MacHANd Day (and a semi-soapbox moment)

On Thursdaymachand, November 29, 2012, a colleague and I attended the 5th Annual McMaster University Hand, Arm and Nerve Day.  I’ve been looking forward to this seminar/conference for a while as I love treating upper extremities. Conditions involving the upper extremity are always so interesting, complex, and/or varied and have great outcome measures. Nothing is more satisfying than to see an increase in shoulder range of movement after only a couple treatments.

As for the conference itself, I quite enjoyed how they split up the majority of the day into plenary sessions with a broad topic and asked various health professionals to present on management of that condition. I was a little disappointed that they did not ask more allied health professionals to present. I realize this was more of a medical conference, but as someone who recognizes the importance of both pre-and-post surgical rehabilitation, I was quite disheartened to hear one of the orthopaedic surgeons on the panel admit that she rarely referred any of her patients for therapy.

The breakouts sessions taught by two orthopaedic surgeons was quite interesting; it is always good to get a refresher on provocative testing as well as learning about the new literature on the efficacy of the tests. That being said, it was quite frustrating to my colleage and I when some of the GP’s in the session kept monopolizing the speaker asking questions that were fairly straight forward if one actually knew the anatomy of the upper extremity.  On the other hand, as a chiropractor, I do these tests all the time, and as a “neuromusculoskeletal specialist” I should know my anatomy inside out. GP’s have another skill set that is completely different from my practice, so I shouldn’t really complain.

<soapbox>It’s frustrating, however, as one of possibly 3 chiropractors at that conference, that MD’s don’t recognize our skills and education. My colleague and I spoke to several people attending the conference and each time it was mentioned we were DC’s we were given a “look.”It’s unfortunate that the general public is still unaware of what chiropractors do. Yes, we do have some “strange” ones in the profession, and they seem to get all the attention whilst in the meanwhile, evidence-based practitioners like myself are stuck with that stigma. But c’est la vie. All I can do is remain positive, and treat my patients with the best possible care. It might not be enough to change a global perception overnight, but all change starts at the grassroots! </soapbox>

All in all, the lectures were pretty good, and the venue was gorgeous. It took place at the Royal Botanical Gardens – I have never been there before and the first thing you notice, walking in through the doors, is the luscious smell of flora. The entire place was decorated with winter plants and poinsettias of various colours. I didn’t get a chance to walk through the place, but what I did see was enough to make me want to come back in the spring/summer when everything is in bloom!


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