What is the relationship between Chiropractic and the treatment of pain?

This seems to be a very confusing topic … especially amongst Chiropractors.


In my view, and in the view of many other Chiropractors who are practicing in a pure or principled manner (i.e. basing everything that they do in practice according to the 33 principles that Chiropractic was founded and developed upon), Chiropractic does not “treat” anything … including pain.


Since its very beginning, Chiropractors have had differences of opinion as to what defines a Chiropractor and what is Chiropractic.  They have debated whether Chiropractic includes anything other than the specific detection and correction of a vertebral subluxation (VS) – things like therapy, nutrition, or diagnosis.


Many Chiropractors today have realized that their greatest value to the public is to offer a service that is unique, safe and shown to have benefited millions of people.  They know that there are plenty of choices that people have regarding their health.  Only Chiropractic encompasses a minimalist concept that honors the body by recognizing the innate potential that each person is given.


It is this minimalism that each principled Chiropractor incorporates into how he or she cares for the individual.


We introduce the smallest force to assist the body in its ability to self-correct the VS.  Without VS,  that person’s unique innate intelligence can function to sustain and enhance that person at his/her optimum ability to exist at whatever level of life/health potential he/she has.


Returning to the question of pain and Chiropractic, the job of the Chiropractor is to determine if there are one or more VS’s present. That VS is an entity in and of itself, with the ramifications that might alter any number of the human body’s functions.  I do not think that the identification of VS – even if it is exactly where the pain is being perceived by the “patient” – is necessarily the cause of the pain.  No more so than a runny nose is the cause of a cold.


So when someone presents to the Chiropractor with pain, and that person feels it at some point in the back area, the Chiropractor checks their entire spine for VS.  If one or more subluxations exist (even when not in the area where the person is complaining, or when it is), that Chiropractor  corrects any and all VS’s because they have created a block  in the person’s ability to function optimally.

Why I don’t play the insurance game

Insurance is great for many things.

It is supposed to protect us from a catastrophic loss.

Something that might be so horrendous that it would devastate us physically or financially.

How does insurance apply to our health?  Does insurance cover health or does it cover disease?

The field of  medicine seems to work best by offering to repair the damage (or at least to deal with the damage).  Most likely, insurance will cover some of the cost for an appendectomy or some other surgery.  Perhaps insurance will even pay for high blood pressure or high cholesterol medication or treatments.  It also is likely to consider payment for therapy for an injury.

Chiropractic, on the other hand (pun intended), works best by offering to assist in the optimal functioning of the body by removing disturbances to the body’s innate intelligence.  Rather than waiting for the damage to appear, a chiropractor should be able to ascertain whether obstacles (vertebral subluxations) to our body’s innate ability to adapt to our ever-changing environment  is present. The chiropractor realizes that maximum life cannot be achieved when there are subluxations.

I recall a number of years ago, my cousin had just moved into a new house.  On a hill about 15 feet from the house was a diseased, but mostly dead, 50 foot tall tree.  It was obvious that when the tree fell, it would fall on the house.  At a minimum, it would do damage to the house, possibly injuring or even killing someone.  He contacted a number of tree experts who recommended that the tree be removed.  The cost was about $1000.  He contacted his homeowners insurance and asked for assistance.  Basically, they informed him that they would not pay for the removal of the tree, however, their responsibility would begin after the damage was done.

In life there will always be dead and dying trees (subluxations) that may interfere with the quality of your home (life).  If you care about your home, your family and how you wish to exist (without fear of a falling tree), you will take action and be proactive as opposed to reactive.

There are plenty of insurance companies that will pay for sick or disease care. I love not having to get the insurance card before a patient arrives and then calling the insurance company to determine which diagnosis will provide the maximum number of treatments.

Whatever level of health you are experiencing, this office offers to work with you to help remove the obstacles preventing you from maximizing your HEALTH potential.

That’s better than maximizing the number of treatments from your insurance company for some sickness.



House calls?

Back when I was growing up the doctor might come to the house.  I recall a number of times when mom would call and good ole’ doc would come over.  I’ll bet it was because someone was sick.

