On November 5-6, in San Diego, California, several of the MPI faculty attended the First Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back Pain and Its Relation to the Sacroiliac Joint. This event attracted approximately 600 health professionals worldwide. While not knowing the actual multidisciplinary breakdown of the attending MDs, DOs, PTs, and DCs for the two day event, we counted only 20 chiropractors in attendance.
The paucity of DCs attending the Congress is ironic, considering the fact that chiropractors are at least partially responsible for the increasing clinical significance placed on the sacroiliac joint, and considering there are 9,600 chiropractors in California, and thousands of DCs within 100 miles of the Congress. Of the 20 or so chiropractors that attended the event, three were previous MPI students, now DCs, striving to learn more and keep current with scientific progress in the field of manipulation.
This article's title was inspired by the Congress on the sacroiliac joint. "We're Not Alone" may lead you to believe this article is on PTs or MDs doing manipulation; that would be an easy topic to cover and of course it's been done.
While the seminar was predominantly MD, PT, and DO populated, I observed a malady that I felt previously only affected chiropractors. This malady, in the initial stages of a career, manifests as a severe resistance to change; in its terminal stage, it manifests as ignorance. In the healing profession a certain amount of resistance is important: to avoid erratic changes of direction and treatment based on data that hasn't been scientifically proven.
The most important aspect of science in any field of endeavor is the research of new theories and the establishment of new scientific principles based on that research. At this seminar, current and well researched data was presented. The theories proposed were definitely new to most of those present. It was interesting to find the same attitude present that we often encounter at MPI seminars. Many doctors were skeptical and resistant to any change that might upset their modus operandi. Many doctors expressed outright disbelief and ignorance to the facts presented. Learning for the first time that the sacroiliac moves might be a shock to some doctors, but science has already demonstrated this fact conclusively.
The profession of chiropractic has been calling itself scientific since D.D. Palmer spoke of the philosophy, science, and art of chiropractic in 1895. If we truly represent a profession that is scientific, our profession must adapt as the science of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics changes. Practicing chiropractic exactly the way D.D., B.J., or other past leaders practiced is not scientific. The greater understanding of the function and anatomy of the spine has allowed those who choose to move past the bone-out-of-place theories to a modern paradigm of joint function.
The modern paradigm of joint function or motion palpation is still met with resistance by many doctors who claim to be scientific. Is it logical to adjust a moveable spine based on assumptions made from static, nonmoving x-rays? If chiropractic is truly a science, we should strive to update our science and leave the past where it belongs -- in the past.
Terry Elder, D.C.
Dr. Elder will conduct his next lumbars and pelvis seminar February 6-7 at Cleveland College of Chiropractic, Kansas City. To register for the seminar or for more information call 1-800-359-2289.
Dr. Terry Elder graduated from Cleveland Chiropractic College in 1987, and maintained a private practice in Kansas prior to coming to National University where he has been an instructor in chiropractic medicine for more than 17 years. Dr. Elder serves on the postgraduate faculty of NUHS and Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, and has been an instructor with the Motion Palpation Institute for over 25 years.