Lie #14: I chose the wrong career.
Maybe. It depends on your motives for becoming a chiropractor.
If you're one of those who choose chiropractic as a Plan B or an easier path towards achieving the prestige of being a doctor, then you might have cause to question your career choice.
Similarly, if you got your first adjustment at chiropractic college and lack the philosophical foundations on which chiropractic is based, then you might find the current practice environment a bit frustrating.
If the long, narrow, difficult path of chiropractic doesn't suit you, then by all means, make a career change and pursue a dream that inspires you. However, chiropractic is unique in all the healing arts:
1. It doesn't treat anything. Treating is defined as a strategy or method for reducing symptoms. Which is the practice of medicine. Certainly patients want you to treat whatever they show up with. But you'd be wise to decline to do so in favor of reducing nervous system interference with the intent of restoring the patient's ability to function and self-heal. It's a difference that makes all the difference in the world.
2. It honors the inborn potential of every human . Instead of hijacking and overpowering a patient's body with a drug, chiropractors recognize the body doesn't need any help, just no interference. Symptoms are merely a crude language the body uses to get the attention of its owner to make a change. Be careful you don't rescue patients at the expense of minimizing this communication from their body.
3. It's remarkably safe. Chiropractic care is conservative and non-invasive. Compared with alternatives, chiropractic enjoys an enviable success rate. The occasional newsworthy event is often at the hands of non-chiropractors or situations in which attribution is impossible or merely coincidental. Considering the large number of adjustments delivered daily, chiropractic care is. in the words of the New Zealand study, "remarkably safe."
4. Side effects are mostly positive effects. Virtually every chiropractor has had a patient confide that some other symptom has resolved other than the one they sought care for. These are often visceral or organic complaints, which, because they were peripheral to the spine, went unmentioned during the consultation and examination. One more reason to explain that chiropractic care, because it seeks to restore proper brain to body nerve communications is a whole body health discipline, not merely a treatment for spinal pain syndromes.
Simply put, chiropractic care is different from medical treatment, although many purposely or inadvertently blur the distinction. It is this difference that permitted chiropractic to be licensed as a separate and distinct discipline and healing art. Because it isn't medicine. Not that it's inferior or superior. Merely different. With a different intent, outcome and intervention strategy.
If your chiropractic college misled you and the career prospects were based on easy insurance reimbursement and widespread acceptance of the chiropractic paradigm, then you may have reason to feel betrayed. Just remember chiropractic colleges are businesses. They have hardly any endowments and rely heavily on real-time tuition dollars to survive. And with the objective of getting you a license, not necessarily a successful practice, their obligation is somewhat limited.
Chiropractic can be either a job, a career or a calling. You get to decide which. And better to do it sooner rather than later.
Truth: Actually the practice of chiropractic is among the most honorable health care disciplines. Yes, there are easier paths, but none as noble. Honoring the innate wisdom of the body and witnessing the possibilities that can occur by reviving the ability of a patient's body to function as it was designed, offers a deep soul satisfaction that few others ever experience.
Bill Esteb has been a chiropractic patient and advocate since 1981. He is the creative director of Patient Media and the co-founder of Perfect Patients. He’s been a regular speaker at Parker Seminars and other chiropractic gatherings since 1985. He is the author of 12 books that explore the doctor/patient relationship from a patient’s point of view. His chiropractic blog, in-office consultations, patient focus groups and consulting calls have helped hundreds of chiropractors around the world. His Monday Morning Motivation is emailed to over 10,000 subscribers each week.