It is absolutely essential for the perpetuation of the profession that chiropractors begin to show flexibility in their attitudes toward certain things. On the other hand, it is important that we maintain an inflexibility in other areas. Unfortunately our profession tends to be inflexible in the non-essentials and flexible in the essentials. Technique is a “non-essential.” Oh, it’s not unimportant, but your technique is not essential to the perpetuation of chiropractic. Techniques have come and gone for the last 90 years and there are more techniques now than there have ever been. Good technique is important, but which technique you practice is not important.
Hence it is non-essential. Yet we read in a national publication proponents of two different techniques arguing that the other is not scientific or valid. It is simply not an essential aspect of chiropractic that deserves an inflexible attitude. We should respect the right of every chiropractor to practice the means of correcting vertebral subluxations that he or she feels is most effective. Another example of inflexibility in the nonessentials was brought home to me recently. I referred a patient who had been under regular care for 10 years to a young chiropractor who had opened closer to where she lived. He never examined her, but informed her over the phone that he would not take care of her without x-rays. She only wanted maintenance care but he was inflexible in a non-essential. (This same chiropractor six months before as an unlicensed student was probably adjusting his wife, friends, people who he met at cocktail parties or in a local bar without an x-ray, case history, or anything else.) It always amazes me how x-rays are not essential when you are a learning student, but are essential after you become a licensed competent chiropractor. This is another example of an inflexible attitude in something that is not an essential.
Fee systems are also a non-essential that demand a flexible attitude. Yet most of our profession is inflexible with regard to the fees that they charge patients. The day of the “flexible fee system” appears to be over. Those few that still ,ÿ3 have a flexible fee system are looked down upon by those who are inflexible.
On the other side of the coin are the essentials: those areas in which we should remain inflexible. The most important, of course, is the definition and scope of chiropractic. We should be inflexible as to what chiropractic is. Yet most of our profession is saying that every chiropractor should practice as broad a scope of practice as he or she desires. The scope of chiropractic is an essential. For the survival of chiropractic we must maintain an inflexible attitude.
Filling our insurance forms involves terminology, terminology involves vocabulary, vocabulary involves thinking, thinking involves principles, principles are an essential. There should be no flexibility with regard to filling out insurance forms. Yet most chiropractors are totally flexible when it comes to insurance forms and will write anything in order to get paid.
It really comes down to this: the principles, tenets, terminology, and philosophy of chiropractic are essentials. With regard to these we must remain inflexible. There can be no flexibility and no compromise with regard to them. The application of the principles, tenets, and philosophy are non-essentials and with regard to them we must learn to be flexible.


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