Our Shrinking Chiropractic Practice Box


The above is the title of an article written by a chiropractic college president that laments what he sees as a problem in the profession. Specifically, he thinks “others who called spinal manipulation ‘quackery’ just a few decades ago have now become the ‘originators’ of this form of therapy.” About the only part of the article I agree with is when he suggests that we cannot stop other professions from competing with us any more than they could stop us from competing with them. The Wilk case proved that. Although non-therapeutic chiropractic is not “competition,” the rest of the profession perceives themselves that way.

He submits that there are “two schools of thought” in the profession although his division is interesting inasmuch as I have never seen the profession divided in this manner. Those who adhere to the first, he suggests, base their future on the premise that only they “truly know how to correct subluxation” and by doing that for a reasonable fee, they can survive and prosper. He believes that other health care professions will learn to correct subluxations and with third-party pay, lower fees will not be a factor. As long as we in the straight community have been explaining our type of practice, I am amazed how so many really intelligent people in our profession still do not get it. Our future as a straight chiropractic profession should not be based upon the hope that no one else learns how to correct vertebral subluxations. It really is not difficult to learn. In fact, that is the major fear of those who worry about chiropractic being stolen by other professionals. Our manner of practice will be preserved based upon no one else wanting to correct vertebral subluxations, at least not for the reason that we do. It would be arrogant and absurd to think that a physician, osteopath, or physical therapist could not learn to give an adjustment. But it is easy to see that they would not do it to allow the innate intelligence of the body to be more fully expressed. That metaphysical aspect of our objective is totally foreign to the materialistic members of other professions. It is even foreign to the mechanistic segment of our profession, which is the other school of thought mentioned by the writer. Therein lies the secret to our success and our future.

We don’t have much empirical proof of what chiropractic can do but we had even less 100 years ago. Chiropractic grew not because it mimicked medicine or because chiropractors acted like medical doctors or scientifically proved that they could help certain diseases better than physicians. Chiropractic succeeded and continued to prosper because our approach is based upon a metaphysical concept with which most people can identify. The body has an inborn ability to heal itself and maintain itself in a state of health. In addition to that, the philosophy of maintaining the nerve system free of interference sounds reasonable to most people. Rational people can see the logic of it. I think some in our profession do not think people will accept anything unless it is accompanied by empirical documentation. When in fact much of what people accept is based upon their sound mind, logic, and (horror of horrors) even belief. There have been enough of those people to sustain our profession for over 100 years and I believe for the next 100.

So how does the writer suggest we solve the problem of our shrinking practice? Remember, it is not the pool of potential practice members that is shrinking, it is the fact that we have to share them with so many other health care providers. Ready for his solution? We have to do what they are doing. We have to diagnose diseases. We have to be prepared to refer those with problems that demand medical care out to specialists and we have to show people that we can treat simple, uncomplicated medical conditions with our tools. Which means we need to be just like medical doctors. Now there is a novel idea. It was 50 years ago when this president’s predecessor suggested the same concept and changed the school’s curriculum to reflect that idea. It took 50 years for the development of a tyrannical accrediting agency, and almost complete control of national and state boards, but today pretty much every college is producing graduates in that model. And look at the state our profession is in. So this president is suggesting that for our profession to survive we have to do more of what has been shrinking our profession’s box in the first place. We even have schools teaching things that have little if anything to do with traditional chiropractic and that has not helped.

Non-therapeutic straight chiropractic does not have a shrinking box. There are more people who need our services than ever before, simply because there are more people and everyone needs our care. What we have to do is educate people to the unique objective we have, one not in the highly competitive box of therapeutics. If not that, we can do what the president of this school admits he has been doing for forty years and continue to watch our members dwindle until there are not enough of us left to worry about our shrinking practice box. V24n4

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This article has 1 comment

  1. Tom 09/14/2013, 1:21 am:

    Our Shrinking Chiropractic Practice Box

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