Or are you on the high-volume treadmill to an early grave?
Every day our patients are seeking ways to enhance the quality of their lives. Do you as a doctor of chiropractic have a path toward a healthier life which includes your mind, body and soul for optimal success?
Dr. C.R. of Independence, Mo., a chiropractor for over 50 years, shares this from his heart:
“In the era of the ‘70s, the consensus was the more people you adjust, the bigger the impact you would make on the health of the world. This was a purpose that many of us could stand behind, so the goal was to adjust as many people as possible. The positive aspect of this would be that we would be able to make a huge difference in many peoples’ lives, giving us a greater sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, running a high-volume client base for decades minimizes the time you have to spend alone with family and friends, and to decompress and recharge, which are vital parts of health and wellness. Over time you notice extra stress on your physical, mental and social life, resulting in strained relationships, joint destruction and other physical changes due to the lack of balance in your life.”
Living your ‘chiropractic life’
The question is how are you living “the chiropractic life?” Have you become overcommitted to caring for everyone else to a fault? Have you overextended your greatest attribute and become your worst enemy? Do we sometimes let immediate needs take precedence over what’s important to our future?
What is stress to you? Mental, physical or emotional pressure stressors can arise from people’s daily responsibilities and routines, including work, family and finances. The body responds to external stressors by releasing stress hormones and increasing blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels.
This fight-or-flight response helps a person act with greater strength and speed to escape a perceived threat. With continuous chronic stress, people can have digestive troubles, heart disease, high blood pressure and a compromised immune system. Chronic stress can bring on headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, depression, anxiety and viral infections.
*Dr. B.B. of Kansas City, Mo., was the founder of an 87-year family-run chiropractic practice to which his two sons contributed. His philosophy of “the chiropractic life” was one of sacrificial service for the future of the profession and his family. For 40 years they never used appointments, just first-come, first-serve from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
He used plastic numbers from one to 100 at the front desk for daily appointments (reminds me of waiting in a restaurant for a customized sandwich!). He worked six days a week for over 35 years adjusting over 100 people a day. One of his quotes was, “Work until you drop; it makes you stronger.”
When you work like that you just plain die. His family served the chiropractic profession well, but in the end Dr. B.B. died at 62, suffering from many health issues and a bad heart. His oldest son died at 62, and his second son received a heart transplant at 63. Don’t you think that last son might have thought, “I shoulda, woulda, coulda”? But once you’re on that treadmill as an adrenaline junkie, you don’t know how to get off until it’s too late.
Taking back your personal health
*Dr. N.H. on the Big Island of Hawaii shares how she decided to live “the chiropractic life.”
She received chiropractic care from the age of four — and it was just natural for her to want to be a chiropractor. After graduating chiropractic college, feeling driven by self-sacrifice and wanting to share chiropractic with the world, she volunteered for a mission trip to South America. Her whole world experience with chiropractic was high-volume practices. In five days, the chiropractic group gave 10,000 treatments to the people of that region. She was grateful that she could experience such a blessing. But the reality of such a lifestyle embracing a high-volume practice was detrimental to her well-being. She knew it was not sustainable.
After her mission experience, she suffered physically and was emotionally drained, and even had numbness and soreness in her joints. She asked herself, “Where am I in this mix of the chiropractic life?” She chose not to practice in such a manner that would leave her soul wanting at the end of the day. She now encourages younger chiropractors to look at their mentors: How healthy are they? How happy and content are their lives?
She shares that over 50% of the students in chiropractic colleges are women and she encourages them to be true to the feminine side of their life. Be the doctor, but not to the point of struggling to be a mother. Be honest with yourself. What do you want your life to look like?
She has chosen a concierge practice; she sees patients while her daughter is in school. Her closing thoughts are to put energy into yourself so you can take care of others.
Seeking quality over quantity
*Dr. S.L. and Dr. J.M. share their version of “the chiropractic life.” Three areas they want to share:
- Quality of care, not quantity
- Quality of function
- Quality of education
“People not only want to feel better, but also want to function with ease and be comfortable when doing the activities of daily living,” they say. “What a new chiropractor needs to understand for success is quality of care, not quantity.”
One of the constant themes these two doctors talk about is how MDs, DCs and PTs don’t explain what the patient has going on with them, due to a time restraint the doctor puts on their visit. The patient leaves their appointment unsatisfied with their visit.
As a doctor of chiropractic, you’re in a great position to change the patient’s feeling and thinking by taking time to explain what you observed for that patient. The patients want to know what is going on with their bodies and how they arrived at where they are now. By educating the patient about what they have experienced and how that impacted their present state, the doctor creates a better understanding of why it will take some time to get them to a better physical and mental position.
Dr. S.L. states that she has been in the health care field for 47 years, 27 of those years as a chiropractor. Her colleague has practiced 25 years. In practice they combined their efforts to take time and care for those patients who want to be well and have ease with activities of daily living. Their mission is to deliver quality of care, with educational experiences for the patient to totally understand their situation with some understanding of why they are presently in the state of their expressed discomfort.
With her colleague, they approach each patient who comes to their practice as a team experience. They each bring different backgrounds of knowledge and education to deliver the best for the patient. Remember, the patient has hired you to do your job and partner with them to reach better function and wellness. They see two patients an hour as a cash-based practice, and it is all referrals. They charge for overtime and they deliver the best care to the patients.
Be a health advocate, for yourself and your patients
Take control and maximize your own health. Being your own health advocate puts you in charge of planning and decisions.
You can create or co-create with a family health action plan, optimizing exercise and nutrition. The quest for better health is an ongoing and ever-evolving process. Learn how not to hurt yourself. Evaluate the cost of your decisions. Just remember to ask yourself what type of person you want to continue to be before you think of what you want to accomplish.
Doctors, I hope hearing from these other chiropractors will allow you to achieve a healthier lifestyle that you can benefit from year after year.
GARY BORING, DC, BCAO, LCP (Hon.), FICA, continued his family’s 87-year chiropractic practice, established 1934, until 2021.