15 of the Most Popular Chiropractic Sayings, Slogans and Quotes
Here is a collection of chiropractic sayings, slogans, quotes, epigrams and pithy one-liners that often show up on websites and business cards of chiropractors. Many have become chiropractic clichés.
Chiropractic sayings – These are one-liners that usually capture a chiropractic principle.
Chiropractic slogans – These are catchphrases or mottos that have become associated with chiropractic.
Chiropractic quotes – These are usually brief quotations from a recognized chiropractic authority.
Chiropractic oneliners - These are a single sentence that capture a chiropractic truth or principle.
Chiropractic epigrams – These are concisely written pearls of wisdom often attributed to B. J. Palmer.
This collection of chiropractic sayings and slogans are listed below in order of popularity, from most used to least used.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #1:
"Three times a week for the first four weeks, then twice a week for the next four weeks, then once a week for the next four weeks, etc."
This one may roll off the tongues of thousands of chiropractors, but dig deeper and it's often a substitute for critical thinking.
This formulatic prediction for the amount care needed is bordering on supernatural crystal-ball-, winning-the-lottery-level psychic abilities. Not only do many chiropractors routinely make this recommendation, often before even delivering their first adjustment, they're clueless about the patient's willingness to make lifestyle changes or take other proactive steps to support the initial three-times-a-week recommendations.
Treating adjustments like the prescription of a drug is so ludicrous I don't know where to begin.
Frankly, it's a form of bluffing. The patient may or may not need dozens of visits over the course of weeks and months. Declaring it up front, even when done with authority and conviction, is absurd. How about a progress exam somewhere along the line? And why isn't it two visits daily for the first week?
Like most one-size-fits-all solutions, this one misses the mark. Yet, it's one of the most popular chiropractic slogans.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #2:
"We address the cause, not the symptom."
Naturally, most chiropractors believe that subluxations are the cause of a host of healthcare issues. However, upon closer inspection, subluxations are also symptoms.
At its most fundamental, subluxations involve bones and nerves. Bones, being static structures, move only when muscles contract. Muscles contract based on commands from the nervous system. Thus, the vertebral displacement often used to ascertain the presence of subluxation is a neurological event!
What prompts the nervous system to command muscles to contract? Most chiropractors agree that it is to accommodate physical, chemical or (more commonly) emotional stress.
If you're really committed to addressing the cause, great. That will probably mean helping patients face their credit card debt, loveless marriage and the other countless fears, worries and anxieties of modern life. Are you up for it?
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #3:
"The power that made the body heals the body."
There still isn't a recorded instance of a doctor (of any ilk or discipline) healing a patient. In fact, truth be told, no one knows exactly how the body heals. But we do know this: For healing to occur, at least two things must be present.
First, life must be present. Dead bodies do not heal, and young bodies tend to heal faster than older bodies. Once the spirit vacates our body and we no longer adapt to our environment, our healing potential is severely limited.
Second, connection must be present. End organs must be connected to the brain, and people must be connected to community. Isolation, separation and interference can hinder the healing process.
Careful that you don't inadvertently sanction the patient perception that adjustments heal the body. They don't. Nor does the physician's pills or the surgeon's knife. While many patients will give you the credit for the results they experience, accepting credit is a form of stealing from God.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #4:
"Above down, inside out."
This one is that holds up regardless of your brand of chiropractic. You get to choose how high the "above" is.
If you're a mechanist, then the hardwired nervous system is merely what connects the end organs with the CPU of the brain. If your outlook includes the metaphysical, then the "above" becomes God. Either way, it works.
When B.J. Palmer crafted this "chiroism," he used it to help distinguish between the underlying assumptions separating chiropractic from medicine. The use of drugs is clearly "outside-in, below-up." Changing blood chemistry to hijack the body and subdue symptoms may be expedient and, in certain situations, even lifesaving. But it's rarely a healthy long-term solution and often reveals a profound mistrust of the wisdom of the body.
Notice that in this concise four-word slogan, the chiropractor isn't the hero. However, God and their God-given ability to heal from the inside out are.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #5:
"If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten."
In a static, never-changing world, this might be true. However, nowadays days, it's a full-time job adapting to the changing practice environment. This has made chiropractic practice disorienting for many.
