|I have patients who suffer a relapse and return to my office mentioning that they stopped care because they felt better. While I'm delighted they came back, I can't help but feel that I failed. Do they care about spinal decay? Do they care about nerve function? Or, are most people just operating on a basic survival mode?
Patients begin chiropractic care with a set of beliefs about how their body works, what health is, the necessity of ongoing care, doctors, patients and the like. With a lifetime of symptom-treating behind them, that's what they see "health care" as being.
Creating an environment for patients to change their deep-seated beliefs about these topics is the key. And while patients don't enter your practice with the objective of having their beliefs changed, and they are the ones that do the actual belief changing, I believe that facing this challenge is necessary if you have any hope of inspiring patients to adopt a schedule of regular lifetime care like you and I enjoy.
As it turns out, "failure," stopping care and having the problem return later is a key ingredient to successful belief changing! It may take patients two, three, four or more fits and starts before they get it. And some never will. The notion that patients will give up their symptom-treating perspective after a snappy report of findings or some scare tactics involving X-rays is well, naïve.
Yet, consider the opposite. What if you were able to produce 100% compliance? What if patients did everything you told them to do? It may be hard to imagine, but I suspect that heady feeling would be interesting for only about a week or two. Soon after you’d feel like a neuro-mechanical robot.
Thus, one could make a case that a sense of fulfillment and personal satisfaction comes from the process of seeing incremental progress over the course of perhaps years, and the creativity of learning new, more effective ways of communicating the truth in a compelling and persuasive manner. This is what helps produce joy, purpose and value.
At least that's my theory. What's yours?