"What If"…Part II

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Life is full of “what ifs.” If there was no attack on Pearl Harbor, would there have been World War II?

We posted an article entitled “What If” on February 2, 2011. It stimulated some discussion, which is good. The discussion also made me think some more about this issue. I am particularly interested in two groups of chiropractors. My response to them would be the same. The first group includes those who say that we chiropractors who hold to this innate philosophy are into a belief system, that our approach to chiropractic is a matter of faith, more a religion than a science. They not only belittle our philosophy but in some cases they vehemently and politically oppose it.

The second group includes chiropractors who are reluctant to talk about the benefits of a philosophically-centered practice because we have not scientifically proven what we do, except to prove that we are good for the relief of back pain. They are into research and think that chiropractic needs more research, not philosophy. Now, I am not against researching the right things. Empirically proving chiropractic as beneficial for any disease or medical condition is not the right thing.

That said, here are the “what ifs” for these folks.

What if someday they empirically prove that chiropractic can make a difference in a particular disease?

What if someday they can empirically prove that chiropractic can make a difference in every disease?

What if someday they can prove that people’s ability to perform in every area will be raised to a higher level by getting chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis?

What if someday they demonstrate that chiropractic can add years to your life, and that it enables you to get more benefit from your exercise and assimilate more efficiently the food that you eat ( or the supplements that your take)?

What if someday they prove that children grow in a healthier manner and perform better in their careers if they have been under chiropractic care?

I guess we could go on and on with our “what ifs.” The point is… what are we doing about it right now? We can’t honestly make claims that have not been proven. But, on the other hand, do we just take care of bad backs and stiff necks because that is, at this point, what our research has proven that we can help? Do we leave people subluxated and not correct their subluxations on a regular basis because we really have no proof that subluxations do the above or that regular care is beneficial to anyone with no symptoms? Or, do we present people with the same information that convinced us of the long-term benefits of regular chiropractic care, that a body works better with a good nerve supply and we improve the function of the nerve system. I’m not suggesting that we make claims that have not been proven, but look at what convinced us of the benefit of regular care. Perhaps we need to give people the opportunity to evaluate the logic and the common sense idea that appealed to us when we first heard it…logic based upon simple anatomy, physiology, deductive reasoning, the innate philosophy and common sense.

My question to those two groups of people who do not have the empirical proof is “what if chiropractic can do all those things or even some of them? What if you are denying men, women, and children some or all of the above because you have no proof? Good grief, they give trial drugs which may have serious side effects to people suffering from a terminal or even incurable disease. What are the side effects of a chiropractic adjustment? The side effects are improvement in an area of your health, your life or your performance that you were not expecting. You see, we just don’t know how or in what area, or to what degree, the human body will work better with an un-impinged nerve supply, with the inborn wisdom of the body being expressed more fully.

Every chiropractor, probably even those who only take care of bad backs and stiff necks, have had a practice member come to them after being under care for a while and say, “Hey,doc, my ___________is working better,” or “I’m more alert at work,” or “I’m sleeping better,” or “I have more energy,” or “My golf game has improved.” I’m sure they respond by saying “that’s merely a coincidence, chiropractic cannot do that.” Perhaps their brand of chiropractic cannot, but a body with less interference in the nerve system caused by vertebral subluxations can have all kinds of “side effects.”

The drug companies are required to publish their side effect in their advertisements. Perhaps we chiropractors should be forced to publish ours. Unexpected improvement in one or more areas of our life is a chiropractic side effect. What if that can happen? Are not people deserving of that information if presented in a manner that doesn’t promise it but does not rule out the possibility? And then given the freedom to make a choice.

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This article has 3 comments

  1. brian crawford D.C> 08/30/2011, 12:02 am:

    Well said, could not agree more.

  2. Richard Alan Franks 09/09/2011, 8:02 pm:

    Long ago, I decided that it was not my job to prove to the physical world that we are physically scientific. My job was to locate and remove nerve interference in the spine of as many people as I could and pray that someday physical science will catch up to the big idea. In the meantime, a lot of people would be helped.

  3. Tom 09/12/2011, 5:34 pm:

    Interesting isn’t it that EVERY successful chiropractic practice built, has been built in the absence of such proof. Now we hear from a segment of our profession that such proof is needed so we can prove the validity of what we do to the more educated, scientific community. Wonder what that makes them?? 😉

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