If you ask different people what role they think chiropractic has in healthcare, you are likely to receive widely varying answers. Some might say chiropractic is a complimentary and alternative medicine. Some may say chiropractors are the first doctor a person should go to in just about any case. Others might ask, “What’s a chiropractor?” People have their reasons for thinking the way they do. I’d like to take a moment to express my ideas of how I view chiropractic in the healthcare world.
From what I gather, our culture has grown to organize healthcare in a bit of a totem pole fashion. We have placed M.D.’s, D.O.’s, and surgeons at the top. Underneath them are perhaps nurse practitioners, physical therapists, dentists, podiatrists and probably chiropractors. Another level down would be acupuncturists, massage therapists, naturopaths and others alike. We give the most authority and legitimacy to the professionals at the top, and less as we work our way down the pole. There are different reasons for why our culture lives in this mindset, but I think things should be organized a bit differently.
I view the world of healthcare as more of a slab. All providers play a role in a person’s health, and no provider possesses all of the tools to solely provide for a person’s health. Yes, some professionals on the list, such as in the case of surgeons, spent many years in graduate school studying and refining their talents and knowledge. Their service is very valuable, but it is only necessary in certain situations. An M.D. family practitioner also spent many years in graduate school, but if someone comes to them with tendonitis or joint dysfunction, the patient is better off referred to a chiropractor or a physical therapist. These are just a couple of examples, but all the professionals I listed above, and then some, play a special role in patient care.
I think we are all on the same playing field in the healthcare world – at least I would like us to be. It is in the patient’s best interest that healthcare practitioners work together to provide the best possible care for a patient. In order for this to happen, we, as both consumers and providers, need to shift our thinking.