(1) Why is an examination necessary? Can’t you just adjust me?
An examination is a necessary and vital component to your care. Dr. Sefcik will not treat any patients without an assessment of their condition. This means an examination is required for all new patients and existing patients that may have been involved in an accident or some other trauma. It would be unethical and unprofessional to treat without prior examination. Most patients are relieved to have a physician finally listen to them and examine them so thoroughly. We have had a few patients not want to be examined because “they never have been in the past”. We have never practiced, nor will we ever practice, in that manner. We hold ourselves to a high standard of care and promise to provide you with the best care we possibly can.
(2) How many times do I have to come back?
We have found that with most patients we are able to make a significant change in their condition fairly quickly. When you start with our office you are committing to a minimum of six visits. If we have not made changes by this time we will reassess your condition and potentially change your treatment plan to address your needs. Every individual is different, as are their individual health goals. We have some patients that are simply interested in pain-relief only. We attempt to educate our patients that neuromuscular dysfunction can still be present despite pain being gone and that pain is a poor indicator of health. We are able to provide very objective tests so patients can experience themselves if they have an imbalance and can then choose to proceed with rehabilitation, if desired. These first two options are typically in the realm of “insurance covered services”.
Optimally patients will want to maintain the benefits they receive from chiropractic care and will come in on a regular basis of their choosing for wellness / preventive care. This is a non-insurance covered visit and is out-of-pocket. However, many patients realize they feel better, function better, and feel healthier with regular maintenance visits. A simple analogy is your vehicle. You have insurance in the unfortunate event of an accident to cover major damages. However, auto insurance does not cover the regular maintenance that is required to keep your vehicle operating smoothly and trouble-free. The biggest difference is that you can trade your car in, you can’t trade your body in. So in essence, the answer to this question depends on your initial presentation, your response to care and your goals for your own health. We do our best to provide you with informed options so you can make the best educated decision for you.
(3) Will the manipulation hurt?
We offer a variety of techniques in our office including Activator adjusting, Diversified manual adjusting, pelvic blocking and Thompson drop technique. Because of our expertise in a variety of adjustment techniques we are able to find one that is right for you and allows you to feel comfortable with each of your adjustments. There are times, depending on examination findings, that Dr. Sefcik may not adjust, but will instead incorporate soft tissue therapies instead.
(4) Why are some visits quick and other visits longer?
Your body responds to frequency, duration, quality, timing and intensity of a stimulus. In your brain, for example, neurons that fire together, wire together. We have a response that we try to obtain at each visit. We are careful not to exceed the metabolic rate of your neurons and negatively alter your central integrated state. That is just a fancy way of saying, we don’t want too hot, we don’t want too cold, we want just right. Each visit builds upon the previous visit. There are times you come in where we may simply use an Activator scan and adjust through your spine to remove any subluxations. There are other times that may require more time and assessment to achieve the goals for that visit. Do not confuse the length of the visit with the quality of the visit. There are times where five minutes of care achieves greater results than an hour of another type of care. This is one of the advantages of using chiropractic neurology to assess each patient and find ways to influence the brain. Your brain is very plastic, meaning that it changes very rapidly. In fact, even as you are reading this paragraph your brain is forming new connections. Your perceptions and understanding of this paragraph depends on the integrity of your central nervous system.
(5) Why won’t insurance pay for functional medicine services and clinical nutrition consultations?
That is a good question and has been asked by many people, patients and practitioners alike. I have no good answer. We live in a disease-based health care model that is orchestrated by the pharmaceutical industry. Two great books to read to educate yourself on this fact is Overdosed America by John Abramson, MD and The Truth About Drug Companies by Marcia Angell, MD. The current health care model makes money on sick people. If you make your money on sick people, you want sick people. The functional medicine paradigm seeks healthy, proactive people. If you make money serving healthy, proactive people, that is what you desire. You simply now must choose which camp you’d rather be in…the sick people, or the healthy/proactive group.
(6) My doctor says that functional medicine isn’t real and there is no justification for it.
To be very blunt, your doctor is choosing to remain uninformed and ignorant on the literature that has been published for decades and is now being validated on multiple levels. Don’t take my word for it. If you are so inclined I encourage you to purchase the Textbook of Functional Medicine, or Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine, or Integrative Rheumatology, or Integrative Orthopedics, or Food and Nutrients in Disease Management, or….the list goes on and on. These works contain thousands of peer-reviewed research to validate and substantiate this method of care. I have a practice full of people that are no longer diabetic, no longer have high cholesterol, no longer have depression, etc that are medication free and feeling healthy and vital. It’s real and it’s justified. (See response to question #5)
(7) How much do labs cost?
