My Job as a Chiropractor
My Job as a Chiropractor
Brian Watters, DC, LAc, MS, CSCS
The chiropractic profession has changed a lot over the past 100 years, and even more so in the last 10 years. Even though the change is happening, the every day person has no idea what our job really is. I still get today on the first visit, “I don’t believe in Chiropractic, but _______ told me she had good results with ________ and I figured it was worth a try, but I am skeptical.” My typical answer is, “well, the good thing about Chiropractic is its not a religion so it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not, it either will help or it won’t.” But it is so much deeper than that. Its not that “chiropractic” will or wont help, it’s a matter of whether or not I or another Chiropractor have failed to do our job as a physician in one or more of these areas:
1) Correct diagnosis
This is really my main task in an initial visit. 85% of my diagnosis comes from the words that come out of the patient’s mouth, or their history. It is also my job to get answers out of you that I need in order to at least formulate a “working diagnosis”, which can change as the treatment plan progresses.
2) Explain diagnosis
I typically tell people it doesn’t matter what the diagnosis is just as long as they know what is going on and if I can help or not. What I should really say is, “it doesn’t matter what we call it, I need you to understand what is going on in your body and if I can help, if we need further studies (imaging, lab tests, etc), or if you need to be referred to another provider.
3) Provide advice and treatment plan based on goals
I can’t help unless I know what it is you want to be able to do. Then we can come up with a strategy to accomplish this goal or these goals.
Patient: “I want to be able to run, but my knee hurts and my doctor told me not to run anymore because it is bad for my knees”.
Doctor: “Let’s come up with a strategy for you to be able to run again with as little knee pain as possible”
It is also my job to provide some sort of treatment plan or attempt to help you with your issue based on the facts you have told me. In my office that can be one of many things including but not limited to: advice, exercise prescription, exercise progression, proper form on exercises, strategies to temporarily alleviate symptoms to allow you to keep moving while we attempt to find a long term solution (adjustment, soft tissue, Graston, dry needling, acupuncture, ART, IASTM, SASTM, DTM, etc.)
4) Adapt to changing goals and symptoms
If you come in on the 3rd visit and you are pain free, I will typically make sure you understand the game plan, but bump your next (maybe last) visit out a while to let you do your activity and see how you respond. If I said it takes 4-6 visits and you are done in 4, I am not going to make you come back 2 more treatments just to get my 6 visits in.
If anywhere along the way the patient doesn’t understand what is going on or is getting worse, my job is to explain what is going on and possibly seek additional opinions or testing.
Chiropractic isn’t just cracking bones I guess…and even if I don’t “fix” you, at least you have learned and adopted new management strategies to help you with your symptoms, and I typically won’t tell you to stop running because its bad for your knees.
40 Executive Dr., Suite E
Carmel, IN 46032