Let’s say you walk into a medical doctor’s office and you complain of hip pain. I would put money on it that the doctor will ask you about the hip, how it happened and then examine the area that is injured. While I would like to think that this happens in chiropractic offices, I can almost guarantee that this is not the case in all offices.
You can drive around Kearney, where I am located, or any other city and there are chiropractors on just about every street corner. If you were to walk in the 10 different offices, I bet you would get at least 5-6 different opinions on how to treat the pain. I’m not saying this is a bad thing but it makes the profession look strange as a patient cannot go to other offices or chiropractors and expect to get the same results or types of treatment.
You could walk in to one office and they may just adjust your upper neck for all types of pain, you walk into other and you get adjusted manually (which is how I practice), another chiropractor may use an activator (that little “clicky” thing) for all of your complaints and another might not adjust you at all and recommend nutritional supplements for all of your ailments.
This diversity makes the profession great but it also makes it very frustrating in the fact that most people do not know exactly what they are walking into when they schedule an appointment for the first time. Chiropractors seem to have every trick in the book to cure every ailment. The newest laser might be the newest thing, a foot detox to get all of your body toxins out or the use of crystals to heal you from magnets. I’m not going to say that any one of these things are better than what I do, I just feel that the profession needs some consistency when it comes to standard treatment.
Evidence based guidelines exist to support the use of manipulation in regards to low back pain, neck pain and headaches. Heck there are even studies out there to support adjustments in regards to blood pressure, but there are at least researched guidelines to show that this is effective and it works. The newest recommendations indicate that manipulation should be considered a first line option in the treatment of lower back pain.
Now, medical professionals have sub-specialties that help differentiate what they specialize in and the things that they can handle, but chiropractors do not. I’m not going to get into the argument on what chiropractors should be treating but in general if you stick with what you know and what you went to school for, you will be better off in the end and not just what is going to make me the most money in the short term. Ultimately, chiropractors should be very well versed in musculoskeletal conditions and then maybe dabble in other things.
While diversity is a great thing about the profession it is also one of the major down falls. My vow to you, is that when you walk into any of the offices that I run, if you have low back pain, we will examine and treat the low back and the same can be said about the neck and middle back. If you have questions in regards to general health, I give recommendations and hope to guide you in the right direction. I will not sell you supplements in my offices and will do my best to work with you primary care doctor as much as I can. This cannot be said about every chiropractor but this is the way I was trained, this is the way I practice and this is the way I intend to keep my practice as long as I am around.