Since it’s a human foible to look outside one’s self for the causation of our problems and challenges, it’s not surprising that many chiropractors look outside themselves and their practices for the cause of their underperforming businesses.
Patients, who conveniently blame their genetics, divorced parents, the job they hate or an unlucky break for whatever injustice they face, are joined by chiropractors who blame the economy, the weather, their location or the attitude of their front desk staff.
In other words, few chiropractors blame their understanding of chiropractic principles as the root cause of their struggling practice.
Before you grab the torches and pitchforks, consider the distinction between the principles of chiropractic and the practice of chiropractic. The principles describe the why. The practice describes the how. Most chiropractors have spent enormous amounts of time and money attempting to unlock the secrets of practicing chiropractic. Little, if any, on the principles of chiropractic.
Struggling chiropractors rarely observe, “I bet the reason my practice is struggling is because I’ve tried to deliver chiropractic care based on my limited vision of chiropractic. The reason I’m less than successful is because I’ve fashioned chiropractic in my image, rather than conforming my practice to the time tested principles of chiropractic.”
The economy, weather or office location are far much more convenient!
But the fact remains. Spend a few moments conversing with a chiropractor who has the capacity to help more people (but isn’t), and you’ll uncover huge deficits in their understanding, appreciation and, dare I say, reverence for the principles on which the profession of chiropractic is founded. And if they have the understanding, then they lack the ability (or courage) to speak the truth in the presence of patients. The naïve assumption that all one needs is the skill to move bones and the results will speak loudly enough to have a thriving business is a serious miscalculation. Especially as the generosity of insurance companies wanes.
Yet, the technical aspects of chiropractic are rarely the problem. Oh sure, there are the occasional less-than-artful adjusters who struggle. However, a more common and easy-to-overlook issue is lacking a grasp of the deeper meaning and significance of the chiropractic intervention. Without it, technicians limit chiropractic to a mechanistic procedure no different from an auto body shop pounding out the dents and applying a fresh coat of paint—hardly a compelling reason to drop $35 (or more) three times a week for who knows how long in your office!
If you find yourself at the helm of an underperforming business that seems to be increasingly irrelevant to your community and shunned by inactive patients who long ago should have returned due to their inevitable relapse, here are 10 questions that could serve as fodder for some introspection:
Why does the body create the phenomenon called subluxation?
Are subluxations good or bad?
Are subluxations causes or effects?
Of the three causes of subluxation, which is the most common?
What does an adjustment do?
What does it take more than one adjustment?
How can techniques that don’t involve thrusting into the spine work?
Why does it appear that chiropractic sometimes doesn’t work?
Is chiropractic about bones or nerves?
Can people have subluxations without obvious symptoms?
Most chiropractors rarely wrestle with these. I know, because when I pose them, many chiropractors respond with either a deer-caught-in-the-headlights look, or hem and haw in such a way as to reveal their unpracticed language.
“Great Bill, you got me. But what does that have to do with the gaping holes in my schedule?”
If you have difficulty answering these questions in a way that makes chiropractic compelling, I can guarantee that your staff is even less persuasive. Which tells me your community is clueless. Which reveals that you’re not getting out of your office to tell the chiropractic story to strangers. Which means that people in your community show up in your practice solely on their culturally-acquired notion of what chiropractic is, namely an expensive treatment for neck and back pain. Which is something that few people are budgeting for these days.
Simply put, if you really knew the principles of chiropractic, you wouldn’t keep it a secret, blame the usual suspects for your declining numbers and hold your private pity party waiting for the phone to ring. Get the big idea and all else follows, remember?