Last modified: 10/22/2019 by Eric Blanch

Why You Don't Seek Healthcare When it May be Needed

Health Seeking Behavior (HSB) is determined by many factors such as age, sex, or ethnicity. Intuitively, one might say that the severity of the health problem predicts whether the individual will seek a healthcare professional. For example, someone with heart disease may see a professional multiple times while someone with a sprained wrist might only need one visit. This is oftentimes not the reality because other factors beyond the severity or complexity of the disease can be stronger predictors of healthcare utilization (Clewley, Rhon, Flynn, Koppenhaver & Cook, 2018). One of these factors that supersedes severity or complexity is previous healthcare costs. If you incurred high costs in the past, you are less likely to seek further healthcare. Also, the number of past visits and the type of visits are good predictors of HSB.

Further, the initial healthcare provider has an influence on future healthcare utilization for people seeking care for neck pain. Researchers used a sample of 1702 patients (69.25% women, average age, 45.32 ± 14.75 years) with a new episode of neck pain who consulted a primary care provider, physical therapist (PT), chiropractor (DC), or specialist were part of a study to see if these patients utilized healthcare differently (Horn, George, & Fritz, 2017). They found that those who consulted with a PT or DC had decreased odds of being prescribed opioids and those who consulted a DC had decreased odds of having advanced imagery done or injections given (Horn et al., 2017) Thus, if you don’t want injections, or expensive imaging techniques done on you, consult a chiropractor when you have neck pain, especially neck pain resulting from a car accident.


Clewley, D., Rhon, D., Flynn, T., Koppenhaver, S., & Cook, C. (2018). Health seeking behavior as a predictor of healthcare utilization in a population of patients with spinal pain. PLOS ONE, 13(8), e0201348.

Horn, M. E., George, S. Z., & Fritz, J. M. (2017). Influence of Initial Provider on Health Care Utilization in Patients Seeking Care for Neck Pain. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, 1(3), 226–233.