Health Care Practitioners & How to Spot a Crappy One

Hello All,

It has been an while since my last post. From time to time I like to get up on my Soap Box and spew what I believe to be is gospel. This post is one of those posts. So if you are happy with seeing a crappy health care practitioner then go back to watching puppies or kittens on FB or instagram. If you are interested in what I believe constitutes a crappy health care practitioner read on.

Before I make my David Letterman list let me first define who I am talking about when I am discussing a “Health Care Practitioner”. Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Personal Trainers, Physical Therapists, Yoga and Pilates instructors all fall into this category.

  • Giving you advice they clearly have no experience with. Example: Health Care Practitioner who is super skinny and has no experience (meaning years) moving heavy objects telling you it’s “bad for you” and you should be doing aerial gymnastics on a stability ball/bosu ball to get stronger. Or the reverse big huge powerlifter/strongman telling you how to train for a 50k or ultramarathon. You will usually find the skinny guy giving strength advice and not the big guy giving endurance advice… If is doesn’t walk like a duck and talk like a duck, it’s probably not a duck.
  • An office staff that is all under the age of 25 and looks like they were grabbed out of the trendy clothing store in the mall. There are a couple practices where I practice who have “hot girls” on staff. I like attractive people as much as the next person, but what I don’t appreciate or respect is using them to drive a certain demographic in the door (men ages 18-75). These kids are probably paid less than someone who is 10 years older and has the same experience. It is in my opinion subtle exploitation and shady.
  • The health care professionals who also work  there are either all under the age of 30 and their seems to be a revolving door of new staff. If a practice cannot keep staff their is instability at the top and the practice is out to make one thing $$$. Keeping good staff is a sign of stability and lack of ego at the top.
  • High reliance on “evidence” based theories as mode of practice. If the practitioner relies to heavily on strictly evidenced based practice in my opinion they cannot think for themselves. The medical industry is very slow to change and is often times light years behind people who are in the trenches and thinking for themselves through both scientific research and practical experience.
  • On the flip side there are lots of people out there who believe the medical industry is evil and will fall for all kinds of craziness… I once talked to a practitioner that was taking baths in Mountain Dew (yes you read that right) to loose weight… This practitioner had an advanced practice degree along with years as a nurse. Just like politics and religion the middle is usually where the truth is and the fringes are filled with crazy people.
  • A protocol that relies heavily on supplements/magic potions. I have used lots of supplementation and worked at a wellness center for my first 3 years in practice. I believe supplementation can be valuable but beware of the practitioner who sells them like the local crack dealer, it can be a lot of wasted time, money and energy.
  • Upon first visit there is no plan laid out for you. They don’t have a time line on how soon your injuries improve. I expect to see improvement after the first two sessions, if I don’t I start to suspect I am out of my paygrade/skillsets and need to refer client on to someone else.  There should be a plan but it should fit your personal and financial lifestyle. In my practice my initial plan is 1x a week for 4-6 weeks, after problem is resolved I give my client the option to set up maintenance appointments every 3-4 weeks. I have found this keeps my clients out of serious injuries and allows me to build a practice that building a long term relationship with my clients.
  • On the flip side a practitioner who has you coming back 3x a week for 30 weeks and has a “payment” plan for you is probably in it for a cash grab. You may improve during this time but it is highly unlikely. To again play the balance game beware of the practitioner who has no plan whatsoever and tells you to come back when the universe, tea leaves or your neighbor dog tells you to come back.
  • A practitioner who sells you on improvement but you don’t feel  like you are getting any better. Sometimes progress is slow at first, but in a short period of time you should be noticing improvements in pain, range of motion and performance. If after 3-4 visits there no improvement start asking why. If they keep telling you to be patient ask what their plan is. If they don’t have one that makes sense to you it is time to move on.

Don’t fall for degrees, certificates, shiny badges, nice offices or cute staff members. You should expect and get high level of care which makes an impact on your quality of life and a practitioner who advocates for your wellness and care. If you cannot find one in your area reach out to me at shawnsynergymt@gmail.com and I will see if I can help you find someone local to you.

Practice Makes Improvement 🙂

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