Assume that everything you know about what patients want, what motivates them and what constitutes success is obsolete. Because it probably is, especially if you practiced in the 80s and 90s, were heavily dependent on insurance reimbursements and have resisted the Internet.
The solution? Ask more questions, and then listen as if your livelihood depends on it. Because it does. Rediscover what it's like to be a servant. Rethink the "my-way-or-the-highway" dogmatism that barely worked when there were countless new patients waiting in the wings. Become softer. Let patients be right. Become a student again. In times of change, the learning never ends.
Probably more accurate would be, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten—until you don't."
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #6:
"Patients don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
Imagine a patient surveying your framed chiropractic college diploma on the wall, asking, "So Doc, what was your grade point average?" "And by the way, did you graduate in the upper third, middle third or lower third of your class?" Or "What grade did you get for neuro-anatomy class?"
Probably hasn't happened. Probably never will. Which is why I often caution chiropractic college students to ease up on the grade thing. First, you won't use very much of the book learning in actual practice. And second, what it takes to have a successful practice is rarely covered in college.
Patients assume that a licensing board has confirmed you have the smarts to practice. Instead, patients are more attuned to far subtler clues that reveal your intent, confidence and certainty.
How do patients know if you care? By simply observing you and how you show up. Do you listen? Are you curious? Are you authentic? Are you transparent? Are you empathic? Are you fully present or phoning it in?
The key is to care but not care too much. When caring becomes carrying, or you project your health values onto patients, you've crossed the line.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #7:
"Nature needs no help, just no interference."
This is another BJ-ism that I first heard almost 40 years ago at my first Renaissance seminar taught by Drs. Riekeman and Flesia. Back then, it was slogan that illuminated the medicalization of the birth process. But it applies to fevers and the immune system too.
The fundamental mistrust most people have of their body is demonstrated by how easily it was exploited by the media in the context of the COVID-19 infection.
This is but one of many symptoms of a lack of critical thinking and disregard for the immune system. Apparently, many would prefer being injected with a man made concoction (with mysterious contents) over bolstering their own immune system.
In other words, many would rather trust the motives of a profit-driven pharmaceutical company (indemnified by the government) than the wisdom of their body that is capable of handling millions of details without a single conscious thought.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #8:
"Get the big idea and all else follows."
This is probably one of the most profound chiropractic slogans of all, attributed to B.J. Palmer, a collector of aphorisms and epigrams. Frankly, I thought it have been more popular.
What is the big idea?
Some believe it's our self-healing, self-regulating capacity. Others believe it's the universal intelligence that runs the universe and its counterpart, innate intelligence that runs us. Still others believe it's about reductionism versus deductionism. Or how a lack of ease ultimately leads to dis-ease, the precursor of disease.
Regardless of which ones resonate with you, contrast them with some of these "small" ideas. Like the germ theory. Small germs. Big fear, but small idea. Or symptom-treating. Big expense, but small idea.
Once you have a grasp on the significance of chiropractic and, as B.J. put it, "The Bigness of the Fellow Within," fear drops away, practice procedures simplify and patient communications are more direct and powerful.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #9:
"Chiropractic adds years to life and life to years."
If this were true, it would probably give an incredible boost to the popularity and utilization of chiropractic. Those patients and DCs who are of a more mechanistic bent see this sort of claim as overreaching, bordering on hyperbole. It's the price paid for having reduced chiropractic to a low-tech treatment of headaches and back pain for the last two decades.
While it stands to reason that a better-performing nervous system, improved balance and increased flexibility would extend one's life and enhance vitality, there seems to be little objective proof of this.
Attempts to research the comparative life expectancy between medical practitioners and chiropractors has turned up rather unsatisfying results. Read the article published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association and its rebuttal.
Even so, my experience has been that those who need proof rarely get enough of it, or of high enough quality to be satisfied. As for me, I will continue to receive nonsymptomatic chiropractic care until the very end. And without a parallel universe, we'll never know for sure.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #10:
"Spinal problems rarely resolve on their own."
This is linked to the classic "maybe it will go away" remark that many patients contemplate before taking action to see a medical practitioner, or a chiropractor, for that matter.
