Careful of "Discount" Chiropractors

Chiropractic care typically requires a certain minimum payment because these practitioners must complete eight or more years of education and training. While finding affordable treatment is important, "discount" chiropractors may be less costly for a reason. Receiving chiropractic care from an unqualified practitioner could actually be detrimental to your musculoskeletal or overall health. Inappropriate adjustment and therapy could temporarily or permanently disrupt your spinal and bodily function.

Receiving chiropractic care from an unqualified practitioner could actually be detrimental to your musculoskeletal or overall health.

If you are interested in pursuing treatment with a "discount" chiropractor, you should ensure that he or she is properly accredited and has a good track record. You can find out more about your prospective "discount" chiropractor by checking online review sites for his or her business, coming in for an initial consultation, and speaking to his or her existing patients about their experiences.

While price is obviously an important factor in choosing a chiropractor, you should ensure that your cost considerations are balanced against other components of your care. Saving up for or having fewer sessions with a more qualified, experienced practitioner would be much more worthwhile than receiving substandard care from a "discount" doctor.

The Cost of Advanced Chiropractic Technology

A patient undergoing TENS treatment

Diagnosing and treating joint disorders or conditions may require sophisticated equipment. When you come in for chiropractic services, your doctor may use any of the following advanced technologies:

  • Radiography: Your chiropractor may use x-rays or more advanced CT (computed tomography) scans to assess your posture and overall wellbeing. These tests may be performed at your initial consultation to create a baseline and throughout your treatment to monitor its effectiveness. X-rays typically cost between $45 and $150.
  • MRI scanning: To gather more in-depth information about your musculoskeletal and general health, your chiropractor may order MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. These tests usually cost $100 to $400.
  • Thermography: This is a test that measures how much heat and energy your nerves and other tissues are emitting. The exam can generate a colored or black-and-white map of your body to highlight areas of discomfort or disorder. Thermography may also be used as an alternative to x-rays for patients who want to avoid radiation exposure. Thermographic testing can cost between $200 and $500.
  • Electromyography (EMG): Some chiropractors use surface electromyography, or SEMG, to measure muscles' electrical activity. This diagnostic test costs several hundred dollars or more.
  • Diathermy: This is a type of electromagnetic therapy to heat and relax the tissue. Your chiropractor may place these heated pads or electrodes over your skin before or after an adjustment to complement treatment. Diathermy may be included in your treatment cost. If it is not, its price typically ranges between $10 and $40.
  • Adjustment tables: Most chiropractors use special tables to perform adjustments and other procedures. Patients rest on these tables in various positions while practitioners modify, massage, and exercise their joints. There are many types of adjustment tables on the market, from basic models to advanced computerized systems that can make minute adjustments. Chiropractors that invest in more sophisticated tables may charge more for their services.
  • Hydrotherapy systems: Some chiropractors use special pools, wraps, baths, or saunas. Exposing the joints to hot and cold water can help improve circulation, stimulate healing, and relieve discomfort. These services can range from $50 to $500, depending on how complex they are.
  • Computerized adjustment instruments: Digital devices connected to handheld tools can make chiropractic therapy more accurate, allowing your practitioner to pinpoint treatment areas, apply the proper amount of pressure during care, and assessing the joints. Practitioners that purchase and use these systems may cost more to use.
  • Ultrasound therapy: This treatment passes ultrasonic waves through your tissue to relieve uncomfortable symptoms, loosen your muscles, and improve your joint function. Ultrasound techniques can help diminish tightness and inflammation while stimulating circulation and motion. Ultrasound therapy usually costs about $20 per session and can be performed as part of regular chiropractic appointments.
  • Laser treatment: Your chiropractor may apply carefully calibrated pulses of light to your tissue to help encourage tissue healing, alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, reduce swelling, and assist with sports injuries. There are many types of laser systems, so the price of this treatment may vary. Laser chiropractic therapy can cost several hundred dollars or more.
  • Chiropractic roller table: In addition to the traditional adjustment tables, some doctors use roller or traction tables to provide massage and other treatments. Since they require an additional investment, chiropractors that use these pieces of equipment may charge more for their services.
  • Electrical muscular stimulation: Your practitioner may place electrodes over your skin and transmit energy through them to diminish swelling, reduce muscle spasms, and alleviate discomfort. The most common form of this treatment is through TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators). Electrical muscular stimulation can cost between $20 and $250 per treatment, depending on the type used.

Your chiropractor may use these technologies or others to complement and enhance your treatment. When you come in for your initial consultation, make sure you ask about the specific costs related to these tools so that you can understand your expenses and choose which types of advanced therapy may be right for you.

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