Current State of San Diego Chiropractic

In San Diego today, there is probably the highest concentration of chiropractors to individuals of just about any place on the planet. It is an interesting state because there are many, many people, but there is a high ratio of chiropractors to individuals.

One would think then that the chiropractors of San Diego would be doing everything they possibly could to maximize the percentage of the population who comes under chiropractic care. The interesting thing is that doesn’t actually take place, at least for the majority of the chiropractors.

There’s two main things that I see missing from them. Number one, even with the ratio of so many chiropractors to people here, the number of chiropractors who go out to actively do education and promotional campaigns, to attract these people who have never been into the chiropractors office and to educate them about chiropractic is actually quite low.

I find it’s a very small percentage of the chiropractic offices who do things on an ongoing regular basis to reach out to educate the population about the almost miraculous benefits that chiropractic can provide in their life, over their lifetime. Most patients have been so brainwashed in terms of the benefits of pharmaceutical drugs for getting rid of their symptoms, that it takes a tremendous amount of education to get them to really understand that health means your body is functioning properly in all areas and at all levels, and that mealy feeling good is not necessarily and indication of being healthy.

In fact many times the people I have met who had the most serious diseases such as cancer, stoke, heart attack, immediately before they were diagnosed with their diseases were actually feeling fine. We have one patient who had gone in for a mammogram and her doctor had told her she was completely healthy, absolutely nothing wrong, and six months later she had breast cancer that had spread out of the breast area and into other parts of her body and it almost killed her.

Needless to say feeling good does not necessarily mean you are healthy, and the more testing you could do of valid health indicators, assuming of course that they are low cost, the much safer it is for the individual. That’s why things like pap smears and mammograms and also having a chiropractor check you spine on a regular basis are so vital to making sure you are healthy. I know my dentist Dr. Steven Schneider in Poway has me come back at least every six months to have my teeth checked. When I really pinned him down on it he said if I am able to afford it, it is even healthier to get checked out more often especially if you teeth are prone to decay like mine are.

So needless to say chiropractors need to educate patients not just about chiropractic but also about the importance of getting their health checked in objective measurable ways as opposed to simply judging their health by the way they feel. This is where I also see many chiropractic offices in San Diego come way below the target on this because they’ll do either no education, very little education. If they do educate their patients they educate them about important things such as nutrition and exercise, but when checking the patients I find out the patient’s still don’t even understand the absolute basics of chiropractic. That’s true for the majority of San Diego chiropractic offices that I have seen.

A good way a chiropractor can test if his patients actually understand chiropractic, or a way that you can check to see if you actually understand chiropractic, see if you can out loud actually answer these questions: What is chiropractic?
What is a subluxation?
Other than going by how I feel,
which is an unreliable measurement of health,
how do I know if I need to go to the chiropractor or not?
If I am going to a chiropractor intensively, how do I know when I am done?
If I am being treated for something such as a car accident injury or an automobile injury and the doctor wants to see me intensively, how do I know when I have been seen enough?
Can you describe what a nerve is?
Can you describe what a cell is?
Can you give a simple definition of what a symptom is or what a disease is?
If you find that either yourself or if you find your patients failed to easily answer these simple questions, then your patients haven’t been educated enough about chiropractic.

This became such an issue in my office, that I went out of my way to create a book, which you can find on this website. It’s called What You Need to Know, and it was written as my gift to the entire population of the world as a way for people to learn more about chiropractic.

It more than any other educational material that I have ever seen can take someone who knows nothing about chiropractic and let them sit down for 10 or 20 minutes and if they really studied it and really understand what’s in the book, they have a deeper understanding of chiropractic than almost any other non-chiropractor that I have ever met.

Of course at our office we also use the patient progress graph developed by the greatest chiropractic educator that has ever lived, Dr. David Singer. What this graph allows us to do is to judge our patients progress, not by how they feel but by the changes in their body that are actually measurable by a good chiropractor. Real simply it’s a graph. It doesn’t go by how a patient feels but instead measures the progress over time of the changes in their bones and what’s stuck and what’s moving and how their posture is coming along and graphs it over time. Any human being be it a patient and insurance company or another chiropractor can simply look at the graph and check it.

If the graph is going up the patient is getting better chiropractically, if the graph is going down the patient is getting worse chiropractically. If the graph is flattened out at a higher level than they started then that means that using the techniques that the chiropractor is using and with the patient, doing the things that they are currently doing in their life the patient has reached the maximum possible improvement.

I have found after working on so many thousands of patients over the past 15 years, that it is simply not possible for a chiropractor to only go by how a patient feels, and make any kind of an accurate estimate on what’s happening to the structure of a patients spine.

It would be like judging a dogs health by how much it is barking. If a dog is barking a lot it does not necessarily mean a dog is sick, it may be very healthy. If a dog is very quiet it may be very healthy but it may also be very sick.

I have found that chiropractors who take written notes in their files of what bones were out of alignment and stuck on each visit also have great difficulty in determining if a patient has reached maximum improvement.

In my mind, and I believe in the mind of most people, if they simply look at a lot of data written down in numbers and symbols on a piece of paper they cannot make a good estimation over time of whether things are improving or not, unless that information is put into the form of a graph.

I found that with my stocks, if I simply look at a list of the prices they have been at I can’t easily see how they are doing over time. If I make it into a graph the information becomes much clearer.

Now it’s not just the chiropractors I’m criticizing, it’s also the medical doctors. I have often heard of medical doctors by and large asking their patients how they were feeling. What I would love to see would be a medical doctor do an overall assessment of my health numerically and then recheck it periodically and to see how each of those findings were improving over time. Instead they usually just look the one thing that might be wrong with the person at the moment which is within a dangerous range, such as high blood pressure, or some other test being off. Instead they can keep track of all findings in the normal range as well as those things in the abnormal ranges. This way when some finding begins to get a little worse, the person may have the chance to correct some aspect of their health before a serious illness sets in.

So if you have a chiropractor tell your chiropractor that you want him to go out and meet more people to help them. There are still about 95% of the people in San Diego who don’t regularly go to chiropractors. And also if you are a chiropractic patient demand from your chiropractor that he takes the time to help you fully understand chiropractic inside and out, and not just glossing over it at a superficial level regarding how you feel.

Bottom line, find a good chiropractor and ask them to teach you all you need to know about chiropractic, and ask your medical doctor to measure your health using objective findings, and not just to go by how you feel.

Little disclaimer, ask your doctor before acting on this or any other medical advice.

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