Friday, August 13, 2010

Chiropractic Or Upper Cervical?


There is an old saying, success is a two-edged sword. It is especially true in the entertainment industry. Many an actor has lamented over being “type cast.” As much as he or she might want to play more serious roles, if the public sees the person as a comedian, a serious part might be pretty hard to get. Some actors are okay with that. They resign themselves to play the part that the public expects of them and if they do it well, they will probably make a good living. Yet, I cannot help but think that deep down inside, they suffer some feeling of frustration or unfulfillment. When it comes down to it, there are probably millions of people in all walks of life in the same situation. The person who is a successful corporate executive who yearns to have his own business. There are many stories of people who gave up successful careers because all their life they wanted to be an artist, a musician, or a farmer or to drive an 18-wheeler across the country.

There is no doubt that chiropractic has achieved a level of success. There are over 60,000 chiropractors in the United States alone. It has been estimated that as many as 68% of the public have been to a chiropractor. The medical profession has begun to acknowledge the value of chiropractic. We have “arrived” as part of mainstream health care. But you know what? Many chiropractors feel unfulfilled. You see chiropractic has been “type cast” as a treatment for bad backs and stiff necks. The public, for the most part, thinks chiropractors are doctors who take care of musculoskeletal problems and there is good reason for that perception. Millions of people with those types of problems have been helped by chiropractic, many of whom were unable to receive relief anywhere else. Chiropractic can help musculoskeletal conditions. Consequently, the medical community and even some in our own profession want us to fill that niche. They figure the public knows us in that role and we have achieved success in that role. Why disturb the status quo?

Many in upper cervical chiropractic, however, are not satisfied with that role. It is not that we think we can do more and it is not that there is anything demeaning about helping people with bad backs. It is just that upper cervical is so much more. Upper cervical care is not about your back, it’s about your life. The correction of head neck misalignment to restore the integrity of the nerve system is a service helpful to every man woman and child on the planet. Every function, every activity, every aspect of one’s life is improved and enhanced by maintaining head neck alignment, keeping the nerve channels open to all parts of the body. An upper cervical doctor who understands that and the importance of that service, would feel unfulfilled even as the most successful back doctor in the world.

Chiropractic, like the “type cast” comedian is a victim of its success. But more important, the public is a victim of that success. One way to change that is to change people’s perception. That will take, in my opinion, more effort, by a currently ununified (and probably never will be) profession, than it has to spare. Ingrained perceptions are almost impossible to break unless society in general makes a dramatic, and I mean dramatic, shift away from business as usual.

In the upper cervical community it is best, again in my opinion, that we put upper cervical care out there and create a correct perception for it rather than attempt to change the existing one for chiropractic. Sorry Chiropractic. BJ Palmer, in his last written words stated, "Time always has and always will perpetuate those methods that better serve mankind. Chiropractic is no exception to that rule."

Perhaps Chiropractic in the broader sense has been largely reduced to a treament for musculoskeletal complaints and that is unfortunate but the principle of real Chiropractic can be carried on perhaps under another name...maybe upper cervical care? I certainly hope Chiropractic can turn itself around but I have doubts about trying to save a sinking ship. If you don't agree with me on this that is okay, again these are just my thoughts on the subject. Hopefully this is not an unlucky thing to talk about on Friday the 13th.

1 comment:

  1. It's not unlucky, it's necessary. This is a topic our profession has to deal with. If the current trend continues on toward osteopathy, it's coming to come down to a simple choice: You're either in or your out. If chiropractic becomes 2nd rate osteopathy, like it is looking like it will be eventually, I think there will be some that will be out.

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