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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 10, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 21

Research Based Chiropractic Education Makes Remarkable Progress

By Leonard Savage, DC, DABCO and E. Maylon Drake, MS, EdD

The dawn of the 1990s witnesses giant strides in the scope and quality of chiropractic education. This progress has provided a dynamic catalyst to the improvement and expansion of chiropractic health care and to a large extent, to the process that has made chiropractic into a widely used and solidly supported health care field.

In realizing that chiropractic, as a separate health profession is less than 100 years old, we should analyze the factors responsible for its accelerated growth and its acceptance as a primary health care provider.

Precision spinal manipulation/adjustment, the uniquely chiropractic contribution to health care, has emerged from their early decades of empirical claims and success to a research supported sophisticated procedure. Today, progressive chiropractic colleges provide the latest in diagnostic imaging and biochemical testing, refined spinal analysis and manual techniques, nutritional expertise and modern physiotherapeutic measures.

Every major health profession has had at least one significant turning point, when, as in a chrysalis, it broke out of its primitive past to become a respected, effective health care provider. The Flexner Report, in 1910, administered the shock that jolted allopathic medicine out of the diploma mills and into legitimate education and practice. Later, podiatry shifted out of its corn and callous chiropody mode and into modern foot surgery. Dentistry moved beyond drill, fill, and pull to complete care of the oral cavity and cranio-facial problems.

Parallel progress has been made by the other licensed health professions, prominent among which is chiropractic. Chiropractic's rapid education-based progress has placed it in the vanguard of safe, effective health care methodologies. Unfortunately, the impressive expansion of chiropractic health care is occasionally slowed by those who mistakenly deny the progress that is evident and try to glorify antiquated theories that were proven to be inadequate. Prominent among those who slow and often misdirect the progress of chiropractic health care is a small portion of the profession that practices with a chiropractic theoretical base often called "ultra-straight." A minuscule segment of the profession, those who follow an "ultra-straight" theory often dismiss the research-based scientific chiropractic knowledge that provides the foundation for today's highly successful profession. They mistakenly quote and sometimes misquote chiropractic pioneers and attempt to convince the public that the vast majority of chiropractors are too "medically orientated" to provide quality chiropractic care. Nothing could be further from the truth and it is important that the consuming public be fully aware of this fact as it depends increasingly upon chiropractic health care for solutions to a myriad of health care problems.

All doctors of chiropractic appreciate and respect the struggles of the pioneers, whose early efforts might be called "primitive" but whose dedicated services undeniably helped many for whom allopathy had failed.

"Primitive" they may have been, but they provided a solid foundation on which the modern chiropractic schools have built well-rounded curriculum, taught by inter-disciplinary faculties under the demanding requirements of the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). The CCE has been recognized by the United States Department of Education since 1972 as the major chiropractic accrediting agency, giving emphasis to expertise in diagnosis as essential to protecting the health of patients.

CCE accredited colleges stress a positive "outcome assessment" for the graduates by providing optimal training as well, in modern therapeutic methods to support and enhance what is rapidly becoming the universally applauded (but not successfully imitated) specific spinal adjustment.

This latter nuclear manual technique, now a worldwide treatment phenomenon also has been a springboard that has launched a growing list of chiropractic specialties: nonsurgical orthopedics; clinical nutrition; x-ray and other diagnostic imaging; and sports injury among others. Chiropractic physicians have taken the lead in the new speciality of ergonomics, acting as industrial consultants to promote greater efficiency and safety in the workplace.

Chiropractic has won the respect and admiration of the public, educators, legislators, and industry because of its dogged adherence of the ever-higher admissions standards of its CCE accredited colleges; also, for its recognition of the wisdom of working cooperatively with the other professions, as needed, for the benefit of its patients.

While chiropractic objectives are surgery preventative, the modern chiropractic doctor is trained to diagnose and refer when surgery is indicated. This training is one of the most significant factors that distinguishes the graduate of a CCE accredited college from others that chose the title of Doctor of Chiropractic, but refuse to accept the diagnostic responsibilities that go with that designation.

How does one recognize whether, in any field of practice, a given doctor is in the vanguard of scientific progress or, perhaps a relic of the primitive past? In chiropractic, a hallmark of scientific practice is acceptance, knowledge of and experience in modern diagnosis and conservative treatment methods, including the uniquely chiropractic speciality of spinal/manipulation. The CCE accredited colleges and their post-doctoral programs offer that high level training in quality health care.

In common with its allied health professions, narrow cultism and denial of the validity of recent scientific achievements are also rapidly vanishing phenomenon in chiropractic. As it nears its centennial anniversary, chiropractic can take pride in the pace and scope of its remarkable progress.

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