Chiropractic vs. Medicine: Coping with the Difference

By: Larry Markson, DC

Being Doctors of Chiropractic, we know there is a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause. Consequently, there must be a cause for all of the chaos and confusion that has dominated the Chiropractic profession in recent years. In my life-long study into the principles of success, I have also learned that if the cause of something is isolated, understood and then systematically eliminated, the chaos and confusion will naturally disappear.

Through the years, disunity rather than unity has ruled our profession, and sadly that disunity has increased rather than decreased as it should have. Misunderstanding has grown; Chiropractors continue to circle the wagons and shoot in, point fingers and slandering each other as regularly as night follows day.

What Happened?

The cause of this dis-ease (lack of ease, less than optimal, not working, less than being healthy) has now been discovered. The sickness comes from within, and it started many years ago.

In the beginning years of Chiropractic, we had a close-knit, dynamic, professional group dedicated to the purpose of eliminating, through everyday practice, the nerve interference that causes pain, sickness, dis-eases of all kinds and hinders the full expression of a normal healthy life. DC’s loved what they did. Practices were much simpler to operate “in the good old days,” but the Chiropractors could have cared less about the operations of an office. They were focused on their purpose and nothing else seemed to matter.

With such a beginning, you would think that Chiropractic should have become more “established” in the culture by now – 111 years later – as the science which people seek first for their healthcare.

We Should Be Further Along

There should be, in my opinion, well over 100,000 Chiropractors actively and successfully engaged in practice by now. And, I still say, there should be one powerful, dynamic and wisely run national association which is dedicated to our founding principles – one which spends its time and resources directing the profession toward positioning us to a place from which we can render our service with equality, recognition and parity – armed with the dignity deserved by all Chiropractic professionals.

The Need to Be Accepted

The cause of our dis-ease, if I can put it that way, began way in the past, when we as a profession were struggling for an identity. At that time, some practitioners started looking at the so-called “other side” – at the practitioners of the allopathic persuasion. But, they looked at them through the envious eyes of struggling and suffering Chiropractors. And, with longing in their eyes, they willingly agreed to sacrifice themselves, their principles and their practices to gain their share of the “good life” and the luxuries enjoyed by the medical fraternity – recognition, prestige, power, money, position – and, of course, acceptance!

Those DCs, and many in practice today, wanted “IN” – into the mainstream, that is – and nothing seems to be able to stop them. They feel under-appreciated, under-rewarded and are tired of fighting third-party payers, limited compensation, malpractice threats and even frivolous lawsuits that dampen their very spirit. I do understand! From that point of view it is like the sirens in Greek mythology – it just lures you and reels you in. Unless, of course, you have an established purpose and know “who you are.”

To clarify—please know that I of all people have no problem whatsoever with the attainment of all the successes that life has to offer, but it has to be earned before you collect. In fact, I have dedicated my life to helping Chiropractors achieve extraordinary levels of personal, as well as professional, success. In large measure, it comes from standing up for and believing in a higher purpose and of adherence to the Principle that gives credence to our very existence as Chiropractors.

It’s Very Confusing 

What about that principle? What about our philosophy? What is it that keeps Chiropractors apart? Why do our colleges teach different theories—some orthodox, some conservative and some reformed?

Why does one faction of our profession practice acute care (get the patient out of pain and release them), treat patients for less than 12 visits as suggested by third-party payers (regardless of how chronic a condition may be) and then release them from their care, while others teach a wellness paradigm – saying that Chiropractic is not just for pain relief, it is not the practice of medicine, it is for helping patients regain their health, then maintain their health and then even preventing future dis-ease? Confusing to us, and unintelligible to others!

The tragic side of the picture is that dissatisfied Chiropractors, always pointing the finger at the other guy, colleges, organizations and individual DCs, who each “want to be right” steadfastly stay that way despite the current state of our profession.

College enrollment is dramatically down over the last few years; only a small percentage of Chiropractors belong to one of the three national political associations, and worse yet, the great majority of our colleagues struggle in practice, do not enjoy successful practices and as a result do not make a professional living.

Solidarity, Harmony & Unity

Yet, year after year, NO ONE is willing to change. Few actually realize that the only future we have is maintaining Chiropractic as a separate and distinct healing art – of solidarity, harmony and unity in our profession. Thinking the way we think, doing the same old thing in the same old way and maintaining the status quo is not working!

Ultimately, YOU are the source of light. Without YOU, nothing will happen! You can no longer sit back and wait for someone else to right the wrongs – they have no interest in that. They are only interested in maintaining their offices (at a survival level), being right and staying segregated.

It is amazing to me that after 45 years in this profession, hope still lives and breathes inside me, even though I am terribly disappointed in the actions of those who live in fear, embrace mediocrity, and huddle with the naysayers of the profession. I say that we must eliminate fear from the hearts and minds of every Chiropractor and turn them back toward their original purpose. That purpose is taught and re-enforced daily, monthly and quarterly at The Masters Circle – Chiropractic principle side by side with clinical competence and superior practice building and leadership skills – the “Triune of Success.”

We must become active, out in front of the crowd, advocates and work to eliminate all the self-serving and fear-directed leaders from their positions of power within the profession. Instead, let’s vote for change, for putting truly successful and focused practitioners at the helm – doctors who have a bigger vision for our profession. We rejoice in supporting Chiropractors who care about ethics, who care about restoring health, who care about emptying hospitals, who are rewarded based upon rendering outstanding service at affordable fees.

In Conclusion

We must elevate Chiropractic and the individual Chiropractor to a position of high esteem in the healing arts by becoming clinically competent, organized, well dressed, articulate professionals, who radiate professionalism and health in everything we do.

After all, “There Is a Cause for Every Effect.”