Treating People, Not Conditions

September 20, 2020 by Andrew Spracklin

Earlier this week I had a patient come into the office and ask me, do you ever get sick of treating back pain and listening to the same complaints all day long.  I have thought about this in my head before but I have never had to actually articulate an answer for someone on the fly.

So I answered in the moment but I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days, most people have heard of an elevator speech but I felt like this kind of put me on the spot to indicate my practice and purpose in a 20 second segment.

If you were to work in an office and tell yourself that you treat back pain and headaches all day, I think you would drive yourself crazy and your career as a health care professional would not be very long as your days would begin to get very mundane and boring.

I have to walk in everyday and tell myself that I treat people.  Everyone is unique with an injury or pain that is unique to them.  You may have worked in the yard too long, sat in a desk chair all day or God forbid… slept funny.  Everyone has a different story as to why they in the office, I want to know that story.  Oh, I’m going to try and help you with your condition and pain but I want to get to know my patients as human beings.

I ask about patient’s weekends, hobbies, kids, grandkids and parents.  I follow obituaries to see if anyone I know or patient’s relations are written about.  This is just who I am as a person, if I ask about something that offends you (trust me there are a lot of topics these days), I’m going to move from that topic quick.  I can find common ground with just about anyone but the one thing I refuse to do is to categorize people based on the condition that they present in the office with.

I come from a family of story tellers, a few of my uncles are the best story tellers I know.  I grew up laughing with family and self deprivation stories and jokes.  Stories and jokes are appreciated in the office, it can paint a good picture of who you are as a person.  There is also a therapeutic effect to just talking and venting about life and your pain.  I never really even thought about this through school, but Dr. Wakefield told me that there is a therapeutic effect to conversation.  We treat people and pain but they will feel better leaving the office if they can have a simple 10-15 minute conversation with someone that is going to just listen and try to help them through the situation that they are in.

So when you come into the office, yes I am going to talk to you about your pain and the reason why you are in the office, but I will quickly divert to you as a person as soon as there is a clear indication as to what exactly is going on with you physically. I will divert to weekend plans, shopping lists and kids activities.  Are you traveling somewhere, road construction your just drove through and what is on sale at Tractor Supply.  I truly want to know this about you.

Not only is it therapeutic for you as a patient but it will help me form an idea of who you are as a person.  I’m not from central Nebraska originally, but I have learned more about the agricultural communities in the past 9 years than I have ever wanted to know and you know how that manages to happen.  Just let the farmer vent, it’s good for them and I learn something.

Treat the person, listen to the person and the pain will take care of itself with some conversation and simple treatment.


Providing effective natural chiropractic care to the Kearney Community.

Copyright by Spracklin Chiropractic 2023.