Some time back an article appeared in one of the chiropractic publications comparing the allopathic approach and the chiropractic approach. “The allopaths look upon the musculoskeletal system as a porter or low motor system of the organs. They place their emphasis on the organs. They see men as organs first and foremost, carried around by the skeleton and muscles.” The article goes on to say that chiropractors see or should see the body from the opposite point of view. We should view the musculoskeletal system as supreme and that our organs are important because they support that system. The article’s point is that we should emphasize and develop the preeminence of the musculoskeletal system because that is where our own entering into the health care delivery system occurs.
The argument of which is more important (the musculoskeletal system or the organ system) is more than a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” discussion. It is of vital importance to the self esteem of many chiropractors. It allows them to maintain the same status as the physician. After all, if the lumbo-sacral complex is as important as the heart, are we not as important as a cardiologist? But, the fact is, this entire line of reasoning misses the whole point of chiropractic. Chiropractic came into existence because of one fundamental error in the practice of medicine. Medicine views the human organism as unrelated parts without any organizing, intelligent principle. That is why medicine has failed, not because their techniques were wrong but because their fundamental principle was incorrect. Hence, the reason for chiropractic to come into existence in 1895. If we as chiropractors fall into the trap of “promoting” one organ system or part of the body over another we are doomed to the same failure that medicine has experienced. We may reach the same level of respectability and acceptance as medicine but we will never make an impact on the health of humanity. Chiropractic does not divide the body up into parts and we definitely do not place degrees of importance on the various parts. True, we address our attention to one particular area commonly called the vertebral column, but only as it relates to the nervous system and only as the nervous system relates to health. Treating diseases is medical thinking. Treating parts is medical thinking also and is not the role of the chiropractor. We cannot allow the desire for recognition or for a “paradigm”, to make us assume the role as specialists of the musculoskeletal system, nervous system, or any system. We cannot allow the insurance companies to coerce us into making the vertebral subluxation a musculoskeletal disorder. If we do, chiropractic will cease to be what it was intended, a health care system, and will sink to the level of a second-rate orthopedics. If we must “glorify” something let us not make it a system of the body as the medics do, let us see man as “first and foremost” an expression of the innate intelligence without which every system of the body will quickly become dust. V1n6

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