White Board Archives

Chiropractic Patient Education Using a White Board

Using the opportunity of each patient visit to enlarge a patient's understanding of chiropractic principles has always been challenging. Do you just start talking? Do you try to turn some patient comment into some tortured chiropractic-oriented observation? And what about patients who just aren't interested? Do you force-feed them anyway? Or maybe your rely on the chiropractic art on your walls?

Using a dry erase whiteboard can simplify your efforts.

Each week (or day!) write a different ambiguous statement on a whiteboard mounted in your adjusting room(s). Don't confuse these with catchy chiropractic slogans or chiropractic sayings that form the basis of countless chiroisms!

Here's a tried and true favorite to kick things off:

vomit.gifUse ambiguous statements or questions that require explanation or clarification. Like this one. Avoid complete thoughts, slogans or sayings.

"What's the word, 'vomit' up there for?"

When patients ask for the meaning of the statement, they are giving you "permission" to share some aspect of the chiropractic message. Go for it! They won't ask if the statement is self explanatory.

This method avoids tormenting patients who aren't interested and gives curious patients something to look forward to on each visit. If patients don't ask for clarification about something you've written, simply move on.

Here are some ideas to inspire you to create your own messages. Email them to Bill and he will share them with the world!



Talking Points


"What's the word vomit up there for?" "Oh, that's there to remind me. If you go out to dinner tonight and enjoy a great tasting meal, but find yourself vomiting two hours later, are you sick or are you well?" Health is how you function, not how you feel.

Commercial jet
Lightning storm

Consider having patients rate these items by their safety record, giving the safest a "1" and the most dangerous a "5." A powerful exercise that demonstrates the safety of chiropractic. (Adjustment=1, Lightning=2, Commercial airline=3, Bathtub=4, Aspirin=5)


"What do these all have in common?" (Explain what diuretics and the importance of proper hydration. Share the formula for computing the average amount of water a person should consume each day: weight in pounds divided by two equals the number of ounces of water you should drink. More when it’s hot or dry.)

5% dead

Isn’t death an example of really bad health? If being alive allows someone to adapt to one’s environment, is a partial ability to adapt a stepping stone towards death?

300 MPH

Nerve impulses travel at this speed.

Average or normal?

The distinction is telling. The medical model takes an average and calls it normal, whether it is body temperature, height, weight or nutritional needs. What is "normal" is unique from individual to individual, especially if you believe we are each an "experiment of one."

Need milk?

This is a play on the mustache milk campaign of "Got Milk?" But the better question is, should we be drinking so much milk. Use this statement to discuss the purpose of cow’s milk: to quickly grow a calf. Or, the growing problem of trace amounts of hormones and pesticides in the milk supply, etc.

Birds = "S"
Humans = "C"
Naturally, this refers to the shape of the cervical curve. Birds have a greater range of motion and humans. And if humans lose their "C" shaped curve, the range of motion decreases significantly.


Obviously these are the three causes of subluxations. Most patients can understand how physical trauma can cause spinal problems, but overlook the other two. Consider asking patients to name an emotional and chemical cause of subluxations during their visit.

The first symptom

Most patients judge their health by how they feel. If you’re interested in growing a wellness practice, this notion may be your greatest barrier. Ask patients if they know the top causes of death in the country today. Follow up by asking what the first symptom of these largely lifestyle-induced diseases are. (Death!) So much for using how you feel as a guide for how healthy you are!

The three bears

Everyone’s heard the story of the Goldilocks and Three Bears. Too hot, too cold and just right. The body’s self-regulating capacity is extraordinary at making sure everything is "just right." Drug therapy is a crude attempt to make things "just right" chemically. The chiropractic approach is to remove interferences to the nervous system—the master system that makes sure everything is "just right."

Less light

This is from the word subluxation. Sub = less. Lux = light. Let there be light. And it was good. Less light is bad…

Why is it called
the germ theory?

The fact that it is apparently just a theory suggests that there may be other explanations about the role of germs in disease. Use this foothold to change a patient’s understanding that "it’s not just the seed, but the soil" that allows a germ to "germinate." Remind patients you’re not afraid of their germs, "So don’t be calling up saying you can’t come in because you don’t want us to ‘catch’ what you have!"

Muscle spasm:
Cause or effect?

Just a thought-provoking question to pose to your patients this week. Find out what your patients believe. At the root of this belief lies the acceptability of taking muscle relaxers! Help your patients overcome this propensity when mentioned by their friends outside your office.


Cervical or lumbar curves of the spine. Take your pick. Link bananas to this concept and trigger a chiropractic image whenever patients encounter bananas for the rest of their lives. (Scent your headrest paper with banana flavoring on a cotton ball this week?)

Spinal flossing

The juxtaposition of these two words should provoke some interesting patient comments. Dentists are quick to point out to their patients that they should only brush and floss the "teeth they want to keep." Regular and periodic chiropractic checkups are the equivalent. Just as there are home care procedures they can conduct to enhance their dental health, remind patients of the self-care steps they can take to optimize their "spinal hygiene."

Cow's blood

When you tell patients that these are some of the ingredients in the vaccines that are used to assault the immune systems of our children, it should provoke a rethinking of artificial immunization. In fact, be sure to have a handout or other resources you can direct interested patients who want to know more.


This is the number of people who die each day from adverse reactions to prescription drugs in the U.S. In fact, during the 5 minutes or so they’re on your adjusting table, someone died from an adverse drug reaction. (This figure doesn’t include good old fashion doctor mistakes!) Check out our poster that makes this statistic visual and includes the NEJM reference for this statistic.

Blood pressure

With the focus our culture gives to the qualities of one’s blood, you’d think the statistics associated with these three things would be the key to good health. But in fact what most patients overlook is that these blood characteristics are controlled by the nervous system—the focus of their chiropractic care in your office.

Golden Gate Bridge

It’s the most famous bridge in the world. What most don’t know is that the reason it’s still standing is that it is constantly being maintained. From our Wellness Care brochure, "Exposed to the elements and the stress of 40,000 cars a day, preserving the Golden Gate Bridge is a full time job. When painting crews finish at one end, they immediately start over at the other. Staying well requires constant attention, too." No, the human body isn’t a machine or a static structure, but it requires constant attention. Regular chiropractic care is just one of the ways to help preserve good health (function).


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