What have all our pioneers had in common? Some might say genius, but geniuses can be found anywhere. The common factor all these great men shared was an endeavor to answer those questions that plagued our profession. A salient point might be added that they often used new data available during their time to formulate new ideas. Often their thoughts were not proven by empirical methods for many years to come, but as pioneers they were willing to embrace new information and ideas to further our profession.
I began this article with the question, "Does chiropractic have all the answers?" In the last four years I have taught motion palpation seminars with the hope of advancing a new chiropractic paradigm. This chiropractic paradigm is a logical, scientifically sound approach to chiropractic health care. It is very disappointing to see at these seminars doctors and students that already have all the answers because they have adopted a certain technique espoused by one of our chiropractic pioneers. These techniques have been essential to our growth, but I am positive that their inventors, if still alive, would be searching for answers, analyzing new data, and embracing new ideas. Those chiropractic pioneers that are still present within our profession, Dr. L. John Faye to name one, continue to strive toward more knowledge and embrace new ideas.
Where are we today? Our schools are pushing to get back to the "old way." What does the "old way" mean -- less education, scientific validation or simply less thinking? Students often reveal incidents where they are pushed none to gently away from a concept or rationale in chiropractic that is not the "old way." The goal of this push is often stated as a return to a philosophically strong chiropractic. In actuality, a student graduating today can be practicing with a rationale that is 100 years behind the times as our schools push for 1895 values and philosophy.
With all this talk of technique, one might say that the motion palpation is a technique. Motion palpation is a concept. This concept is based on the diagnosis and treatment of the subluxation complex via motion palpation analysis. The subluxation complex is composed of five components (neuro-, kinesio-, myo-, histo-, and biochemical) that serves as an umbrella for each aspect or our particular practice.
The subluxation complex as taught by the Motion Palpation Institute does not yet answer all the questions. It is, however, based on current scientific literature. The main problem we often run into is the bone out of place (BOOP) concept. It seems we somehow step on toes when we describe the spine as a functioning entity instead of a stack of bones that can be shifted back and forth into the ideal configuration. The BOOP concept will eventually fade, and we are grateful for its contribution to chiropractic. For many decades, it offered a model to work from. This model has been updated by the rest of the healing profession, but chiropractors have been hesitant to let this antiquated model go. Some within our profession hold onto this model with a religious fervor.
The chiropractic profession has moved into a new age. The BOOP concept has been updated and science is ever upon us in the 90s. Let's start asking questions again and drive the chiropractic profession kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The motion palpation paradigm is complete but not finished. As long as advances are made and questions asked, it will be modified and updated.
I look forward to the day when we as doctors realize that the adjustment is only a tool in our treatment arsenal. Therapy, stretching, socioeconomic advice, acupuncture, etc., are also less important tools in our treatment programs, but each, as tools, can be used in a constructive or destructive fashion. The primary machinery which operates these tools is still our ability to think, ask questions, and, yes, even the ability to diagnose.
For answers to some of the questions, try to attend a motion palpation seminar near your area. We welcome your input and your questions.
Note: A new seminar is available that offers the important details on various disease processes and their corresponding level of subluxation. This seminar is called "Somatic Components of the Subluxation Complex" and is taught by Dr. Keith Innes. Dr. Innes has collected various journal articles and texts over many years and combined this information, along with his adjusting expertise, into a very enjoyable and practical seminar. Dr. Innes' personal library of chiropractic and manipulative literature is one of the largest in chiropractic, and the data presented at this seminar will be very informative.
Terry M. Elder, D.C.
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.