Because our bodies can adapt (until they can't and symptoms emerge), many spinal problems have been in place for years before the individual is alerted with obvious symptoms. The result? Habituation and scar tissue.
Like a damaged vinyl record that skips or repeats due to a scratch or some other imperfection, long-standing spinal problems may be difficult or impossible to permanently resolve. This is especially true among adult patients whose growth plates are no longer present. This makes a compelling case for checking infants and children. In fact, it's assumed that such intervention may be able to prevent some of the conditions that are typically seen in adults.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #11:
"Chiropractic works when traditional methods fail."
This one gained traction in the 50s and 60s as chiropractic was on the verge of being included in Medicare (1973) and traditional health insurance plans.
There are a couple of unfortunate implications of this popular chiropractic saying.
Works – Just what does that mean? Probably some type of symptomatic relief. This characterizes chiropractic as a treatment.
Fail – This positions chiropractic as a last resort. In other words, if drugs don't do the trick, then you may want to try chiropractic.
An attempt to overcome this unhelpful assertion was the basis for our Chiropractic First concept poster and wall art.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #12:
"If patients knew what you knew, they would do what you do."
This one has misled thousands of chiropractors. Repeated at just about every chiropractic gathering at one time or another, this chiroism overlooks the chasm between knowing and doing. In the same way most dental patients know they should regularly floss but don't, most chiropractic patients know they should get regular, non-symptomatic chiropractic checkups but don't.
The truth is patients do what they do because they believe what they believe.
We all act in ways to remain congruent with what we believe. Thus, doing is a symptom, result or effect of what you believe. If patients discontinue their care as soon as they feel better, it's because of what they believe, not what they know.
Turns out, if you have any hope of attracting cash-paying families interested in wellness care, you're in the belief-changing business, not the spine-straightening, curve-restoration, pain-relief business.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #13:
"Chiropractic doesn't cost, it pays."
For chiropractors who generally get their adjustments without taking money out of their pocket or purse, this is relatively easy to say. However, for most patients of modest means, overextended with a second mortgage and all the rest, this chiropractic slogan is right up there with "A penny saved is a penny earned."
More fascinating are the countless studies showing the reduced prescription drug costs, lower absenteeism, few days of hospitalization, reduced workers' compensation claims and the like when patients seek chiropractic care first.
This reveals that chiropractic produces an emotional response, not an intellectual pursuit based on objective critical thinking.
More telling is a quick poll among your most coveted once- or twice-a-month patients. Ask them why they show up regularly. Few, if any, will suggest that it's to save money or to return their investment in the form of better health and vitality in their senior years.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #14:
"Medicine is interested in the problem in the person. Chiropractic is interested in the person with the problem."
This one has stuck with me after first hearing it at my very first chiropractic seminar in early 1981.
This has resulted in countless medical specialists who know more and more about less and less. And thank goodness. Because I don't want to live in a world without specialists. You probably don't either. But it isn't healthcare—even though that's what it's called.
Only in a world of specialists in which there is a focus on the problem rather than the person would someone emerge from the surgical suite proclaiming, "The operation was a success, but the patient died."
As generalists, chiropractors offer the advantage of considering the whole rather than only the particular. Granted, some chiropractors are guilty of treating patients as spines or symptoms. But most chiropractors take a far more holistic perspective.
Medical specialties risk the challenge faced by the seven blind men standing around an elephant. Each was asked to describe it. The one next to the tail describes an elephant as a whip. The blind man next to a leg thinks it's like a tree. The one next to the trunk believes it's a snake. And so on.
Think globally, act locally.
Most Popular Chiropractic Saying #15:
"If you miss an appointment, you'll need to make it up."
Really? Can you actually "make up" an appointment? That would mean that if a patient were on a three-times-a-week schedule and missed one, the following week they would need to be seen four times.
My guess is that the patient might lose some momentum, they might prolong the recovery process—or they might not. After all, most chiropractors regularly reduce visit frequency as their patients' spines strengthen. And just what do most chiropractors use to determine such a reduction? Rarely is it an objective finding. More commonly, it's something subjective: instinct, experience or the passage of, say, 12 visits.
No, I think this chiroism is more about wielding power and patient control than anything clinical. Might want to rethink it before using it as a trump card to keep patients on the straight and narrow.