Chiropractic is getting more and more acceptance, and more and more people are using chiropractors. If you have a spine, you should be seeing a chiropractor, just like if you have teeth, you’re going to be seeing a dentist. No one is better at spine care than we are, and particularly on the preventative side, which is really where we want to be.
I find that it is definitely more common these days for medical doctors to refer patients to chiropractors. When you go back to the old school, when you look at the medical doctors, they didn’t really understand what chiropractic was, especially with the holistic aspect of it. It was more common in the days of old for medical doctors not to refer to chiropractors, because, in reality, chiropractic was almost unknown until it was discovered in 1895. When chiropractors started getting access to people, it was really the medical rejects. It was all the people who got no help with the medical profession, and then they were like, “Oh, I’ll try one of those crazy chiropractors.”
I do get plenty of medical doctor referrals, and I get some referrals from physical therapists, but physical therapy is really in direct competition for chiropractors who focus on back pain and neck pain. My office focuses more on pediatric, maternity and family care, so we’re not really competing for the same thing, because it’s not pain-based care. It’s usually about optimization and birthing and all those types of things. So, it’s good to have a little bit of a niche practice, but referrals are definitely getting better these days.
Medical doctors like to refer directly to the physical therapist because they’re in control of the PT, because they have to write a referral. Up until only relatively recently, physical therapists weren’t portal of entry. You had to be referred to a PT. Chiropractic has always been portal of entry. We’re allowed to do the initial intake and determine what course of action we have. So again, there is some element of control and things of that nature, but in general, I definitely think it’s getting better and we’re all playing in the same sandbox.
Physical therapy is really specific exercises to resolve a specific problem. It’s not truly holistic. Holistic is about enhancing the whole body. Again, if I sprain my knee, I’m going to get specific types of therapy, specific exercises to do, electric stim, ice and massage and all these different things, which are all good for you and will help your body rehab that knee or rehab your neck or rehab whatever it is you’re trying to rehabilitate.
But as far as spine care and a holistic approach to their health, which is optimizing the nerve system, nobody else does spinal adjusting to remove nerve interference and optimize the nerve system. That’s specific to chiropractic, and that is our niche and that is really what we do. If someone’s in a bad accident and they need rehabilitation, I’ll certainly adjust their spine, but they might need physical therapy at the same time.
Everyone is allowed to have more than one condition and allowed to have more than one approach to their health. But holistically, chiropractic has everyone beat hands down because all these other practices, physical therapy, massage, they’re not holistic. They’re good for you and they’re non-drug or non-allopathic, but they are specific types of treatment, not for holistic approach and optimizing the body and optimizing health.
I know that there is a power inside every body, an intelligence that runs, regulates and heals the body. No doctor in their right mind would ever cut open a patient if he didn’t think, after he did what he needed to do, that that body was going to heal up and knit back together and close the wounds and replace the damaged cells with healthy new ones, because that’s how the body works.
If you optimize the body, it doesn’t matter what you throw at it; it’s going to heal, run and regulate better. And that’s what chiropractic is. It’s about optimizing the body, optimizing the nerve system, not just, “Oh, you have back pain or neck pain. We can help you with that.” So, if you look at it from that point of view and know that you’re optimizing the body with a holistic approach and making that body function at a higher level, if you put drugs into the body, then the body’s going to process those drugs and get it to the right place and then break down the toxicity of that drug in a better way and in a stronger manner. So, it’s going to be more efficient. When the body is less stressed, it’s going to heal quicker. Quicker healing, because healing is an inside-out job, is what really is important.
If I get something that is outside the scope of my practice or it is recalcitrant to the treatment that I’m providing, I’m going to send that person to the proper doctor, to either a physical therapist or an orthopedist if they need to have a look. It’s interesting, because we treat people with all kinds of conditions, but we don’t really treat conditions. I don’t treat cancer, but I treat people who have cancer. I don’t treat headaches, but I treat people who have headaches. And sometimes, eliminating nerve interferences makes the body healthier and people are better able to deal with it.
I think it’s great when people really understand what other professions do. There is some great cross-referral happening, because I do have some great relationships with medical doctors and physical therapists. With more open-mindedness, I think better outcomes will be there if everyone was under chiropractic care. Just like if everyone was just more fit and healthier, they’re going to heal faster, too. It’s just another piece of the puzzle.