From time to time, I encounter chiropractors who fear for the future of the profession of chiropractic. Ironically, these are often those who do not actually “profess” chiropractic.
If your notion of chiropractic is limited to joint mobilization, improved biomechanical function, spinal alignment or the treatment of localized neck pain and back pain, you have every reason to fear that massage therapists, physical therapists or even newly enlightened osteopaths will usurp your small vision of chiropractic.
The profession of chiropractic is not entitled to exist. It has a right to exist; even the privilege to exist, but no guarantee to exist. In fact, as a profession it won’t exist if fewer and fewer chiropractors profess and deliver the principles of chiropractic.
Most modern day chiropractors forget that the very right to practice the profession of chiropractic is based on the assertion that chiropractic is a separate, distinct and nonduplicative healing art that is different from medicine. The “let’s have unity” bunch often overlook this pesky fact written into the practice act in their state or jurisdiction. Instead, their dreamy-eyed notion of being accepted, assimilated, respected and embraced by their medical counterpart’s drives them onward, against the restrictions of their state’s practice act.
So, it’s no surprise that those in the chiropractic profession who lack critical thinking skills or intellectual discernment often overlook that they are practicing medicine, not chiropractic.
- If you regularly use the word treatment, as in “I have two treatment rooms,” then you’re likely practicing medicine.
- If you often use the word manipulation and adjustment interchangeably, then you’re probably practicing medicine.
- If you tend to adjust your family members only when they are suffering from some obvious ache or pain, you’re probably practicing medicine.
- If you see yourself as a fixer of patient spines, then you’re likely practicing medicine.
- If you focus on the patient’s spine rather than the patient’s body and overall life experience, then you’re likely practicing medicine.
- If you try to eliminate subluxations with the same drive that oncologists tries to eliminate cancer, then you’re likely practicing medicine.
The distinction between chiropractic and medicine is considerably more than merely the difference in the intervention used. Instead, one must examine the intent and hoped-for outcome from the intervention. Reducing, ameliorating or eliminating symptoms is the domain of medicine. Enhancing, restoring or reviving a person’s ability to self-heal and “right themselves” is the practice of chiropractic.
I know. The insurance companies seduced many chiropractors into practicing medicine. I’m guessing the money was very persuasive, making it easier to look past the inability to use the word subluxation in your assessment and reducing your domain to spinal strains and sprains. It was a great run, but it’s time to get back to practicing chiropractic. If you can.
The profession of chiropractic will continue only if enough chiropractors profess chiropractic. As in, health is normal. That the nervous system is the master system that controls and regulates everything. And that a lack of health, known as dis-ease results from the brain losing touch with parts of the body due to interference to the nervous system. And that restoring vital communications between brain and body invokes their innate ability to self-heal, based on the limitations of matter. That all processes, including healing, takes time. That the patient does the healing, not the chiropractor and certainly not the adjustment. That what the patient brings to the table (their ability to self-heal) is more important than what the chiropractor does on the table, regardless of technique.
Using the chiropractic franchise to broadly promote “things natural” risks placing these adjunctive services and procedures ahead of the adjustment and the acknowledgment of the body’s ability to self-heal—if there is no interference.
If enough chiropractors profess chiropractic, there will be a chiropractic profession. If not, the profession of chiropractic will be contained, eliminated and will rightfully disappear.