Why we as chiropractors need to focus on research
I have a big anniversary coming up. In a few days I have been a chiropractor for 29 years. How wild is that? I have been a chiropractor for more of my life than not. This anniversary has inspired a bit of quiet reflection on what chiropractic is, what it means to me, and the state of chiropractic in 2018 – Yes, I am getting old!
I love this chiropractic stuff! I fully embrace the chiropractic values, live the chiropractic lifestyle and have total faith, confidence and belief in what we do. The joy it brings to bear witness to the power of chiropractic: a non-verbal autistic child that speaks, a colicky baby that stops crying, the dyslexic kid that starts to read and the families whose lifestyles and connections improve. All by removing the nervous system interference to allow them to express their optimum potential.
However, the more experience I get in chiropractic, the more I realise that we are on our own. No other profession has faith, confidence and belief in chiropractic or in healing for that matter. Regardless of how much we say: “Look at my results. The people I see are happy, healthy and they keep coming back”, we are judged as something like ‘conniving faith-healers’. No-one understands that we don’t treat symptoms, or what we could actually be doing if we are not treating symptoms. It doesn’t help that we are not always very good at communicating this so the people we serve understand this concept. Often even they think we are treating them for something or preventing something.
The common language used in healthcare is research. The holy grail of the double blind randomised controlled trials for every possible treatment. Exactly this is the crux of our challenge. To stay true to our truth, that whole setup is not going to work for chiropractic. We are, per definition, not a treatment for anything, LBP or otherwise. We remove interference to the brain and nervous system, allowing the body to heal and function as it is designed. We don’t own the outcome.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on research. We have tried to play our own game parallel to the rest of the healthcare professions, but that hasn’t really served us well. There are many, many more chiropractors practicing today than when I graduated, but we are serving less of our community. To connect and be relevant in our communities’ health we need to be able to demonstrate objectively that what we do positively impacts lives. And the only way to do this is through research. Ethical and appropriate research that answers chiropractic questions: What do we do? How does what we do work?
This is where the Kids’ Summit comes in. The purpose of the Kids’ Summit is to raise much needed capital to fund the outrageously expensive studies into the effects of subluxations and adjustments on a little person. This year’s big fundraising event is happening in Chicago September 29-30. We have world class speakers from all over the globe volunteering their wisdom and experience for us to donate the profits of the event straight into research on chiropractic care for kids.
If you are the least bit interested in kids chiropractic, you will know the superb expertise of these people:
- Steve Williams
- Julie Uren
- Claudia Anrig
- Joyce Miller
- Martin Rosen
- Janine Kinahan
- Monika Buerger
- and myself (Dorte Bladt).
I encourage you to come along. Not only because it’s going to an amazing event with a tremendous amount of knowledge being shared, hands-on skills being taught and friendships to be made. Chicago is beautiful in September, and always a fun and lively place to visit. More importantly is the fact that you invest in your future. In this age of instant results and gratification, we need to become a respected alternative force in the healthcare field. Not by trying to fit in to someone else’s model, but by objectively defining who we are and what we do through our philosophy, art and science.
I realise that it may be a challenge for you to join us in Chicago. You are still able to help support the tireless effort of the Kids’ Summit and thereby kids chiropractic research by making a donation – all profits going directly to research for the future of our profession and the health of our community.