Seeing modern chiropractic into the 21st century and beyond, with policymakers increasingly supporting non-opioid therapy and pain management
Are we taking full advantage of the research verifying that chiropractic care delivers what it promises? The scientific world once tried to prove us wrong, and even imprisoned chiropractors for providing chiropractic care in the mid-20th century. This century is craving the positive personal response to care that modern chiropractic was based upon and provided more than 100 years ago.
The natural healing force
B.J. Palmer knew that in time the scientific world would no longer be able to ignore the fact that a healing force is inside each body, and chiropractic care assists in this natural healing, when he said, “When facts are known, knowledge exists. When we possess knowledge, faith and beliefs disappear, for one is a skeleton frame for substance of the other.”
Palmer makes it very plain in those historic volumes that chiropractic is a natural science since the nervous system is supreme.
“All functions throughout the body are controlled by the nerve impulses traveling over the nerves from the brain to all parts of the body. One hundred percent of nerve energy going to all (bodily) parts … produces harmony of life. This life force that travels over the nerves … is controlled by an … innate intelligence. This intelligence knows how to regulate temperature, circulate blood, assimilate nutrition, and eliminate waste material and perform millions of other functions every second of the day, provided the nerve energy is free to travel from the brain to all parts of the body. Chiropractic deals with the normal or the natural. The natural law of life is to be healthy. That is the way most of us are created. Chiropractic is a separate and distinct science and serves a purpose that no other profession serves. We remove the cause and nature heals. This is our story.” (Powell)
Policymakers supporting chiropractic
Across the nation and internationally, responsible economists and policymakers are seeking the best outcome and health care delivery, looking for a cost containment with a move away from excessive and high-risk interventions, yet focused on achieving higher patient satisfaction through better results.
Considering that back pain and muscular skeletal disorders now lead among the billing conditions in the nation, including the military, the need for non-drug, non-surgical and effective spinal care that modern chiropractic supplies is paramount for health care reform. Rising to address this need, the chiropractic profession is widely regarded as a leading example of an emerging health care discipline reaching maturity and extending its role within mainstream health care.
Strengthened with the evidence gained through research and outcome effectiveness studies, chiropractic doctors are attuned to the increasing health care consumer interest in a conservative, effective and non-invasive approach to maintain health, and one less reliant on addictive painkillers.
Chiropractors today appear steadfast in their role as America’s primary spine care provider in this epidemic of chronic pain. With mounting public interest in diet, nutrition and exercise, the “boomers” are seeking vitality to remain active as they move through their golden years. “The doctor of chiropractic is well-positioned by evident education in clinical training to lead conservative primary spinal care in the management of neuromuscular skeletal health.” (Foundation for Chiropractic Progress)
Even the American Academy of Family Physicians, in one of their grants on the clinical art of chiropractic, states: “Chiropractic presents a logical set of beliefs which appeals to common sense, uses scientific terminology, yet promotes a natural, non-evasive, holistic approach to healing rather than the medical approach which people view as excessive and dependent upon technology and drugs.” (Coulehan)
Modern chiropractic’s positive survey results
We can pride ourselves on all the scientific research evidence (Consumer Reports and Gallup-Palmer surveys) that continually shows positive results from chiropractic care.
Consider these statistics from the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress:
- Back pain is the leading cause of work-related disability and absenteeism.
- Neck pain is the third most common chronic pain condition in the U.S. and the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.
- Medicare and Tricare patient polls show patient satisfaction with the chiropractic approach to spinal care ranking as high as 80 and into the 90th
- The 2016 Gallup Palmer findings report patients rate chiropractic care at 95% effective, 97% are likely to see a chiropractor for having neck or back pain, 89% in the past year have recommended chiropractic care to family and friends, and 88% in the past year say their care was of good value for the money.
The 2017 guidelines from the American College of Physicians and the Canadian Medical Association recommend that clinicians and patients should select non-pharmaceutical treatment with superficial heat, massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulative therapy, and before using opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain.
When compared to standard care alone for men and women between the ages of 18-35 with acute low back pain, chiropractic care in conjunction with standard medical care offers a significant advancement for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning. For acute to sub-acute neck pain, cervical spine manipulation was more effective than various combinations of prescription medications for improving headaches, migraines and fibromyalgia pain.
There is a 42.7% likeliness to have surgery for workers with back injuries if they do not go to see a chiropractor as their first point of contact. Chiropractic care may reduce the number of Medicare patient visits to primary care medical physicians for back and/or neck pain, resulting in an annual savings of $83.5 million.
Consulting a chiropractor provides positive results in joint function and motion with chiropractic care in the aging patient.
Injury prevention, reducing hospital admissions
Sports performance and injury prevention was benefited by modern chiropractic care also. And check out these statistics:
- ER visits were reduced by 38-49%
- Rx-scripts were cut by 21-62%
- Rx-scripts for opioids were slashed by 49-78%!
- Chiropractic services have decreased inpatient hospital admissions by 17-37%
Chiropractic care, like all movements, began in a fever of improvision. Let us embrace all the advancements that had been afforded us. Let us use those advancements to fuel the love we have for our profession. To continue to thrive, we must never let chiropractic care become an artificial effort, a pious duty or merely a useful task.
“We cannot drive ourselves to do with our wills something about which we are not intellectually convinced: the result is emotional collapse. We never find fulfillment except in living it with conviction, and to live one’s life with conviction is to live it in a spirit of adventure as an adventure.” (Tournier)
Looking to the future rather than the past
When success came to chiropractic, things had to be organized. Order was essential. There were considerable sums of money to be administered. Offices were rented and magnificent office blocks were built. There was a president, vice-president and numerous committees filled with influential personages. But it no longer looked like an adventure; it became an organization, one accepted, respected and honored as a portal-of-entry profession within the health care field. Have we started looking to the past for our own adventure?
Were we lying to ourselves when we told others we are looking into the future, but in reality, our eyes are fixed on the past, envious and fascinated by our profession’s history?
In the closing remarks from the grant that was issued by the American Academy of Family Physicians on the clinical art of chiropractic, it states: “Chiropractic must stand or fall as a profession on the effectiveness of the spinal adjustment and perhaps closely related physical treatments.”
To see that modern chiropractic thrives in the 21st century, will you promise yourself that every time you make an adjustment, you have a specific reason to do so, an exact explanation of why you are walking into your office, and a definite purpose for embracing the profession? Effective chiropractic care is the greatest gift we can give another human being.
GARY BORING, BCAO (Board Certified Atlas Orthogonal), LCP (HON.), FICA, graduated from Cleveland Chiropractic K.C. in 1968. His father graduated in 1934 from CCC K.C., and his brother in 1966. Boring Chiropractic has served patients for 86 years.