Lab fees vary depending on what is being tested. We have negotiated lower fees with Quest Diagnostics and are able to pass a substantial savings (20-80%) along to our patients. Because of the nature of the lab tests, insurance denies coverage. If you would like to have your blood tests obtained by your medical provider you may choose to do so with an attempt to be covered by insurance. However, please be aware that the fees will be much greater without the benefit of the lab discount. We do not submit lab fees or any functional medicine services to your insurance provider on your behalf. If applicable, most patients successfully submit this care through the Flex plan or health savings account.
For an initial biochemical evaluation (necessary for all new clinical nutrition patients) the fee is $250. If you would like to add, or need to add based on history, a more comprehensive blood panel the fee is $425. These lab fees are much lower than you would be charged from your medical doctor, or ordering your labs yourself with an online vendor.
(8) Do I need labs?
Lab assessment provides an objective look into what is going on in your individual biochemical processes. This information is very important to adequately treat you. Even before someone starts working on your car they run a series of diagnostic tests and your body is much more intricately designed and more complicated than that. We only order testing that will change or affect the treatment plan for you. You may also bring in outside medical records so some things don’t need to be retested.
(9) Do you treat…?
Yes. How can I answer that so quickly? Because we treat patients, not diseases. If you are human, then we can treat you and do our best to optimize your health. Our philosophy is that everyone can benefit from many or all of the services we provide at LEC. We have treated patients with a wide variety of conditions and all across the age spectrum. If you still aren’t sure you can call our office at 701-323-0266 to set up a complimentary 10 minute consultation.
(10) Do you accept referrals?
Yes. Chances are very high you are visiting this site, or this clinic, based on the referral of a satisfied patient that entrusted us with their care. We highly value and appreciate your referral of your friends, family and loved ones. That is how we build our practice and protect our future ability to serve in the Bismarck / Mandan communities. We encourage your referrals and thank you in advance for your trust and kindness in referring to our office.
(11) Can I become a patient without ever coming to Life Enhancement Clinic?
At this time we require all patients to present to our office to establish the appropriate doctor-patient relationship and perform the initial examation. This will allow us the ability to make medical recommendations for your care. Dr. Sefcik is licensed to practice in North Dakota. After your initial visit, follow-up consultations may be performed via e-mail, web conference, or telephone. Consultation fees are applicable whether in-office or by other medium.
(12) What if I’m from out-of-town and have to travel?
A large percentage of our practice is from outside Bismarck-Mandan, and even outside of North Dakota. For new patients seeking functional medicine services, we set up an initial examination, followed by any laboratory assessments that are required. You will need to make arrangements with our office to set up your initial visit in the afternoon and your laboratory assessments for the next morning. This will require an overnight stay. Bismarck has a number of affordable and comfortable hotels in close proximity to our office. Please call our staff if you would like recommendations.
(13) What if I cannot come the day before and stay overnight?
In the slight chance you would be unable to stay overnight as recommended, we allow for special scheduling considerations to be made. This will allow the entire history, physical examination, laboratory testing and initial care steps to be provided at one visit. This visit will be 1.5-2 hours in duration. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required at time of scheduling. This will be applied to your overall bill for services rendered on your exam date.
(14) How long will it take before I start to feel better?
This is a very difficult question to answer based on the individual uniqueness of your situation. A good rule of thumb, however, is about one month of high-intensity care for every one year that you have suffered with a chronic illness. In cases such as hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue, we will typically treat in three month blocks of care with reassessment as required at the end of that treatment period. Our goal is always to help relieve your symptoms as quickly as possible. That means you will start feeling better quickly, even though the process to fully alleviate your root causes may take longer.
(15) Do you recommend lab testing if I am healthy and feeling well?
The lab tests we provide in our office are functional in nature. Our entire assessment is geared around looking at patterns of function and/or dysfunction in your body. With that being said, you may have underlying functional challenges that you are unaware of…despite the fact that you feel healthy. You would benefit greatly from a thorough biochemical assessment to identify any potential sources of dysfunction so that you may treat them at an earlier stage. This is true prevention.
(16) What methods do you use to treat me?
Our goal is to optimize your health. We aim to nourish malnourished bodies, detox toxic bodies and de-stress stressed people. Whether you are 10 years old with a learning disability, middle aged fighting metabolic syndrome, or elderly with significant chronic disease, our approach is the same…identify foundational problems and address those imbalances. By doing that, we are removing the obstacles your body faces in healing. We use dietary changes, exercise instruction, stress management and nutritional supplements to help you reach your goals. This approach is safe, effective and natural.