Chiropractic and Health Care

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Which is easier…changing the public’s perception of health care so they understand chiropractic in its true light or getting chiropractic out of health care? It is my opinion that leaving the health care community is the easier, more effective and most philosophically sound choice. The pros and cons of that idea have been discussed recently on the internet as well as through other media. Most of those expressing their view disagree with me, including those who I consider leaders in chiropractic. I can respect their position and I am willing to concede to the majority (of straights) viewpoint. As I stated in my paper, I am not sure that the straight community could present chiropractic as something other than health care in the face of the majority of the profession’s desire to make chiropractic either medical or a medical alternative. I would be willing to try, but without the cooperation and the enthusiasm of the rest of the straight chiropractic community I cannot do it alone. Of that I am sure.

Okay, so now that we have concluded that chiropractic is, should be and will be part of health care for the foreseeable future, how do we go about changing people’s perception of health care so that it fits chiropractic? In the straight community, we do not want to change chiropractic to fit the present (outside-in) model of health care. So we must begin to change how people view health care. We know that for most people health care means doing nothing until you are sick. Even those who exercise regularly and eat healthy do not ordinarily view those activities as “health care.” Health care is usually something done to you rather than something you do for yourself. Further, health care to most people means addressing the symptoms of their condition or the cause of their condition. Most chiropractors address the former, and with the exception of straight chiropractors with a non-therapeutic objective, the rest address the latter. Even the so-called alternatives to medicine, of which we are considered a part, address the drugless alleviation of medical conditions.

We have the medical profession, who once viewed us as quacks, saying that we are now part of the health care team specializing in back pain. Worst of all, most of our profession thinks that is a good thing! So that’s where we are, a part of the health care system which is really not health care at all.

The challenge that lies before us, if we are to remain in the health care system, is how do we change the public’s perception of health care and chiropractic? As I see it, we have two choices. We can either change peoples’ perception of health care and show that chiropractic is the only “true health care” (to quote one young straight), or we can explain chiropractic to people and hope that they will realize the difference between what we do and what everyone else does, that we are not a condition-oriented, disease-treating therapy and those things really have little to do with health. The first choice is a formidable task. It necessitates teaching people a whole new concept before we even teach them about chiropractic. It means changing their whole world and life viewpoint, at least with regard to health care. In other words, teaching them an above-down viewpoint of life so that chiropractic, once explained, will make perfect sense. I say it is a formidable task because we as a profession have not even succeeded in explaining chiropractic well, let alone going beyond that to explain the ADIO philosophy of life which is far more involved. The second choice is to just keep doing what we have been doing all along, explain the uniqueness of chiropractic as we perceive it. Of course, the old saying applies here: “If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will get the same results that you have been getting.” Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, as straight chiropractors, we are not exactly turning the world upside down. Perhaps that is okay with some. We can continue to make a good living and maybe even influence another chiropractor here or there to practice like us, although, it appears that more are abandoning the straight chiropractic community than are joining it. If you consider the straight students as part of the straight community, too many, perhaps most, do not follow through with the straight philosophy after graduation. It seems to me that as a movement, we want more for chiropractic than just personal gain, just the present chiropractors building successful practices. We want more, many more straight chiropractors joining us from the student ranks and from the presently practicing chiropractors. That is why we support chiropractic colleges, why we belong to state and national organizations, why we have a support organization like FACE, why we write newsletters and go to meetings to promote straight chiropractic. If that is the case then we cannot just go about educating our practice members. We need to impact the rest of the profession and the public to change their viewpoint with regard to health. How we go about doing that relative to this whole issue of health is the challenge that lies before us. If anyone has any new, innovative ideas, I would sure like to hear them. V19n3

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