In the past I have written and lectured about what I perceive to be one of the biggest challenges facing our profession and I have articulated it this way – we are selling a product we are not sure we are delivering! We claim that the consequence of adjusting the spine is improved neuro-performance through the correction of vertebral subluxation(s). We further assert that only a minority of the nervous system is used to experience pain, hence we don’t rely on pain as an indicator as to whether or not an individual may benefit from an adjustment. The “missing link” in many chiropractic practices is contemporary technology that is congruent with the clinical intent of the chiropractor and that simultaneously reveals in understandable terms the vital role and benefit of chiropractic care for patients and prospective patients. When I was practicing in the mid-1980’s, I had what would be referred to as a subluxation-based practice. This meant that my primary intention with every person who was a member of my practice was to adjust subluxations and thereby release tension patterns caused by lifestyle stress and improve the efficiency of neural function, which would translate into a greater ability for the individual to express health and experience life. I took pride in my abilities to perform thorough exams. For a time I was teaching traditional ortho/neuro testing in diplomate programs. I would teach a weekly health care class in my practice for new or prospective patients and present the foundations of chiropractic, as well as general health principles. In this presentation, I would introduce to the audience the concept of vertebral subluxation, how it related to lifestyle stress and why even in the absence of symptoms, it was critical for everyone including children to have their subluxations adjusted. I built a good practice but felt a remote, unidentified dread that was draining my energy and enthusiasm.
After only about 4 years of practice, I was finding that I had a waning enthusiasm for the practice and found myself wanting to take more vacations. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the issue, but knew that the trend in my psychology was negative and, if it continued, I would be in trouble. I started asking questions about everything I was doing. My principles in philosophy were clear to me. I loved my patients and profession. Where was the disconnect? I continued to ask questions until one day, I came up with the answer. I had finished adjusting a woman and said to her, “We’ll see you twice next week.” After she left I said to myself, “Why twice? Why not once? Why not 3 times?” Blank out. “What did I base these recommendations on?” Blank out. It was at this point that I found, what is, in my mind, an epidemic in the profession. I call it the “silent dread.”
What do you base your recommendations for care on? Is your objective with the patient crystal clear to you? Are your procedures consistent with what your intention is? Are they consistent with what you educate your patients about? Is the care you provide your patients congruent with what you do for yourself and your family (or vice versa)? The silent dread in part is this – everyone doesn’t need the same care plan. We have as a profession dogmatically adopted the 3-2-1 approach. Everyone gets 3 times a week for the first 4 weeks, twice a week for the next 6 weeks, and once a week, etc. Even though it is likely that this schedule works well the majority of the time, how do you know?
Read part 2 of the high tech chiropractic assessment.
This concludes part 1 of this article. Look for part 2 in the next newsletter! In the meantime, if you want more information on how we have addressed this problem, go to www.subluxation.com. Thanks for reading!
Dr. Patrick Gentempo, Jr. is the co-founder and CEO of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance. He is an internationally renowned lecturer, researcher and chiropractic business consultant.