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February 2010 Archives


Monday Morning Motivation

Are you a clingy chiropractor?

One way some chiropractors keep their practices small is to overly concern themselves with getting patients to like them. This is often motivated by two unhelpful beliefs:

1. If patients like me they will more likely follow my recommendations.

2. If patients like me I can influence them without taking an uncomfortable or unpopular stand.

Don't fall for it.

Showing up as a chameleon, anxious to please others and avoid confrontation, is hard work. Changing colors with every patient, carefully editing every word, abdicating your influence so not to ruffle any feathers is practicing Cowardly Chiropractic. You know the truth. Be bold! Walk in confidence! To be respected you must risk rejection. To attract you must repel. To lead patients you must use your compass, not theirs.

Absolutely be friendly. But be careful that you don't cross the line between being friendly and being friends.


Spine Mechanic?

spine-mechanic.jpgEnormous amounts of energy are consumed in an attempt to get patients to do the “right” things to promote healing, advance their health and improve their well-being. Many professional caregivers seem bent on saving patients from themselves. Others seem resigned to the apparent fruitlessness of the effort and apply their ministrations with a detachment almost bordering on indifference.

Can you change the priority that patients place on their health?

Without looking through a spiritual lens, you might see the task before you as merely using the right videos to educate patients or delivering a persuasive rof. Certainly these can be helpful, but there is something else at work here that you might want to consider. And it may dramatically change how you communicate with patients.

Continue reading "Spine Mechanic?" »


What I'm Reading

lynchpin-bookYes, I freely confess. I’m a Seth Godin junkie. So it was great delight that I saw his newest book on my visit to the bookstore on my way home from my chiropractor Tuesday. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? does not disappoint. And while I’m only on page 39, Seth (I think since I’ve devoured every book he’s written, I’ve earned the right to call him by his first name) has done it again by picking up on a nuance others overlook and teasing it out for everyone’s benefit.

Naturally, if you’re the one moving the freight, sweating over a hot adjusting table all day, then you’re indispensable. But how do you attract and train your staff to “own” their job and rise to the many opportunities of a paraprofessional? I predict you’ll find some helpful answers between the covers.


Monday Morning Motivation

Do you care too much?

With a tip of the hat to comedian Jeff Foxworthy of "You-might-be-a-redneck-if..." fame, you might care too much if you...

...feel a twinge of anger when patients miss an appointment or disregard your recommendations.

...adjust a new patient on the first visit because you hope it will validate you or your subsequent recommendations.

...become defensive when a patient mentions they're unhappy with the pace of their recovery.

...assume that when patients discontinue care unexpectedly it's because of something you forgot to say or do.

...permit patients to run up large balances because you're uncomfortable asking to be paid.

And it's not only what you say. It can be a raised eyebrow, a judgmental tone or imposing an expectation beyond the patient's limited level of commitment.

Care, but don't care too much. It's the "social" part of "...optimum physical, mental and social well-being" of healthy chiropractors.


You’ll See It When You Believe It

ghostbusters-logoApparently the “Tastes great!” “Less filling!” debate within chiropractic rages on, pitting the evidence-based-scientific-give-me-proof-med-heads against the anachronistic-paleochiropractic-subluxationophiles. (I didn’t make those up. They’re terms extracted from an actual email exchange between chiropractors!) Each points an accusatory finger at the other, assigning blame for what ails the profession, their practice or the sacred cow of “public perception” about chiropractic.

What’s so amusing, and at the same time tragic, is that neither party in this isometric, how-many-chiropractic-angels-can-fit-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument is capable of convincing the other. Neither can win. However, both can lose, if nothing more than the time wasted while having this self-indulgent exchange.

Actually, this debate has little to do with chiropractic.

Continue reading "You’ll See It When You Believe It" »


Monday Morning Motivation

Chiropractic supports a multitude of practice management and consulting firms. Before you purchase these services, clarify what you actually need.

Consultant. Don't have a paperwork system? Need help with patient flow or office layout? Don't know what you don't know? You may need a practice consultant.

Coach. Do you lack discipline? Do you know what to do, but need someone to nag you to take courageous action steps? You probably need a coach.

Accountability partner. If you want to use peer pressure to motivate action, perhaps something as simple as a monthly breakfast meeting with a local colleague or mastermind group will do the job.

Mentor. This is someone who holds similar values as you and is living them in a way that you aspire to express yourself. Their association with or knowledge of chiropractic may not be essential.

Don't buy a hammer if what you need is a wrench!


I Just Fix 'em Too Good

Are you a chiropractic fixer?Is it possible to rehabilitate and retrain the supporting muscles and soft tissues of the spine in patients over the age of 30 with the dozen visits or so doled out by an insurance company?

Symptomatic improvement? Probably. Lasting soft tissue changes? Unlikely.

This means their symptoms are almost certain to resurface months or years after discontinuing their care. Usually from some new physical, emotional or chemical stressor. When it happens, will they return to your practice for follow up care? Or cozy up to the new chiropractor in town? Or give up on chiropractic all together?

It depends upon several issues that many chiropractors have overlooked.

Continue reading "I Just Fix 'em Too Good" »


Monday Morning Motivation

Is your practice a cult?

One characteristic of a cult is the attempt to control what its members say and do. Such as...

No talk about symptoms. How to you expect to change what symptoms mean to patients if they're not allowed to talk about them?

Wellness is superior to relief. How will patients believe the benefits of regular checkups if they don't start care, stop care and experience a relapse or two?

Drugs are bad. Every cult needs an enemy and medicine is a convenient target. Drugs aren't the enemy. Beliefs about symptom treating are.

These and others suggest a profound mistrust of patients. Hijacking their free will, even if justified in a patient's best interest, is parental and potentially exploitive. Such practices require a constant replenishing of new patients as the limitations of their power is revealed by patients who discontinue care without notice and rarely refer others.


Are You a Patient Pleaser?

chiropractic-patient-pleaser“Hi, my name is Steven and I’m a patient pleaser.”

“Hi Steven.”

No, there isn’t a 12-Step Program for patient pleasers, but if there were, plenty of chiropractors would be attending. Apparently, when you choose a profession like chiropractic that doesn’t fit into the accepted mainstream model, you have two choices. Either dumb down chiropractic and round off the sharp edges to make it something more palatable, or morph yourself into something you think will get patients to like you. Both are common strategies that produce unhelpful and counterproductive results.

Perverting chiropractic or contorting your personality in the hopes of being more attractive, acceptable or influential is the ultimate sellout. Eventually it makes you feel dark inside. It requires massive amounts of energy to sustain and turns practice into a joyless routine of fixing spines and biting your tongue.

If you find yourself in one or both of these circumstances, you may find the following observations helpful.

Continue reading "Are You a Patient Pleaser?" »

About February 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in February 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.