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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 12, 1996, Vol. 14, Issue 19

Philosophy -- According to the Patient

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
It is always interesting how DCs view Dynamic Chiropractic. Some chiropractors see it as a "mixer" publication, although recently, a number of DCs have commented on our "straight orientation."

Most of these comments are in response to a single article, rather than seeing the publication as whole.

Dynamic Chiropractic is a sounding board, a reflection, if you will, of the entire chiropractic profession. Our "orientation" is all inclusively chiropractic.

As for my own "philosophy," it is that of a lifetime chiropractic patient who is also the son and grandson of chiropractors. Some may find it unusual that a patient would have a health care philosophy, but it is that very philosophy that moves a person to become (or not become) a chiropractic patient.

Consider the terms that two lay persons use to describe prescription drugs:

One uses the terms "medicine" or "medication," indicative of a philosophy of wellness (?) that is favorably focused on the pharmaceutical side of health care.

The other person speaks of "drugs," connotative of the less favorable aspect of pharmaceuticals: side-effects, negative reactions and overdose.

Everyone has their own philosophy of health. It was handed down from parents, modified by friends and impacted by personal experience. It is anecdotal in nature, and has a tendency to ignore the body's ability to heal itself, in favor of some outside intervention. And just like the scientist studying the jumping frog,* it is subject to misinterpretation.

This is where you come in. While it may be frustrating, part of your job as a healer is to teach your patients what health is and how to maintain it. This involves sharing your philosophy with each patient as you care for their individual health needs, helping them to understand what that adjustment accomplished, and why it is better than taking aspirin the next time they have a headache. Sometimes not doing something or doing it correctly is a big key to maintaining optimum health.

Most of the time you will be spoon-feeding you patients: talking about the dangers of reckless antibiotic use one visit; explaining why Aunt Bessie can manage her asthma with chiropractic the next. Through your extra effort, your patients will not only enjoy the wellness chiropractic provides, they will live healthier lives. This will translate to substantial improvements in their quality of life, especially as they get older.

If you want to get a little motivation about how important it is to instill in your patients a chiropractic centered health care philosophy, visit a care home for the elderly. Observe the little old ladies drugged senseless, walking around with "tombstones in their eyes." This isn't how you want your patients to end up. (You'll notice an absence of little old men. They didn't survive their last surgery.)

Your chiropractic philosophy should be shared with every patient, and anyone else who will listen. Lifetime chiropractic patients should stand out as the healthiest people in town.

In the turmoil of managed care and health care reform, many are loosing sight of the fact that health care is still about people and all about wellness. Chiropractic has always made these issues the top priority. Let's continue to stand for the health of our patients and society as a whole.

  • In case you haven't heard the joke, a scientist studying frogs placed a frog at the end of a long table. Hoping to prompt the frog to jump, the scientist blew a loud note on a trumpet. The frog, startled by the sudden noise, leaped. The researcher recorded: "Frog with four legs jumps four feet." The scientist then amputated one of the frog's legs and again blew a piercing note on the trumpet. The researcher recorded: "Frog with three legs jumps three feet." This continued until the frog had no legs. When the researcher blew the trumpet, the frog didn't budge. Placing the horn closer to the frog, the scientist hit several shrieking notes, but the poor frog remained inert. Finally, exasperated, the researcher scribbled into his notes: "Frog with no legs, can't hear."

Just because your patients feel better after taking a drug doesn't mean the drug helped them. The drug may have even hampered the healing process! They don't understand this. Most patients don't know the difference between feeling better and wellness. They come to you to learn.

DMP Jr.


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