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Lets Talk Chiropractic

So many people, including many medical professionals, do not understand what chiropractic care really entails. Like any topic, there are always misconceptions.

So lets talk about chiropractic care.

If you are unsure, afraid or skeptical, this one is for you.

So let me start off by telling you a little about my educational journey. From a very small age I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I was fascinated by the human body and absolutely obsessed with watching any type of surgery on discovery health. This was before YouTube and Google.

When I entered college, I was like most pre-med students, biology major, pre-med club, volunteering and shadowing physicians. During my Freshman year I took a required intro to philosophy class and simply fell in love with the subject. Every semester after that I took an extra philosophy class just for fun, I took political philosophy, African American philosophy, logic, epistemology, philosophy of law and on and on. I loved the debates and I loved the writing. At one point I briefly considered teaching philosophy until one of my favorite profs told it to me straight, that the job opportunities were practically non-existent in the field (which is a sad fact, and something that needs to be changed in our education system. Philosophy helps teach young adults to reason, look at facts and consider perspectives other than there own-but I'm off topic).

At the beginning of senior year while sitting down with my advisor, I discovered that I wasn't far off from a philosophy degree and one class shy of my biology requirements. A class that I put off until my last year, a class I really did not want to take. So I made my choice, and I switched my major to philosophy where I though I would spend my senior year happier. That year I wrote a paper discussing the reason behind inductive reasoning in medicine. My take being that how do we justify releasing pharmaceutical knowing that it will harm a certain percentage of the population. I received rave reviews and it was recommended that I present it a one of the schools symposiums.

It was a turning point in my education that had me considering what I always thought I wanted to do with my life. After graduation with a BS in Philosophy, I decided to take a year off of school and try to figure things out. I moved from Arkansas to California and got a job tending bar at a TGI Fridays at night. (I wore the suspenders, flipped bottles, the whole cheesy works) During the day I was continuing to study for the MCAT and two days a week I volunteered with a rehabilitation program at a local gym that helped individuals with neuromuscular disorders to help regain or maintain function. This lead me to begin doing some research on physical therapy, but it just didn't really resonate. One day while talking with my mom she asked me if I had considered chiropractic (how she knew about it I had no idea, I played so many sports as a kid and unfortunately never saw a chiropractor). But I began delving into the good and the bad opinions on chiropractic. I got many opinions, read way too much on the internet and looked at the medical research.

Here is what I discovered:

Chiropractors are one of the three primary care physicians along side of MDs and DOs. I also discovered that we would be trained and board certified in all the physio-therapies and rehabilitation that physical therapists do. I discovered that we could also do nutritional counseling and help patients improve their health through dietary and lifestyle changes. And probably most importantly, I discovered that chiropractors have one of the highest job satisfaction ratings of physicians.

Chiropractors also pay one of the lowest rates for medical malpractice. The rates are low because the treatment risk is low.

Additionally, I felt relieved that I would not have to concern myself with prescribing medication; I had recently lost someone due to an addiction which began with prescription drugs. It seemed to be the perfect combination of my philosophical beliefs regarding healthcare, my fascination with the human body and being able to help others. In the next few months I shadowed a few local chiropractors, received my first adjustment, and toured a couple schools.

That following summer, I decided to apply to Palmer Chiropractic College in San Jose.

Why did I tell you this long-winded story you ask?

Often in the presence of other medical professionals, chiropractors are considered to be less than. It is also often believed that we chose chiropractic because we couldn't get in to traditional medical school. This is not the case.

I went to school with incredible people. Olympic athletes that had a chiropractor change their life. People who had a chiropractor keep them from having an unnecessary surgery and inspired them to want to do the same. My chiropractic peers consisted of insanely intelligent, driven and competitive students.

Stress level during school was also very high, classes were VERY hard, and my cohort lost quite a few students within the first two quarters. It was not an easy road. I received my first and only D on my first anatomy lab midterm, taught my a Chinese MD who was notorious for pinning the most difficult structures on the cadavers. I quickly had to relearn how to study.

In our later quarters we had to pass four national board exams as well physiotherapy boards, while taking normal class loads, treating real patients in clinic, doing internships, and more.

And Did you know that

MDs take a total of 4800 educational hours

DOs take a total of 4665 educational hours

DPTs take a total of 3870 education hours

DCs (doctor of chiropractic) take a total of 4620 educational hours. That is just 45 hours shy of the DOs who have to learn pharmacology and surgical procedures.

That's also 750 more hours that DPTs. And did you know that you do not need a referral to treat with us and we are board certified in physiotherapy (which means all the things PTs do).

DCs also take more hours in nutrition. Meaning we are well equipped to help patients with nutritional counseling.

There were additional learning opportunities as well. Once you are able to treat patients you could apply to some amazing internships available within collegiate athletic departments (I accepted one at St. Mary's College which was so much fun!) as well as the VA hospitals.

We also were required to do community outreach and providing treatment to elderly nursing home residents and the homeless.

After graduation there are also a number of diplomat programs in radiology, obstetrics, pediatrics, sports medicine, geriatrics and more, which range from 2 years to 4 years of additional schooling.

And competition is fierce.

The philosophy behind chiropractic treatment is essentially identical to that of a DOs.

We believe that:

1) the musculoskeletal system plays a vital role in health and disease.

2) That if properly stimulated, the body contains all of the elements needed to maintain health.

And 3) that you can correct the problems in the body's structure through manual technique (aka the cracks which DO's call "osteopathic manipulative medicine" and DC's call the "adjustment").

Yet DOs are essentially interchangeable to MDs in the eyes of most.

So why is it that chiropractors are often treated like the pariahs of the medical community?

Why do people fear treatment with a chiropractor?

Yet many do not afraid to take a new medication, go to physical therapy or see a DO.

The only difference in how we practice is that we do not perform surgery nor prescribe medications. Which the majority of healthy people do not need.

So the bottom line is this.

As a chiropractor my goal is to examine, find and diagnose the true cause of a patients' symptoms, create a plan that will ultimately correct the issue (not just mask the them) and educate the patient on how to prevent the problem from coming back.

Its really that simple.

And yes, this often takes some time and multiple treatments, just like physical therapy would. Like any change, it is all about consistency. Nothing happens over night and unfortunately there is no magic pill that is going to instantaneously correct a health issue. It takes time, effort and commitment to getting better. We only get the one body, shouldn't we take better care of it?

If you tune up your car or get your teeth cleaned, why would you not want to take the same care of your skeleton and your muscles. We are so hard on our bodies, it does not seem to be an extreme idea that you would care for your spine, the home of your nervous system, as you would your car.

Plus, if you are afraid or do not like the "crack" or "pop", chiropractors are trained in numerous techniques that achieve the same goals without the sound.

Lastly, chiropractic care can not cure cancer. It can not cure any systemic disease. If someone tells you this, they are absolutely wrong.

And obviously there is a time and place for medication and surgery. Both can provide miraculous, life saving treatment when warranted. I in no way aim to knock that or any other medical profession.

But, if you have back or neck pain, extremity pain, a repetitive use injury, headaches, sports injury, want to improve athletic performance or correct a muscle imbalance, chiropractic care can do incredible things.

We would love to surpass your expectations.

Give chiropractic a try!

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