CHIROPRACTIC APOLOGETICS – Part II

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In the last issue we discussed to some degree why we, as straight chiropractors, do what we do. If we are to substantiate the validity of straight chiropractic, we must present a complete argument or defense of it’s position. We can not rely upon “because that is what B.J. said” as our sole argument, although our history does impinge upon our position. We cannot use the philosophy alone because legislators and insurance companies are not interested in our philosophy. Neither does it mean that philosophy does not influence our professional stance. Our position must conform to the law or we must be able to demonstrate to lawmakers why the law should be changed. That change can only take place as we demonstrate that straight chiropractic is a superior manner of practice with regard to public safety. Our position must meet standards of practicality and logic to justify it’s existence and, lastly, straight chiropractic should be able to demonstrate that it is the approach of choice if chiropractic, as a separate and distinct profession, is to be perpetuated into the 21st century.
Seven points need to be established as our defense for the superiority of the practice of straight chiropractic over any other type of practice be it traditional, broadscope, or whatever. Let us begin, then, in no particular order of importance, to discuss these arguments which form the framework of our position. In this issue we will discuss–

The Perpetuation of the Chiropractic Profession

To think that only the straights are concerned about the perpetuation of the chiropractic profession is rather naive and unfair to other segments of our profession. Everyone is concerned that we continue in a professional capacity. However, there are great differences as to why we should continue. Some want to insure our professional continuation for strictly selfish reasons. They do not want to belong to a dying profession. That would deflate their egos and say to the public that this profession was not worth continuing. In the millennia of health care it is akin to a Broadway show closing after the first week’s run. Not only does this hurt their egos but it also would affect them monetarily. Much of the great monetary success that chiropractors experience today is a direct result of our growth as a profession. If that growth should fail to continue and, in fact, professional atrophy occur, those accomplishments could easily be lost. Without a strong professional voice by virtue of numbers, the gains in government and insurance recognition could be taken away more easily than they came.
The second group is one that desires our perpetuation for a much more altruistic reason. Those that identify with this group believe that the drugless, non-invasive approach to the treatment of certain diseases and maladies which chiropractic offers mankind is a valuable service. They recognize that medicine has historically moved toward more radical and more invasive types of procedures and that an alternative, more conservative approach is needed. They see chiropractic as the “largest drugless healing art,” the balancing force to medicine. They believe us to be the vanguard of the holistic health care movement which is promoting a rational approach to disease and it’s treatment. They believe that if chiropractic, as a profession, does not survive, the entire concept of drugless, conservative treatment of disease would be relegated to a small group of quacks with little, if any, legitimacy.
The third major group concerned with the perpetuation of chiropractic is the group that recognizes chiropractic as having a different objective from medicine. They see chiropractic as having nothing to do with the treatment of disease, either drugless or otherwise. They want the correction of vertebral subluxation as a separate and distinct objective with all of it’s benefits, whatever they might be, to be perpetuated apart from the practice of medicine and treatment of disease. This is the straight chiropractor.
These, then, are the three general groups that make up the chiropractic profession. Each one has developed an agenda, either consciously or unconsciously, actively or passively, for the perpetuation of our profession. It is somewhat arrogant to assume that we can, without omniscience, look into the future and determine the professional future of chiropractic if the philosophy of any one of these groups should predominate.
However, a student of the nature of man and of history who can apply some principles of logic and common sense can present some arguments pro or con for these three approaches. Remember, at the outset it was suggested that none of the seven arguments to establish our defense of straight chiropractic over any other type of practice by themselves provide a definitive answer for the proper way to practice chiropractic but this one, together with the six others, presents an overwhelming argument for straight chiropractic.
The first group, those with selfish motives are really not concerned about the future of the profession except as it relates to them personally. They join a professional organization for what it can bring them or do for them. This group would be willing to see chiropractic die as long as it would not materially affect them. In fact, they would be more than happy to participate in that death if they could be assured it would be to their benefit. They would exchange their D.C. for an M.D. in a minute because despite the great gains of chiropractic they see being a physician as the most ego-gratifying and lucrative profession. This group is moving our profession into the very position in which we can be absorbed by medicine. They see that as the most viable path for chiropractic’s future. They would like the difference between the D.C. and the M.D. to be as negligible as the difference between the D.O. and M.D.. Their actions in pushing for the incorporation of materia medica into chiropractic and positioning our profession as a part of medicine are evidence of that direction. If they should be successful, chiropractic would become medicine.
The second group represents a much more likely historical scenario for our profession. This is the group that desires chiropractic to continue as a drugless, non-invasive treatment for disease. It is a much larger group that includes extreme ends of the practice spectrum. The very strong mixer is part of this group as is the chiropractor who adjusts by hand to treat disease or its cause. (Remember the straight addresses the cause of dis-ease not disease). This group has a desire to maintain the separateness of chiropractic. However, their direction for the profession has one major flaw. They underestimate the intelligence of the medical establishment. They view chiropractic as the treatment of disease (and its cause) by drugless methods while medicine embraces drugs and surgery. Medicine however, views itself as the treatment of disease by any and all methods. The moment medicine determines a method is valuable as a treatment of disease it will appropriate that method. Granted, their drug-oriented thinking hinders incorporating non-drug procedures but eventually with enough data demonstrating that chiropractic is an effective treatment for certain conditions and the knowledge that its application is financially lucrative, they will incorporate it. Years ago, no respectable M.D. would touch nutrition as a legitimate therapy. Today many of them are. M.D.s are getting on the bandwagon of manipulation and P.T.s are increasingly incorporating it. Here’s the problem: If medicine can incorporate “chiropractic” into its armamentaria of disease treatment and we cannot incorporate valuable medical procedures, then we are at a distinct disadvantage. To think that we can pass legislation to restrict the medical community from using chiropractic procedures in the treatment of disease is rather naive. If medicine so desires, they can steal chiropractic and rest assured if not,, when they find out it is a valuable treatment for certain diseases, they will steal it! If this second group should be successful in perpetuating chiropractic as a drugless treatment for disease, chiropractic would become medicine.
The last group represents the straight community. By maintaining a different objective, that of the correction of vertebral subluxation rather than the treatment of disease, and by consciously making an effort to stay away from procedures that work toward accomplishing the medical objective, we can maintain a separate and distinct profession. Medicine would not want to steal something that is antithetical to their philosophy. They are going to be less antagonistic to a profession that is not ostensibly trying to compete with them.
Which approach is the best for the future of chiropractic? The profession cannot adopt all three. History and reason has demonstrated that if either of the first two are adopted, a disastrous result could occur. If the straight approach is adopted by the profession, there are no detrimental results. It can only mean growth and success for the profession. v6n5

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