Chiropractic is about results.
Some will say that is not so. That we do not know what results will occur.
And they are right…partially.
We do know that the body is designed to heal.
That it is constantly striving to protect, maintain and seek the optimum expression of life. We know that the nervous system is an integral and primary resource necessary to transmit life building and sustaining information.
We recognize that neurological stress comes in various forms and for over 100 years we have observed and recorded unquestionable data that vertebral subluxation, a shift in normal spinal alignment, is one of the most common forms of neurological stress and interference to the expression of life.
That interference comes in varying degrees with limitless potentialities due to the inherent complexity of open, dynamic systems.
When the body is subluxated, the expression of life, health, healing and well-being is compromised.
It really is as simple as that.
Equally simple is the understanding that if compromise of the nervous system exists and is competently addressed through the adjustment of the vertebral subluxation, the natural RESULT is the restoration of normal cycles, information AND … given a proper and sufficient amount of TIME, MOMENTUM and natural resources, the healing and restoration of bodily tissues.
What exactly those results will be for any individual is always dependent upon time and the limitations of matter.
Those limitations sometimes come from the actual tissues and at other times from cellular/organic deficiency and/or toxicity. (I am not saying that it is our job to address those items…that’s a whole other post!)
Whatever the results may be are simply the natural consequence of restoration of normal cycles once interference has been removed.
What those results will be for each individual cannot be known. However, there can be certain expectations based upon the scientific facts just laid out and clinical tendencies seen in the application of this art.
Some will say chiropractic is non-therapeutic. They are also right.
“But I thought you said chiropractic brings about healing results?!” says someone.
Chiropractic is non-therapeutic because of our paradigm, objective and natural consequences.
We expect the body to heal and experience a wide array of positive physical and psychosocial improvements because we understand that the body is a self-healing, self-regulating organism.
We are not surprised by great results, we expect them.
It is the reason this profession continues to exist despite our inability to actual rally around who we are, what chiropractic is and what chiropractors do. However, if we continue to allow the degradation of our philosophy, science and art, our results will continue to follow into that dank, dark place.
While chiropractic IS non-therapeutic, it is not a user-friendly term that makes sense to the public. It is an important distinction yet it is best to keep it in our professional discourse and not on our banner. There are ways to describe it to the public. Much of that I’ve already touched upon but I have a few examples at the end as well.
What do the 33 Principles have to say about it?
For the philosophically literate, this deduction is taken right from our 33 principles.
We recognize a Universal Intelligence and an Innate Intelligence. (Prin. 1 & 20) We put forth that the mission of Innate Intelligence is to maintain the body in active organization and its functions allow for the adaptation of universal forces for the benefit of the organism. (Prin. 21 & 23)
We recognize that interference can and does occur and that vertebral subluxation represents one such occurrence. (Prin. 12, 29 & 31)
That interference will result in incoordination of function and, for a long enough period of time, symptoms and what medicine labels “disease.”
The removal of this interference leads to restoration of normal function which, through the nature of the human body and Innate Intelligence, will necessarily result in improvements in the expression of life, health function and well-being.
Granted, we do not know the exact “results” that will occur, we do indeed know that an individual is better off without vertebral subluxation than with it.
Allowing chiropractic to not be about results is dangerous ground. True, it is equally dangerous to position it as a treatment for various conditions, however, positioning chiropractic as an effective method of restoring neural integrity and therefore the overall capacity of the body to experience greater health, healing, well-being and function is scientifically and philosophically sound, and carries the greatest potential for research, increased public awareness, cultural authority and practice success.
Much Ado About Nothing?
If chiropractic is not about results, then it is about nothing and leads to little to no accountability. When people fail to improve under our care, we should not question the principles and facts. We need to question our technique, our analysis and our application of chiropractic as well as our allowance for adequate time to pass.
Some may find difficulty in communicating this important distinction. Here’s a few examples of ways to do so.
Like you, I am often asked, “Can chiropractic help (enter condition/disease/made up diagnosis here)?”
My response is always some variation of the following.
Chiropractic is not a treatment for the condition but an opportunity for restoration to occur. I give people a simple explanation and reminder of the self-healing nature of the body, that the nervous system is the primary healing mechanism in the body, that vertebral subluxation produces neurological stress/interference and that by removing/reducing that stress their body will have a greater opportunity to heal, restore itself and function better.
That, combined with the explanation of limitations of matter handles this issue quite well. I explain to them that I do not know exactly how their life will improve, only that, because of the items I outlined earlier, that I expect it will improve in various ways that I am not in control of.
People understand this and respect it. Some will choose or seek the relief of whatever condition they initially presented with, however, many will be given the opportunity to make the educated choice of lifetime care for themselves and families. This is not a one visit concept. This is a concept that requires regular revisiting through questions of the day (table talk) and supportive teaching points such as the fact that up until this point, they have essentially neglected the care and maintenance of their spine and nervous system and that those that value the optimal expression of health, function and well-being will choose to have their spine and nervous system checked on a regular basis throughout a lifetime.
Steve Tullius, D.C., ACP
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