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The Modern Chiropractor

Seeking A Professional

When a patient visits me for assistance in recovering from an injury, reducing pain, or in seeking health improvement, my job is to do everything in my power to meet that request.  Historically, and traditionally, patients seek out various types of health professionals to achieve the goal; And the type of professional the patient chooses is often based on previous experience, a trusted referral, or based on self-guided research.  Times are changing though; Evidence-informed practice allows the professional – regardless of their profession – to offer the patient the best, evidence-informed therapies that currently exist for the patient’s health needs – provided the therapist is aware, learned, and equipped to deliver said services.

My Approach

For example, when a patient presents to my office seeking relief from a pain and injury my approach to treating this patient is as follows:

  1. Discuss the history of the pain and injury with the patient, including all relevant context, including the health history of the patient, lifestyle (exercise, diet, work-life, etc.).
  2. Perform an examination to focus in on a specific diagnosis for the cause of the patient’s pain and injury, taking into account the potential other variables – such as other health variables that may be contributing to the current injury/pain.
  3. Discuss all relevant treatment options.

Diagnosis is key.  Without a full understanding of what the injury is, treating said injury becomes much more difficult, often takes longer, and in turn becomes more expensive.

Treatment can then take many forms.


This is where the historical context of treatment becomes relevant to this discussion.  In the classical sense, the various health providers excel at certain skill sets and their profession became known for this skill.  For example, chiropractors perform spinal manipulation, physiotherapists provide exercise rehabilitation, massage therapists provide soft tissue massage.  These classic, perhaps historical, associations cloud patient’s understanding of how the modern health provider treats a patient.

More Recently

Nowadays, there are chiropractors that still only perform spinal manipulation based on the historical context of the profession.  And, likewise, there are physiotherapists that mostly do exercise rehabilitation.  But, the trend of the modern physical health providers is to provide much more service than these historically-linked professional skills.  Sometimes the multiple skills are based on what the therapist has available in the office, and sometimes the skills are based on what the scientific evidence suggests is the right approach for the particular injury.  And, often, it’s a bit of both.

Evidence Informed

And, please note that ‘evidence-informed’ does not mean that the therapist will only do a service when there is a journal article touting its success.  Evidence-informed means the therapist is learned in the scientific approaches to treating a condition, may use some or all of these approaches, but may also blend it with his/her experience of what also tends to work.

The Historical Approach

For example, many still think that when a patient with back pain presents to a chiropractor, the only treatment option, and the one likely to occur at the visit, is spinal manipulation – otherwise known as an “adjustment” or “cracking the back”.  This is “historical” knowledge.  And, while the treatment option (spinal manipulation) was an excellent method of treating back pain in the past, and continues to offer value today (verified by science), it is not the only approach to treating back pain and, in turn, should not be the only thing you choose to do to try to remedy your back problem.

A Multi-Facted Approach

In my office, I blend various techniques to get the most efficient and lasting results as possible.  I’ll blend spinal manipulation with laser therapy, muscle release techniques, instrument assisted soft tissue techniques, exercise rehabilitation, and perhaps most importantly education.  In my opinion, this should be the standard – not the exception.

I’ve previously blogged about how your “injury” is not just one thing.  And, in turn, getting better is not achieved through one approach.  When poor biomechanics are the cause of pain or sub-optimal function, the solution is through improving the entire musculoskeletal system – not by addressing just one part of the system.  The bones, joints, nerves, muscles, and, in turn, your posture and mobility are a complex physical system.  Treat it that way.  Anything less is pulling the wool over your eyes.

Stay informed, get mobile, get healthy, and ask for help.  No one knows it all (myself included).

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