A Chiropractic patient's care is much like being responsible for an egg. Break it now for immediate gratification (desire immediate pain relief) or care for it until it hatches (seeing spinal care to its completion); and finally nurturing the life until maturity (as in adopting a lifetime natural wellness philosophy). Patients avail of chiropractic care under three different philosophies crudely described above so the question is: “Which group do you fit into?” And since we are talking about eggs, and there is one common denominator all chiropractic patients must have, they must have a spine; Interestingly enough, some chiropractic patients do hatch from an egg.
Bet you did not know that, so yes there are veterinary chiropractors. In fact there are chiropractors that specialize in pediatriciatrics, others in geriatrics, and many in other patient specialty care like sports, nutrition, accident care, Radiology, Neurology and Orthopedics, just to name the more common. These specializations reflect the broad areas of service placed on the chiropractic profession by its patients. So one starts to ask the question: “Who is a chiropractic patient or who goes to the chiropractor anyway?”
As noted above, one must first have a spine to benefit from chiropractic care. Secondly, people of all ages see chiropractors, as instructed from the many specializations within the profession. In general there are three main classifications of chiropractic patients first alluded in the opening analogy. These are patients who present themselves in an acute state (pain focused), a chronic state (rehabilitation focused) or in a complex state of health challenges and the focus historically moves into preventive and wellness care. So which are you?
Pain focused patients represent about 50% of the population and with drug companies' constant barrage of “relief” advertising, this comes as no surprise. Society teachers us that symptoms like pain are bad and that relief of symptoms is how to restore your health. At least those who seek out a chiropractor for pain relief have realized the limitations of a drug-only approach and / or of their reasonable concerns over the side-effects of taking drugs. Characteristically, this patient stops care when the pain is gone, regardless of the doctor's recommendations. Others simply have poor prioritization of how and where they spend money; holding greater value to spend little on healthcare so there is more available for life's little pleasures or sadly to support their addictive behaviors.
Rehabilitative or corrective care focus is the second group of chiropractic patients. Seeing the benefits of solving a problem that tend to repeat itself or can get worse over time, they opt for spinal corrective care; representing another 40% of chiropractic patients.
For about 50% of these patients they include their rehabilitation care, having reached 85% to 95% improvement, are released from care with no specific maintenance schedule, but advised to return only if or signs and symptoms return or change.
The remaining 50% or so show closer to 65% to 80% recovery due mainly to the external physical damages from decades of chronicity or due to the severe nature of the injuries sustained. They are placed on a particular maintenance schedule for anywhere from 6 to 18 months, allowing for the slow micro tissue improvements that require more time for recovery.
There are also many lifestyle changes incorporated into this level of care because what a person does 24/7 will affect their chronic health issues. Near the end of this program of care people are then looking at how to best look forward to the future and where chiropractic fits into their healthcare decisions. The greater major opt to return as needed, if at all.
The third group of chiropractic patients are the remaining 10% to 20% that have made enough observations about life and health and have listened to advance their personal philosophy on health, where seeing their chiropractor on a regular but infrequent program of care elect to enter into a personal relationship with their chiropractor, in a form of partnership where they are in charge of their health, but they value the input and the benefits of chiropractic care in their ongoing health care decisions. Interestingly enough, these are the minority who experience less medical doctor visits over time and are not likely to end up in a hospital, short of being hit by a bus. They also, when they relocate to another city, seek out a similarly aligned chiropractor to continue this level of personal care.
Society influences the mind-sets of Doctors of Chiropractic as well as it does their patients. Not all chiropractors value wellness care in their own lives as well as their patients.
Medicine has historically developed specializations, so it is no surprise here either that many chiropractors see themselves as specialists in spinal and nerve care; and they do not align themselves with either the acute care only nor the preventive health and life coaching styles of the wellness practitioners.
Those chiropractors who see themselves entering their profession as healers or doctors with a sense of whole or holistic responsibility tend to gravitate into the “life-time” care for theirselves and their patients. It is hard to estimate but this latter is the smaller group of chiropractors who see themselves as caring doctors; whereas the specialists see themselves as highly trained practitioners and the acute focused chiropractors as therapists. These are all valued choices as they meet the different needs of the patients in their communities.
Chiropractors come in all shapes and sizes as do their patients, as well as all age groups and fields of work, from students to the aged and retired. If you have not had your spell checked and you live in Canada, USA or Australia you are in the minority as there is an adequate availability of chiropractors in your communities. If you live in other parts of the world, you would be fortunately indeed to find a chiropractor near you and you should definitely avail of their professional services. Come with an open mind to the special focus that comes from a non-drug, non-surgical, holistic, naturalistic and vitalistic practiceer. It is to your advantage that this profession exists.