Chiropractic is only 121 years old! One of my favorite memories so far at Cleveland University-Kansas City, is sitting in Dr. Cleveland’s philosophy course during my first trimester and hearing the history of chiropractic from someone who lived it. Dr. Cleveland obviously grew up within a chiropractic family, but did our grandparents? I would say the majority of students, including myself, were not introduced to chiropractic until at least their teenage years, because it was still a new concept. Heck, to this day it is still a concept that the majority of the U.S. population is trying to grasp. Albert Einstein once said, “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Can you explain the idea of chiropractic to your grandmother or grandfather?
Many will say yes, of course! I would love to share a story about my “granny” with you. It had been a while since I had seen her, but one thing I knew was that she was not functioning at her full potential. She asked me if I thought chiropractic could help her, of course I immediately said, “Yes!” I had her lay down on my portable table so I could evaluate her. That is when I looked at my dad and said “You see the difference in where my hands are that is representative of the difference of where her hips are. She needs chiropractic care.”
The next day, she visited our local chiropractor who then got her in contact with a chiropractor that he recommended for her back in Nebraska. Fast-forward two months later, my granny is walking without pain and her gait looks normal again for her. She was so excited to share her improvement with me, and how the doctor told her that because her hips were out of alignment it caused her gait to be funny and painful. Based on those words you think ok, she gets it. She gets that if your spine, hips, etc. are not in alignment, that can cause interference, resulting in symptoms that we see and feel.
About two months later I got a call from granny. She had been to her medical doctor to have an ultrasound done. The ultrasound showed an enlarged liver, spleen, and gallbladder. Her question to me was, “Since I am standing up straighter because I have been getting adjusted, could this have caused my organs to move or expand because they have more room?” As silly as this sounds for those who do not have an extensive background in the human body, this is not an absurd thought. After explaining to my granny that this was not a side effect of getting adjusted, I realized that we as chiropractors must do a better job of explaining chiropractic. Chiropractic is a new concept to the majority of the population; it is not simply explained by “take this pill three times a week and if that doesn’t work, come back.” That does not mean, though, that we just hope at some point they get it; we must find a way to relate to our patients the need for chiropractic care as well as the benefits!