Missing a Key Player?

Good reasons why a well-chosen chiropractor may be a necessary addition to your primary healthcare team: READ ARTICLE

Neck and low back pain are leading causes of morbidity and health care utilization, as well as one of the leading reasons for workplace absence and disability. A recent study showed that “Individuals seeking care for neck or back pain have worse health status than those who do not seek care. Patients consulting chiropractors alone report fewer comorbidities and are less limited in their activities than those consulting medical doctors.”

While I appreciate the pro-chiropractic message of the study, I have always believed in an integrative approach to healthcare. There is always a time and place for everything. My educational background is in science – biology, physics, and microbiology. I understand the need for research, and practicing evidence-based medicine. I am also a natural healthcare provider and clinician, and sometimes what works in the clinic for a patient cannot be proven through random-controlled trials or experiments. Maybe in that sense, the fact that something cannot be proven outside of patient-reported outcomes makes some medical physicians skeptical.

While chiropractors have the ability to diagnose and are well versed in differential diagnoses (including medical conditions), and treatment options, I would never suggest that a patient not be followed by their medical doctor. While 99% of my practice is generally neuromusculosketal complaints, there is always that 1% that may need more detailed imaging, or referral to specialists.

Therein lies the reason why a good working relationship with the patient’s medical doctor should exist and why an open-dialogue between all healthcare providers is very important. A well-chosen chiropractor can make a huge difference in the outcome of any neuromusculoskeletal complaint.

It is very difficult to communicate treatment, diagnoses, and prognoses if the patient’s medical physician is against chiropractic or has advised their patient not to seek alternative forms of healthcare. I have found that in most occasions, many physicians do not understand what chiropractors do. They hear “stories” and just generalize the profession as “quack” medicine. Most of the time when I am talking to those physicians, I am trying to educate them on what I do, how I practice, and how chiropractic care can benefit their patients.

I am not “reversing degeneration” or “re-aligning the spine” or “curing  illness by removing subluxations.” I do not believe that chiropractic is the “answer to everything.”

This rhetoric, unfortunately, has perverted our profession and it will be a long while before this will change, but I digress.

I know this post is a bit lacking in flow – initially this post was much longer, and sounded more like a rant, which is not what I intended this post to be so I  had to pare down some paragraphs which affected the overall flow. The main point I wanted to make was that having a well-chosen chiropractor may be a necessary addition to any primary healthcare team; and echoing the author of the first article:

It is my hope that someday in the near future, the primary care community will work hand in hand with primary spine practitioners engaged in a spine continuum of care pathway in order to bring about value-based spine care reform.

 

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