Chiropractic has suffered more than its share of ridicule and attacks over the years. We have endured many legal battles and taken it on the chin from insurance companies.
Mainstream media also has been negative toward chiropractic, oftentimes unjustly. Other health care professions, particularly the medical profession, have participated in the ridicule as well - not always, but frequently.
Despite all this, doctors of chiropractic should feel great about this profession! More and more consumers are finding out that racing to fix symptoms with prescription drugs is not the answer. There is a grassroots campaign in America waking up to the notion that avoiding prescription drugs whenever possible is the healthier, more logical path to long-term health.
As chiropractors know, most of the drugs used today merely mask the symptoms of a condition, rather than address the root cause. Once patients take one drug, they often end up taking additional drugs - sometimes to mask the side effects of the first drug. Of the people you know who are taking two, three or four different drugs, what is the state of their general health? Too often, they seem to spend a good deal of time sick or in bed.
I was speaking recently to a health care professional who specializes in helping the "sickest healthy" people, meaning he consults with those people who feel sick but MDs can't diagnose. He told me the first question he asks these healthy sick people is: "What prescription drugs are you currently taking?" The reason it's the first question he asks is "because in my experience, prescription drugs are the most common cause of making people not feel healthy." We are talking about people who eventually get so ill they have trouble walking more than 50 feet without having to sit down. When he weans patients off the myriad of drugs they are on, he transforms them into relatively healthy people who can lead fairly "normal" lives.
Champions of Wellness
When D.D. Palmer performed the first adjustment in Davenport, Iowa, in 1895, he already had the opinion that using drugs without exploring other options first was not the route to take. Wellness is a hot buzzword these days, but chiropractic has held this philosophy for more than 100 years, before the term even existed. Today, mainstream media and medicine seem to preach taking a pill as the first and foremost solution to treating our various symptoms. Everything from cholesterol to back pain to high blood pressure can be corrected with the use of drugs. The problem is that far too often, these drugs come with a high price - and I don't mean at the cash register.
A Wake-Up Call
Even though there is no natural pull for positive press toward non-mainstream medical health care, there are forces at work that are exceptions to this trend. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress is one such example. This nonprofit foundation is engaged in buying ads in some of the largest consumer publications in the world (e.g., Time, Sports Illustrated) and seeking positive press in various articles published in mainstream publications. Is this an entity that compares to the mega-presence of Big Pharma in all forms of media, advertising and influence? Of course not. Is it a step in the right direction in terms of building some momentum and spreading the truth about what chiropractic is about? Yes.
How Powerful Is Truth?
You see all the massive advertising for drugs. It can make you wonder, "Is there any hope of getting the message of wellness out there?" It can seem daunting. But chiropractic's core message is too true and powerful to not gain some momentum. When your message is on the side of truth, you have a force that cannot be defeated forever.
There is a time and place for mainstream medicine. We know chiropractic and wellness is not the cure-all for every health condition. But with that said, we need to educate the general consumer that assuming every health problem can be solved with a prescription drug is a dangerous way to live. What you do is vital to the world. Drugs are often not the answer and are even the root of many health problems; you offer that message. What other health care profession does that? Not many.
The Wellness Revolution
Despite the obstacles hindering chiropractic success, it's certainly not all bad news. The past few years have been a bumpy ride for some, especially in certain states, but it seems there are some signs of light at the end of the tunnel. According to Paul Zane Pilzer, best-selling author of The Wellness Revolution and many other books on the subject, there is $1 trillion wellness revolution coming soon. On his Web site, he states, "Wellness has grown to $500 billion and it's still just getting started, offering even greater entrepreneurial opportunities."
In his book, he accurately asserts that chiropractors have always been the original champions of wellness (health attained from the right lifestyle and diet, and the avoidance of unnecessary drugs and surgery) and are positioned to attain the position in health care they deserve. Consumers are awakening to the reality of what is wellness, and are no longer assuming the solution to symptoms can be found in a prescription drug bottle. Not only are people in their 30s discovering the benefit of wellness and CAM, but so are the baby boomers, who want to enjoy active, healthy lifestyles in their golden years.
In the Catbird Seat?
There are many ways for today's doctors of chiropractic to benefit from consumers' awakening to the message of wellness. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and the wellness message should benefit various doctors who provide spinal adjustments and those who also provide various other modalities and wellness products. There really are substantial trends that offer a bright future. Discover how they fit into your personal and your practice philosophies. What you offer is special and something about which to be excited.