As the acceptance of chiropractic has grown, it's easy to forget the distinctions that make it different from the mainstream medical approach.
While some would like to see the distinctions between chiropractic and medicine blurred even further, don't forget that the chiropractic paradigm...
- Understands that we live our life through our nervous system.
- Recognizes that health manifests from the inside out and is mediated by the nervous system.
- Acknowledges that pain isn't good or bad but merely a sign that a limit has been reached or a change needs to be made.
- Accepts that subluxation is the body's gorgeous and creative strategy to adapt to, or accommodate, physical, chemical or emotional stress.
- Seeks to reduce interference to the body's ability to self-heal.
- Uses the adjustment as a way to retrain the body, guiding it to a more resourceful state.
- Trusts the wisdom of the body.
Do your patients know this?
By not attempting to counter a patient's inclination to project their medical mindset onto you, you're held to a medical standard rather than a chiropractic standard. Which means...
- Patients expect you to do all the work.
- Patients are resistant to making lifestyle changes.
- Patients think your "prescription" of three visits a week will produce the outcome they desire.
- Patients imagine that you control the speed of their recovery.
- Patients think your adjustments are treating their symptom.
- Patients believe adjustments are restoring their spine to a pristine, pre-injury condition.
- Patients think you're permanently "fixing" them, so if their problem should return, they conclude that “I tried chiropractic, but it didn't work.”
Overlooking or ignoring the obligation to explain these distinctions is a lie of omission rather commission. But a lie, nonetheless.
Of course, the seduction is the opportunity to show up as the hero; the rescuer. Taking credit for stirring their ability to self-heal is mighty tempting. Maybe even justified, considering all you've sacrificed to get to this point.
And most will never know the difference anyway.
But you will.
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 chiropractic gatherings since 1985. His 12 books 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. Since 1999 Monday Morning Motivation has been emailed to over 10,000 subscribers each week.