As a chiropractor I have, on occasion, made a house call or two.

I was thinking about offering this service lately.  However,  I do not want to encourage treatment of something.

Chiropractic has fallen into a realm of medicine that perpetuates the unhealthy use of chiropractic.  I mean by utilizing chiropractic as a method of treatment of illness and disease, the alignment (couldn’t help it) of chiropractic with wellness is lost.

How so?  If by receiving an adjustment your symptom goes away, you might conclude that chiropractic eliminated the problem so you don’t need chiropractic anymore … unless the condition returns.   This is not wellness.

Chiropractic is different than medicine and should as a profession lead the way towards optimizing a healthy existence.  If chiropractors continue to embrace a medical model of practice (treatment of conditions) the uniqueness of it is diluted.

It is difficult NOT to connect chiropractic with symptoms, since chiropractic has been helping people who have suffered and received good results since 1895.  The problem that I see though is that much of the help has been inconsistent.  Not with helping people but rather with identifying specific conditions that chiropractic helps.  Much confusion with chiropractic has been the attempt to associate symptoms with chiropractic care.

Chiropractic has been associated with the care of the back … or spine.  From my perspective, I see us chiropractors as being more specialized.  That is, our specific focus is the subluxation of the spine. Not specifically what it causes but being able to identify it and correct it.

Imagine,  you call and say, “my family and I want to be checked for the possibility of interference to the system that controls our level of health,  can you come over and check us for subluxations?”

I’m waiting for that call.

‘Concierge’ Medicine

You have heard about it.

It’s controversial.

Basically a patient or family pays a membership fee to be able to have access to the doctor.

I have only one problem with it. I believe it ENCOURAGES more visits to the doctor. You know what they say “… if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail” … or something like that.

What is in the toolbox of the doctor?  They are the experts at diagnosing and treating disease.

If you bought a membership then you will more likely want to use it, right?

So maybe you are curious about this ‘thing’ and since you are able to have this easy access to the doctor you get a consultation, examination, and maybe certain tests (xrays, lab work, scans etc.) This could then lead to further care … or not.

I believe that doctors want their patients to be as healthy as possible. I don’t believe they are equipped with the right toolbox.

They are best at getting you out of the crisis… once you are in the crisis. How about staying out of the crisis in the first place.

We need to address health rather than sickness.

The concept of  ‘concierge’  medicine is better suited in a chiropractor’s office. A person does not have to experience a ‘thing’ to go to the chiropractor. The person presents to the chiropractor for a ‘wellness’ visit.  If indicated, the person receives an adjustment.  He leaves the chiropractor’s office with his bodily systems communicating better.

Try it.

I can cure …

I’ll bet most people would love for me to finish that statement.  It’s been exactly that kind of message that has catapulted chiropractic into the hearts of our advocates and the minds of our detractors. Did you know that over 100 years ago chiropractic began as a profession when D.D. Palmer “cured” Harvey Lillard of his deafness?  Today, most people think of chiropractic as a form of therapy for their back problems. There are many chiropractors today that claim they can treat all kinds of things and that their technique is unique (there are many different techniques within the chiropractic profession, some that are about how to adjust the spine and some that are about where or when to adjust the spine).

I feel sorry for the public that is trying to decipher the best approach to being healthy – traditional versus alternative – much less as to which chiropractic technique to choose.  When it comes to chiropractic I do know this … no one is the same and therefore no two individuals will heal exactly the same. Some techniques may be more effective with some people who have xyz condition, but not with abc condition. If any kind of doctor had the cure for a condition, each and every time the condition was expressed in any patient that expressed it, then that doctor would be famous, world renown, and I believe the condition would be eradicated. Has that happened?

There have been many patients that have had relief and cure from the conditions they sought treatment for as a result of chiropractic adjustments of the spine … and there are those that have had less than relief. In my experience of nearly 30 years, I have come to the realization that most people have a greater ability to overcome conditions when they do healthy things that keep their body in top notch shape. One of those healthy things is keeping the communication between the brain and the rest of the body clear from interference … and isn’t that what chiropractic is about?