[fusion_text]By Tina Beychok
According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans will experience back pain at any given time. Furthermore, back pain is the single most common reason for missing work and the second most common reason why patients go to see their doctor. Americans spend more than $50 billion a year on costs related to back pain, such as over the counter or prescription medications, doctor visits, time lost from work, and worker’s compensation.
Given all of these aching backs, as well as the money spent to alleviate the pain, many DCs would think new patients would be flocking to chiropractic in droves. However, the truth is that many of these potential patients may be nervous, uncertain, or outright skeptical about the benefits of chiropractic to relieve their pain. They may have a friend or family member who had a bad experience with chiropractic, or they may have wandered across an anti-chiropractic website while attempting to do their own research online.
Obviously, DCs cannot market to new patients in the same manner as they would for patients who already have positive experiences with chiropractic. In that case, the big question is: How can DCs best market to patients who are brand new to the chiropractic experience and lifestyle?
A well-informed new patient is likely to become a regular patient. Rather than just launching straight into diagnostic tests for the report of findings, DCs should take time during the first introductory part of the appointment to explain how chiropractic works and its philosophies. This may also be an excellent time to discuss some of the recent research into the benefits of chiropractic, as well as to give the patient resources to look at online when they get home.
Show and tell
The most common tool in any DC’s kit is almost always some sort of adjusting instrument. While DCs are well aware of the benefits of instrument assisted adjustments, it can seem odd, or even scary, to a new patient. This is the perfect time for DCs to use the show and tell method to alleviate patient anxiety.
Let the patient see and hold the tool. Give a quick demonstration of how it works, including letting patients hear the sound it makes. Remember, in most cases of back pain, the patient cannot see what the DC is doing, so the sudden clicking sound of the instrument can be disconcerting. This is even more true for both pediatric and geriatric patients. If patients can actually see how the instrument works when it makes that sound, they may be less fearful because they will know what to expect.
Preparation is key
The key is to arm the patient with as much knowledge as possible before doing the first adjustment. Patients who are well prepared for their first adjustment will be less tense and less anxious, thus making the actual procedure go more smoothly.[/fusion_text]