OBJECTIVES AND RESULTS

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Many of the problems within our profession, namely, the dissension, the wide variations in practice, and even the lack of acceptance comes from a confusion between our objective and the results of that objective. The objective of chiropractic is to locate, analyze and correct vertebral subluxations in order to enable the innate intelligence of the body to better express itself. I believe it can be demonstrated historically that this has been our objective since D.D. Palmer realized that the ramifications of his initial adjustment were more than just a cure for deafness. The problem appears to have arisen historically when we began to confuse our objective with the results of meeting that objective. Ironically, some of the results of the chiropractic objective just happen to be the objectives of medicine. The medical objectives are to treat symptoms and to prevent, treat, and cure diseases. Those have always been their objectives and while the techniques and procedures may have drastically changed over the years the objectives have remained essentially the same. Perhaps there are slight changes in the degree of emphasis (today the emphasis appears to be on prevention). The above are not the objectives of chiropractic, however, they are among the potential results of meeting the chiropractic objective. At times an individual free of subluxation, whose body is more capable of expressing its innate intelligence, is cured of a disease. Sometimes diseases are prevented and symptoms do disappear. Increased well being and better health may result. Every cell functions better when a subluxation has been corrected. These are all results of meeting the objective and not the objective itself. There is nothing wrong with the results provided we do not confuse the results with the objective. Those results are objectives of medicine.
Focusing on the results rather than the objective can create many real problems that confront our profession today.
Perhaps an analogy would help our understanding. The objective of a basketball game is to win. That objective is the same whether it is a pickup game at the local playground or being played on the professional level, although the techniques and degree of skill may vary. On the professional level the results of meeting that objective are numerous. If the objective is met on a continuous and consistent basis, the result is momentary and perhaps lasting glory. The objective of the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers was to win every game, one game at a time. While they did meet it sufficiently, over the season, to receive the momentary glory of winning the N.B.A. championship and the lasting glory of being considered by many as the greatest basketball team in history, those were results. While going about the task of meeting their objective it was necessary to concentrate on each game’s objective. If they met that objective the results would take care of themselves. Other results of winning would include receiving money, perhaps an increase in salary the next year or a longterm, lucrative contract. Are these results bad? Of course not! But, you can easily see the potential for problems if the results became more important to an individual than the objective. Before long five players would be out there for themselves, with no thought for the team or the objective. It would not matter to them if the team won or lost as long as they did well as an individual. As long as they look good, score points, get a fat contract for the next season and an opportunity to endorse Adidas basketball shoes, the heck with the team! Even as a team, concentrating on results can cause you to fail to meet your objective. Many a team has lost a game because they were “looking ahead,” that is, focusing on the next team rather than focusing on the objective, that of winning one game at a time.
No straight chiropractor would deny that it is good when people are “cured” under chiropractic care. Everyone is happy to see patients feel better. However, when the results become our objective or even when they take precedence over our objective we have the potential for problems. Some chiropractors will do anything for results. Our history is replete with examples of chiropractors using all kinds of worthless or harmful therapeutic devices to achieve a result. We have criticized medicine for using harmful procedures and techniques to achieve their objectives. If we are more concerned with results than our objective we have the same potential for harm. Whether it is basketball or chiropractic, concentration on results rather then objectives always creates the potential for problems. The greatest problem for chiropractic, of course, is the danger that the results can become the objective. When that happens we are merely practicing medicine. Most people who practice “therapeutic chiropractic” do not do so because they are dishonest. They do so because therapeutic procedure do produce results. These results, however, are the medical objective.
Throughout the history of our profession there has been confusion between our objective and results. B.J.’s scientific research into results has given some the excuse to focus on results rather than objective. However! if you look at all of his writings in the proper context, it is obvious that B.J. always had in mind the objective of correcting vertebral subluxation in order to enable the innate intelligence of the body to better express itself. While some have strayed very far from our objective, others have come to the realization that the objective is in and of itself worthwhile even if it produces none of the tangible results. When it comes right down to it we all realize that. You do not refuse to adjust a child because they have no symptoms, nor do you stop adjusting a person’s subluxations because he or she fails to demonstrate tangible results. Every chiropractor, mixer and straight, adjusts some person or persons without the necessity of seeing results. We all believe we did something of value for that patient. If we didn’t we could not in good conscience accept a fee and allow that patient to walk out of the office.
The difference is that the straight adjusts every patient without the necessity of seeing results and knows he has done all of those patients some good.
With what we read in the papers concerning the situation in college basketball today we would have to say that the only pure basketball is that which is played on the “sandlot” level. When I play basketball with a bunch of guys every Thursday night, I play to win because winning is, in and of itself, a worthwhile objective. There is no glory, nor money, just the fun of playing, playing well and winning. Perhaps if we had more chiropractors practicing their profession with that attitude and focusing on the objective of chiropractic and not the results, we would have a lot more pure chiropractic being practiced and a great deal less problems within our profession.
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