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Chiropractic Research Review

Chiropractors: Quick-Fix Specialists, or Promoters of Wellness?

Many chiropractors have designated chiropractic as a "wellness profession," yet the preponderance of scientific evidence, and numbers of non-chiropractic patients, primarily point to chiropractors for the relief of some kind of pain or problem.

Although a substantial portion of chiropractic visits are for "maintenance" or "wellness" care, the terms themselves have no particular significance outside of the chiropractic environment. More problematic perhaps is the lack of evidence of disease-preventing or health-promoting effects of chiropractic care beyond single cases or clinical anecdotes.

These issues notwithstanding, chiropractic principles and theories are aligned with the current mindset of the health care consumer - that the body has the ability to heal itself. This article asks the question: "Should chiropractic be a 'wellness' profession?" The author argues that if chiropractic is to become a wellness profession, it should be because the profession is perfectly aligned with the beliefs of the consumer and the emerging complementary and alternative health revolution.

The author presents the pros and cons of designating the profession from a wellness standpoint. She explores accomplishments within the profession, then defines potential challenges to a prevention and wellness position for chiropractic, including:

* lack of knowledge of the large evidence base of prevention methods and procedures;
* the need for training in health education;
* the need to understand other professions roles; and
* lack of evidence of the value of maintenance/wellness care.

In her conclusion, the author suggests that the chiropractic profession's commitment to wellness must involve adequate training in existing prevention and health promotion knowledge and skills, including the "...development of 'wellness teams' serving patients' health needs rather than treating their diseases or alleviating their symptoms."

Hawk C. Should chiropractic be a "wellness" profession? Topics in Clinical Chiropractic, March 2000:7(1), pp23-26. Reprints: (800) 638-8437

Chiropractic Research Review

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