Last Updated on August 31, 2023
Being a chiropractor for over 22 years, I understand that many new patients are unsure of what to expect when it comes to the costs of treatment. That is why ‘How much does a chiropractor cost on average?’ is the most common question I receive.
Some arrive at my office reluctant and anxious, worried that they can’t afford the care they need. It pains me to think someone would live in discomfort due to money concerns.
Understanding the typical fees charged by chiropractors can help you budget for and access this increasingly popular wellness treatment. Keep reading to learn about the key elements that impact chiropractic costs.
Factors Influencing Chiropractor Costs
The fees charged by chiropractors can vary substantially depending on several key factors. These include:
- Location of the chiropractic clinic
- Years of experience the chiropractor has
- Types of services provided
- Equipment and amenities offered
Generally, chiropractors practicing in major metropolitan areas and big cities charge higher rates than those in rural areas or small towns. The cost of rent, staff salaries, malpractice insurance, and other overhead expenses tend to be higher in urban regions which translates to higher patient fees.
More experienced chiropractors also often charge more for their services than newer practitioners. Those with 10+ years of experience usually command the highest fees. Their expertise, advanced training, and proven track record allow them to charge more per visit.
The types of services, treatments, and equipment used also impact costs. Chiropractors who offer specialized therapies, high-tech diagnostic tools, massage, acupuncture, on-site x-ray, and other amenities tend to charge more as these features increase their overhead expenses.
For example, a clinic with a full fitness center, hydrotherapy tanks, and laser therapy equipment will need to charge more per visit to cover their investment in these offerings.
Understanding what contributes to the costs can help you estimate potential expenses.
Average Chiropractor Costs
So what is the typical price range for chiropractic sessions?
I decided to do some research within my network, and relationships with other chiropractors to get a better sense of typical costs. Cos the internet can be misleading.
After reviewing, it seemed the national average price for a chiropractic visit falls somewhere around $30-$65. That was more reasonable than some horror stories I’d heard. Some sessions may be priced higher or lower, but this gave me a decent ballpark estimate.
From people in my plan, I’ve heard they usually pay $20-$40 out of pocket per visit after insurance picks up the rest.
Of course, I know people without any coverage have it tougher. For uninsured patients, it looks like the cash price is commonly $50-$100 per session based on my research. That lines up with what friends who pay cash have told me they spend.
Some key benchmarks for chiropractic costs include:
Initial consultation: $50-$150
Follow-up adjustment visit: $30-$80
MRI scan: $300-$500
Physical therapy session: $50-$150
Massage therapy: $30-$80
Of course, these are just general estimates. Actual prices can be higher or lower depending on the factors outlined earlier.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most patients require multiple visits over a period of weeks or months to fully address their health issues through chiropractic care.
For example, someone with chronic back pain may need 2-3 visits per week for 6 weeks. So it’s essential to consider the costs for a complete treatment plan, not just a single appointment.
Table 1 provides a comparison of estimated chiropractic costs with and without insurance coverage:
Estimated Chiropractic Costs:
|Treatment||With Insurance||Without Insurance|
As shown, having insurance coverage can reduce the out-of-pocket costs for chiropractic services by 50% or more in some cases.
When trying to control your chiropractic expenses, make sure to inquire if the clinic accepts your insurance provider. Verify exactly what chiropractic services are covered under your specific policy.
Most insurers limit the number of visits annually and won’t cover ancillary services like massage. But even partial reimbursement can add up to major savings.
When I started researching chiropractors in my local area of Irvine and Orange County, California, I quickly saw that prices can range quite a bit even within the same metro region.
It seems like the typical cost per session in Irvine ranges from about $70-$130 based on what I heard from friends and found on review sites for local chiropractic offices. However, in some of the smaller, neighboring cities in Orange County, prices seem to be lower.
My coworker who sees a chiropractor in Huntington Beach said he only pays around $50-$80 per visit. And my sister-in-law who lives in more rural Orange County near Yorba Linda told me her chiropractic appointments are usually between $60-$90 each.
