Many chiropractors appear to be scrambling these days, trying to find the money in chiropractic.
Is the money in some new gismo or spinal decompression? Is the money in a new adjunctive procedure such as cold laser? Is the money in a new service such as weight loss or nutritional counseling?
Peruse the ads in the pages of chiropractic periodicals or walk the gauntlet in the vendor area at chiropractic conventions and association gatherings and you may start to wonder. Seems like the increasingly shrill ads and exhibitor overtures have become more about profit and less about chiropractic care.
This begs the question. Is it possible to make a living these days, simply delivering quality chiropractic adjustments to people who want a natural approach to better health without drugs or surgery?
I’m not anti-decompression or anti-cold laser or anti-nutrition. I’m just wondering why there seems to be a growing inclination to supplement patient care with these services and modalities. I’m sure each one is justified as being helpful for patients, but is that the primary motivation for their addition? Or merely a rationalization?
Many chiropractors, especially those who have been at it for three or four decades or longer, are quick to point out that today’s patient is different. More stress. Poorer nutrition. Less patience. And perhaps more subtle, yet significant, an increasing mistrust of the body that may prompt them to believe that an adjustment is just too puny to be of much value.
If you’ve been seduced by this cultural hypnosis, snap out of it! It may be a sign that you have been deceived into thinking that “results” are about technique, procedure or your golden hands.
Important, sure. But the hero in all of this has always been the inborn healing ability inside the patient. In other words, what a patient brings to your table is more important than what you do on the table. (Try getting results with a cadaver.) Anything else and you make chiropractic about you, rather than patients.
If you have the habit of taking credit for the patient’s improvement or conversely, taking blame for the patient’s lack of a speedy recovery, you’ve made chiropractic about you. It’s so tempting. After all, most patients (and television dramas) are quick to give the medical doctor, surgeon or drug the credit for their health. Why not you?
Why not!?! For starters…
1. It’s stealing.
2. It’s lying.
3. It’s confusing.
Does that mean you show up detached and without responsibility in the matter of the patient’s health? Of course not. Besides the responsibility to educate patients about this important distinction separating the vitalistic paradigm of chiropractic from the mechanistic model of medicine, it would seem that your responsibilities would include among other things:
Examining patients for contraindications
Making your exam findings meaningful
Recommending an optimum course of care
Delivering quality chiropractic adjustments
Monitoring changes in the patient’s condition
Consulting other professionals as needed
Educating patients and inspiring healthy habits
Providing hope and encouragement
Once you accept that chiropractic is about a patient’s self-healing capacity—not you or your technique, and patients get that it’s about their self-healing capacity—not you or your technique, a healthy synergy emerges that is profitable for both patient and chiropractor.
The money in chiropractic can be found in the same place all money is found: providing a product or service that someone else wants, at a price they are willing to pay that covers your expenses and a little bit more. Sure, maybe that “someone” is no longer an insurance company. Sure, maybe what patients are willing to pay has changed. Maybe. But at a far deeper level, if you’re serving yourself instead of serving others, you probably won’t see the money and thus you probably won’t find the money. This is about your heart, not your hands; your spirit, not your dwindling savings.