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Why the Move Toward Chiropractic Medicine?

countryclub.jpgI’ve been musing about the growing bifurcation of the chiropractic profession. I’ll just ask it out loud: Why are there chiropractors so ambitiously pursuing the elimination of subluxation and the addition of drugs to the profession of chiropractic?

At first, I thought it might be that these individuals are embarrassed that a “magnetic healer and fish monger” had authored the chiropractic profession. Or ashamed of the flamboyant and eccentric style of his son. Then, I imagined that perhaps this dissatisfaction with classic chiropractic was because it hampered the acceptance of some chiropractors into the medical health care country club.

While these may be factors, upon deeper reflection I’m wondering if something far more simple and obvious is actually at work here. In fact, the same thing that was present when I suggested to my Dad that he see a chiropractor while simultaneously receiving the ineffective chemotherapy he had chosen.

“Chiropractic adjustments aren’t powerful enough to deal with cancer,” I remember him saying at the dinner table about three months before his death. Like most things my Dad said, once the pronouncement was rendered there was no room for continued discussion. Case closed.

Even though my Dad had heard me speak to chiropractors dozens of times, he still was in bondage to the beliefs of the medically-dominated mainstream. He didn’t know (or accept) that the body does the healing, not a drug or a doctor. And while earlier he had received excellent chiropractic care from two different chiropractors, clearly he didn’t understand (or accept) that the intent of chiropractic is NOT to treat a disease or condition, but to revive the body’s ability to self heal.

Maybe that’s where these lost chiropractors have disembarked from chiropractic. Perhaps they never had a life-changing experience with chiropractic before deciding to become a chiropractor. Perhaps they haven’t seen an infant, child or adult recover from a life-threatening health condition because their chiropractic adjustments helped invoke their body’s self-healing capacity. Perhaps, do I dare say, they may be poor adjusters?

If one’s experience with delivering chiropractic care seems to produce inconsistent results, I can understand how one might think that a puny chiropractic adjustment just wouldn’t be significant enough to address anything beyond a spinal owey. No wonder you’d want access to prescribing drugs and ways to drum out the mythical subluxation and its accompanying misguided philosophooy!

Granted, I don’t know how to deliver an adjustment. After all these years (almost 30) I’m still amazed, no, in awe of a skilled chiropractor’s ability to know where, when and how to add energy to a patient’s spine in just the right way to help restore the healing response. Still, that doesn’t prevent me from trying to understand why some chiropractors might find a greater affinity with medicine than chiropractic.

So what is it? A desire for acceptance? Embarrassment from being labeled a mere chiropractor? Seeing the adjustment as too low tech to be enough? Poor adjusting skills? Or is it something else that I’ve overlooked?

Pleeeeease let me know!

Comments (9)

Tulsa Chiropractor:

First I want to offer my sympathies for your father, and I know exactly the way you felt when he dismissed the idea. That could be part of the problem you brought up. I think many chiropractors especially young ones haven't seen miraculous results, and basically give in to peer pressure.

Let's take a look at the bright side. If every chiropractor in my city starts pushing drugs. That makes me the only one who doesn't. Sounds like great marketing to me.

Herd mentality. Society says, “I like that drug sir, may I have another?” When, unfortunately, the majority of our profession has no North Star, it is easiest to move with the herd. “Doc, should I take Tylenol or Advil?”

Another possibility may have to do with a conspiracy theory. Since we as a profession have not gone away, the easiest way to get rid of us is to entice us with the Kool-Aid! Imagine the funding available to the chiropractic schools from the pharmaceutical industry. The drug industry has already added physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners to the line of prescribers. What a coup if they score the DC’s!

Cynicism is what dominates human nature. Even when a friend tells you he/she is getting married, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Be honest...

The worst thing about cynicism is that it is contagious. Most young DCs graduate now with a pile of debt that seems insurmountable. Being in survival and panic mode trickles down to their practice, then things don't work out... Who/what is to blame?? It must be Chiropractic, maybe what the rest of the public says is right, blah blah blah...

Being a recent graduate from a great TIC school, Life, I find it depressing that most of the professors are cynical in teaching and chiropracTIC... I wish I could have went to school in the old days, where every single course was taught by a DC.

Of course, the institutions aren't entirely to blame, accreditation committees and various boards (not mentioning any names) create a vicious cycle which makes it hard to escape.

Where will all of this end? I wish I could tell you...

We have too many wanna be MD's and not enough wanna be Chiropractors. Thank you for bringing up the taboo adjustment conversation.... The adjustment is a physical skill, just like a golf swing and to say that the results of every golf swing is the same would be crazy and an insult to the PGA. There are better adjusters than others and as much as we want to pretend that this is not true... it is. It is truly pathetic that the primary form of our treatment and art is not being taught well or even focused on in schools in favor of a bunch of garbage that we do not use in our clinics. I am not against the education on other things.. I just wish that adjusting skills were more refined and honed before the DC is released into the field. There is plenty of time in schools to teach, it is just that the time is being wasted.

I had a similar experience this past Saturday when a boyfriend who accompanied a new patient asked me, "Are you just a chiropractor?” I assured him it was all I could handle! I then went on to explain the nervous system's role in health and the body's innate ability to heal itself and my brief story about why I became a chiropractor. He made an appointment.


It amazes me that a lay person (Mr. Esteb) has more understanding of chiropractic (universal) principles than the majority of our own profession.

I applaud your convictions to question our leaders' motives and wonder why we want to so easily give up the most important health discovery man has ever known.

And I pray that common sense returns and we chiropracTORS rise up and keep our profession from being destroyed from within.

Of course, we are in danger of over-simplifying by trying to boil this down.

That said I tend to see this as a conflict of paradigms/perspectives. For the modernist/rationalist it's hard to see beyond spinal biomechanics because it is a material world where effects are generally local. It’s difficult to believe that "manipulating" vertebrae will do anything much beyond that vertebral level, let alone to another system. And of course, this is mostly what the chiropractic colleges teach. Then there is the trans-rationalist, who has begun to become aware of the subtle energies involved in existence, which are beginning to see beyond the material. But when you start talking about this and using words like Innate Intelligence, subtle energy or Newton forbid...God. Then all the rationalists label you as primitive/pre-rationalist and really start to hate you. So basically, I think we have a friction between levels of consciousness. We're not alone in this, it’s going on throughout our culture, things are changing and that always brings some friction with it. So that's my horribly over-simplified POV.

Dr Dan:

Incisive as always. It seems to me that there is a lack of clarity in our own minds at times.

Even your chiropractic poster with chiropractic first, drugs second and surgery last. One can take that as "we're the lowest rung on the ladder" as opposed to "we're the first option!”

I'm with you. Low tech, first option, natural, and so on is a compliment.

But we get distracted with the dramatic (slicing someone open), or the reported miracle (computerized vision). The adjustment seems so pale.

Broccoli seems pale next to the latest protein shake. But which one has been and will be the healthy choice for the long run?

Just musing. Thanks.

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From September 25, 2010 1:31 PM

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 25, 2010 1:31 PM.

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