[fusion_text]By Tina Beychok
Research has shown an increase in patients looking toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for either treatment of acute and chronic conditions, or as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), as many as four in 10 adults (38 percent), and one in nine (12 percent) of children, used some form of CAM.1 Given these statistics, it should not be difficult for DCs to conclude that there is a plethora of patients looking at CAM to help them stay healthy, and instrument adjusting can be a vital part of working with these patients.
Understanding the mindset of the new patient
The majority of new patients that a DC sees will likely not have much previous direct experience with chiropractic (or any other form of CAM). Perhaps a friend or family member has tried it, or they read or saw a news story about the benefits of chiropractic. Regardless of how they first heard about chiropractic, the fact remains that they may be apprehensive, skeptical, or even scared that yet another treatment will result in no relief from their medical woes. Furthermore, if those friends or family members had a bad experience, it may only add to the patient’s uncertainty about the efficacy of chiropractic.
[/fusion_text][fusion_text]How instrument adjusting can help reassure the new patient
Perhaps one of the most primal human instincts is the wish to avoid pain. If patients have heard stories about how painful chiropractic can be, it may be difficult for the DC to convince them otherwise. However, this is where instrument adjusting may be the best tool a DC has available to them.
Greater thrust with less force. One of the biggest advantages for instrument adjusting from a chiropractic standpoint is that the instrument can deliver a greater amount of thrust using less force than with manual adjustment.2 The bottom line for the new patient is that the adjustment will almost certainly be less painful than what they feared. As a result, they will not be as physically tense for later adjustments and will derive greater benefit from the treatment. Furthermore, because the adjustment can be delivered faster with an instrument than it could be done by hand, this may also relieve patient’s tension.
High tech means reliability. Although some DCs are reluctant to admit it, chiropractic often may seem oddly old-fashioned in today’s high-tech medical world. Patients may think that chiropractic is about nothing more than “cracking backs.” Fortunately, using an adjusting instrument allows DCs to show new patients that chiropractic is every bit as high tech as standard medical treatments and that it represents more than just cracking backs. Many patients may be curious as to exactly how an adjusting instrument works. This is the perfect opportunity for patient education.
Efficacy is the bottom line. All other things aside, the main concern for new patients is how well chiropractic can relieve their symptoms and prevent them from reoccurring. Again, this is where instrument adjusting can shine. There are now several research articles that show the benefits for instrument adjusting when compared to manual adjusting.3-4
Of course, having a shiny gadget is not enough to convince new patients of the benefits of chiropractic care. Physician demeanor, treatment affordability, and helpfulness of office staff will also affect the impression a new patient receives of both the DC and chiropractic overall. However, just like these other components, using an instrument for adjustment can help present the full package of effective, reliable patient care.
1National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007/camsurvey_fs1.htm#use. Published December 2008. Accessed October 2014.
2Beychok T. Instrument adjusting versus manual adjusting, part 1: physics. ChiroEco.com. https://www.chiroeco.com/news/chiro-article.php?id=14828. Published January 2014. Accessed October 2014.
3Huggins T, Luburic Boras A, Gleberzon BJ, et al. Clinical effectiveness of the activator adjusting instrument in the management of musculoskeletal disorders: A systematic review of the literature. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2012:56(1);49-57.
4Wood TG, Colloca CJ, Matthews R. A pilot randomized clinical trial on the relative effect of instrumental (MFMA) versus manual (HVLA) manipulation in the treatment of cervical spine dysfunction. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001:24(4);260-271.[/fusion_text]