Compared to some other major metro areas in California like San Francisco and Los Angeles where average costs are upwards of $100-$150 per session, Orange County does seem slightly more affordable. But prices in the core city of Irvine are certainly on the higher end of the range.
This pattern of higher prices in the urban city centers and lower costs in surrounding suburban and rural areas appears pretty common. Even within a single region, costs can vary significantly based on exactly where a chiropractic office is located and the local cost of real estate, salaries, insurance rates and other operating expenses that impact their pricing.
Ways to Save on Chiropractor Costs
If you don’t have robust insurance coverage, controlling your out-of-pocket chiropractic expenses is crucial. Here are some tips that can help you save on costs:
- Ask about package deals. Many chiropractors offer discounted rates if you purchase a set number of visits upfront. You may save 20% or more per session.
- Inquire about sliding scale fees. Some practices offer flexible pricing based on your income level. Proof of income may be required.
- Use community clinics. Low-cost chiropractic care may be available through local community health centers, churches, or non-profit groups.
- Seek new patient specials. New clients can often get the first 1-3 visits at a discounted rate or pay only a small consultation fee initially.
- Research chiropractic schools. Students supervised by licensed chiropractors offer reduced-cost care.
- Use tax-advantaged accounts. FSAs and HSAs enable you to pay chiropractic fees tax-free.
- Ask about payment plans. Many chiropractors allow you to pay in installments which helps cash flow.
- With some savvy shopping and research, finding affordable chiropractic care is possible even without insurance. Being a smart healthcare consumer will serve you well.
The Value of Chiropractic Care
Beyond just costs, it’s important to consider the immense value that chiropractic treatment can provide.
For those suffering from chronic back pain, neck pain, headaches, arthritis, injuries, or other issues, chiropractic care offers a proven way to eliminate or reduce pain and restore mobility and function.
The benefits of chiropractic go far beyond temporary relief. Regular chiropractic treatment has been shown to:
Reduce dependency on medication
- Improve range of motion
- Boost injury recovery
- Enhance sports performance
- Decrease inflammation
- Bolster immunity
- Increase energy levels
- Improve sleep
- Relieve stress
For millions of satisfied patients, the costs of investing in quality chiropractic care pay major dividends through better health, improved quality of life, and avoidance of riskier treatments like surgery or addictive pain medications.
While you certainly want to keep your chiropractic costs within budget, be wary of “bargain” offers that seem too good to be true. Cheaper is not always better when it comes to healthcare.
Investing in an experienced, reputable chiropractor delivers immense value. Just be sure to utilize available cost-saving strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to chiropractic care, chances are you still have some questions about costs and what to expect. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Is chiropractic care covered by insurance?
Most private insurance plans and Medicare provide at least partial coverage for chiropractic treatment of back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and headache. However, the amount covered varies widely. Verify your specific coverage.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of visits required depends on your health goals and condition. Acute issues may resolve in 6-12 visits while chronic problems like arthritis may need ongoing maintenance care. Your chiropractor will recommend a treatment plan.
Are payment plans available?
Many chiropractors offer flexible payment options. You may be able to pay per visit or make monthly installments. Payment plans help ease the budget strain.
Does chiropractic really work?
Extensive research confirms chiropractic’s efficacy for treating musculoskeletal conditions. Patients report significant pain relief as well as improved function. Chiropractic aims to address root causes, not just symptoms.
Can chiropractic help avoid surgery?
Yes, studies show chiropractic adjustments combined with exercise can be an effective alternative to risky back surgery. Conservative care should be tried first. Surgery is not always necessary.
Does insurance cover chiropractic?
Most insurers provide coverage but plans vary widely in terms of deductibles, visit limits, co-pays, and covered services. Verify details with your provider before starting care.
Are chiropractors real doctors?
Yes, chiropractors must complete a minimum 4-year doctorate program at an accredited chiropractic college. Extensive clinical training is required before licensure.