I've previously gone to chiropractors before and never had any problems. In fact, good ones will help you out a lot. They will try their best to fix any specific problems, and won't try to pressure you to go more than you need to. Nor will they try to convince you to spend as much money as you can, and pressure you to get additional services you don't need. I can't say that Dr. Zielonka was a good chiropractor, during the time I was his patient.
At the time I had gone to him, I had a very specific sports injury that I needed to be looked at. I was still fairly new to the city, so I just blindly choose his office, as I had walked by it before and looked credible. His office was in a commercial building, and looked very fancy and credible (I guess that should have been the first sign: A lot of gimmicky, trendy looking equipment and decor that I've never seen before in previous chiropractic offices).
I briefly explained my injury to the receptionist, and she told me that Dr. Z is one of the finest chiropractors for sports injury with the newest, leading edge equipment, and that he will be able to fix me up right away. But first, I needed an assessment, which was normal for a new patient. However, when I went to the assessment, it was nothing like any of the assessments I've ever done. He told me he needed to get x-rays from me (my spine and not even my injury area), and he put me through a lot of fancy looking machines. The assessment cost $152 ($75 for the unneeded x-rays and $77 for the assessment), compared with the normal $40-60 dollars I had with other chiropractors.
Following the "assessment", he handed me a very gimmicky looking report, which looked more like an advert than anything else, and gave me a 20 minute long sales pitch. Basically both his pitch and the report was to tell me that I was in "critical condition" and why I need to come in, because basically I will fall apart if I don't (again, nothing to do with my original injury). It's also funny because no other chiropractor has ever told me I had problems with my spine before, and I never ever had issues. Still, he recommended that my spine needs fixing, and that it's linked my injury. Finally, at the end of the sales pitch, he recommended that I come in every day of the week, for the next 3 weeks "to start", and to pre-pay for about 25 sessions to begin with. Again, this was fishy, because prior chiropractors have never asked me to do that.
That should have been the turning point, but I decided to maybe try a few sessions and just pay per treatment to see where it was going. In those three sessions that I went to, he probably spent about 2 minutes each time with me. He just cracked me and left. No assessment, no change in the treatment method. No recommendations of stretches or exercises outside the clinic. Finally, I realized I was starting to get pain I didn't have before, which was when I decided to leave. In the few weeks following my departure, I kept on getting calls from the receptionist pushing me to reschedule, as well as Dr. Zielonka himself.
I later did some more research and talked about this situation with other people, and it seemed he followed everything that was considered a "chiropractic scam":
1. Wellness or maintenance treatment. This is a good way for a Chiropractor to make extra money, and a common reason many medical doctors don't refer to chiropractors. There is no scientific evidence that when you feel good chiropractic treatment can prevent or maintain anything. If you feel good and you chiropractor still wants to see you, get a second opinion before continuing care.
2. Questionable diagnostics. If your chiropractor tests your muscles and because they are weak diagnoses an internal problem, he or she should refer you to an internist. On the other hand, if you have weak muscles because you are out of shape, a good Chiropractor will refer you to a therapist, a gym, or design a strengthening program for you. If your muscles are weak due to a serious disease, nerve problem, or serious structural problem your DC should refer you for a second opinion with a neurologist or orthopedist. Muscle testing alone should not be the reason your chiropractor wants to continue to treat you if there is no pain.
3. Silly marketing gimmicks. Health fairs, swap meets, and shopping malls often have chiropractors giving free spinal examinations. There are a variety of gimmicks designed to procure you as a patient. The most common one is a postural analysis. If you have poor posture and no pain, a chiropractor should not want to manipulate you, but instead should design a workout or exercise program for you, or refer you to a therapist or trainer for such a program.
4. Treating areas that don't hurt. When you receive treatment, three things happen. You get better, you get worse, or you stay the same. If you feel good, only two things can occur. You either stay the same or you get worse. If you go to a chiropractor with lower back pain, he or she should not manipulate your neck unless you also have a neck problem. There is no evidence that performing manipulation on a neck can help your lower back or vice versa. If your chiropractor insists on manipulating areas that don't hurt, get a second opinion before continuing care.
5. Excessive supplementation. Chiropractors take many nutrition classes in school. Beware of any chiropractor who says his or her vitamins are the only ones that work. Beware of any chiropractor who wants to sell you large amounts of supplements without referring you to a retailer or health- food store for comparable products at a considerably lower cost.
6. Excessive x-rays. Beware of any chiropractor who uses x-rays for any reason other than to rule out a fracture, dislocation or bone disease. X-rays should only be taken if (1) you have sustained a recent traumatic injury and are in considerable pain and discomfort, or (2) a history and examination indicate a possible bone disease such as arthritis. (3) You have had long standing pain in an area that has not responded or resolved with care. No person is perfectly symmetrical. No one's spine is perfectly straight and balanced. If you have no pain and your chiropractor wants to continue treatment because of what an x-ray shows, get a second opinion before you continue care.
7. Excessive visits. When you get treated by a chiropractor, you should feel better. It is not normal to be worse after treatment. Depending on the nature and extent of your problem, after a few visits you should notice considerable improvement. A good way to measure is, after one to four weeks, your pain should be reduced by 40-50%, depending on how severe and how extensive your original problem was. Beware of any chiropractor who recommends a 3, 6 or 12 month treatment plan based on your first or second visit.
8. Unwillingness to work with other professionals. If you are not getting relief, you should not have to ask for a referral, your chiropractor should have already recommended one for you.
As well as this:
Long story short, chiropractors should never push you to committ to an excess amount of visits, use pseudo-scientific diagnostic equipment, order unneeded x-rays, try to get you to spend as much money as possible, rush through your treatment, scare you into thinking you have more serious problems, etc.
Dr. Zielonka did all those things, and wasted a lot of my time and money. I don't think he should be allowed to keep doing this to people who really need help, and especially ruin reputations of real, good, credible chiropractors, who are actually looking to help you.