Progressive Chiropractic


It always amazes me how peoples’ perspectives can be so distorted that they fail to see their faults and shortcomings and instead ascribe them to others.  Nowhere is it more obvious than with those chiropractors who call themselves “progressive,” who want to see chiropractic evolve away from its traditional roots and are critical of the objective straight chiropractor.  In their defense, I must say that they have a point with regard to the traditional B.J. chiropractors, those who see the vertebral subluxation as the cause of all disease and the adjustment as the cure-all.  However, that is surely not objective/non-therapeutic straight chiropractic.

Let’s look at these progressive types.  There are a few chiropractors in our area who are marketing themselves as “progressive,” having the newest equipment and treatment for low back problems.  Basically, the modality they are promoting is a traction machine.  Interestingly, you don’t hear of anyone going in the hospital for traction anymore.  The medical profession has virtually given up on that procedure.  Is it progressive to incorporate procedures that medicine has found wanting and abandoned?

Right or wrong, chiropractic began because of the failure of medicine at the end of the 19th century.  Today, most of those who want to see chiropractic evolve are looking to incorporate medical procedures, many of which, like traction, have been abandoned by medicine.  (Some, like healing with magnets, were even abandoned by D.D. more than 100 years ago!)  Yet the reason for the growth of chiropractic was not because of failed procedures but because these procedures are based upon a failed system-medicine.  Medical philosophy is based upon the idea that a lack of health is caused by the presence of disease(s) and its symptoms and that if you remove them, the individual will once again be healthy.  While therapeutic procedures have some palliative effect, they are ineffective in restoring health.  And while new therapeutic methods are coming into existence all the time, they merely have the same old objective.  There is nothing progressive or revolutionary about them.  Those that have even limited benefit, including manipulation, are absorbed by organized medicine.  With all these new measures that we are supposed to be incorporating into chiropractic to make it progressive and to evolve, the fact is the old standby, the staple of medical practice, is still the use of drugs as it has been for over 3,000 years.  The “progressives” in our profession want to see us incorporate the use of drugs, to evolve into a profession that has been around for 3,000 years!  If incorporating medicine into chiropractic is progressive, the most progressive thing we could have done was to never have begun a profession in the first place!  Hey, maybe homo sapiens can evolve back into Cro-Magnon.  Now that’s something to look forward to!  We can all sit around campfires eating root and bugs and grunting to each other to communicate.  There really are different ideas of what progress and evolution are. 

Let’s look now at objective straight chiropractic.  Contrary to charges, it has not been static.  In fact, it has evolved more in a shorter period of time than any other approach to chiropractic.  It has stayed within its species yet has changed considerably for the better which is what evolution and progress are all about.  Some of these specific changes are included below.

Objective straight chiropractic has evolved from the therapeutic approach of getting sick people well to one of non-therapeutics, correcting vertebral subluxation simply because it is detrimental to all people.  It has broadened the “market” of people who need our service to include everyone with a spine.  At the same time, the majority of the profession has narrowed our clientele to include only those people with non-complicated low back pain.  Objective straight chiropractic has been defining the profession by its unique objective, in theory eliminating the conflict with organized medicine.  We have two different, non-competitive objectives.  Bashing medical procedures is not part of objective straight chiropractic.  That has to be seen as progress even by those who want to be absorbed by medicine.  We have also advanced the idea of innate intelligence, taking it from a pseudo-religious concept to one that is common sense and progressive, one that “progressive scientists” are actually acknowledging.  We have disassociated ourselves from the one-cause, one-cure for all disease faction of the profession.  That’s evolutionary (as well as revolutionary).  We are advancing the philosophy but staying within the bounds of an objective that is exclusive for the correction of vertebral subluxation.  We are not camping at the graveside of our ancestors but we are respectful of their contribution.  While on the subject of respectfulness, we are willing to accept and respect every other approach to the practice of chiropractic as being legitimate and we are not interested in infringing upon anyone’s right to practice regardless of how worthless we think their approach to be.  Now that’s a truly progressive attitude.

There are many factions within chiropractic.  Without exception all of them but objective straight chiropractic falls into one of two categories.  They are either resisting change, trying to combine chiropractic with an already existent profession, medicine, or hold tenaciously and defiantly to the model of the Palmers.  Most people believe this position will lead to professional extinction which, needless to say, is not going to create progress for us and can only lead to our loss of identity, loss of our philosophy, and our unique contribution to society.  Unfortunately the latter option, professional absorption, is not progress either.  Only the objective straight chiropractor has a progressive plan to evolve this profession into what it could be, what in all likelihood our Founders would like to have seen it become and one that can best serve humanity in a non-duplicative, non-competitive manner.  That is truly progressive chiropractic! v.20n.4

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