Patient Education

Last night, I spoke at our weekly New Patient Orientation Class. What I realize every time I give the class, is that there is a profound lack of knowledge in the general public about Chiropractic and Doctors of Chiropractic. Whose fault is this? Certainly not the patient. They just want to feel better. The finger points squarely at us. The doctors and staff of chiropractic clinics. Ask a typical person what they think about Chiropractors and you’ll get a ton of different answers but usually nothing definitive other than “they pop backs.” Our class is designed so that patients not only know what we do, but why we do it and how that makes them achieve health. As a professor of mine in school once said, ” You have to give them a reason to think you’re more than just a glorified wrestler.” What I have found since we started doing these classes over a year ago, is that patients get more satisfaction from their care, they understand their condition better, and are better able to relate what we do to their family and friends. Ask someone what a dermatologist does or a dentist. That person can probably say several sentences on the finer points of both professions. Unless we make a concerted effort to educate patients on the benefits of chiropractic care, we’ll always be relegated to second class status and sometimes open disdain. What I try to impress upon my patients are these 4 things. 1. We’re extremely safe. No matter what anyone says, we rarely hurt anyone and even more rarely kill someone. The New England Journal of Medicine has stated that over 180,000 people are killed each year from medical errors. Believe me, if DC’s killed just 180 people per year, we’d all be run out of town. 2. We’re extremely effective. For low back pain, study after study shows we have better patient satisfaction. 3. We’re very cost effective. Sometime do some asking around about medical procedures. Ask how much a steroid injection costs. One procedure is the same price as 12 weeks worth of typical care in my office. and finally, #4. How healthy you are is mostly dependent upon how well you treat yourself. If you don’t work at making yourself healthy, no one else can do it for you. Do patients know this? Rarely. Do your patients know this? Ask them. See if they do. If your a patient reading this. Does your doctor of chiropractic explain these things? If not. Ask him or her why not. Or find someone who will.

Certified Kennedy Decompression Technique

In November 2007, I received my certification in Decompression Therapy. Having done the Non -Surgical disc decompression for approximately 18 months and seeing good but not great results, I realized that I may need more training than the standard Chattanooga training on the DTS. Dr. Kennedy’s course is a condensed version of his 20 years of using this therapy on disc patients. Simply put, it made me much more effective in not only identifying who would benefit from the Decompression therapy, but also who wouldn’t and what might help the other types of patients. His course laid bare some of the failures of the Chiropractic dogma as it relates to treating most cases with only manipulation. It’s a fact, not every patient benefits from the adjustment. No matter your philosophical leanings, every DC has had cases that absolutely did not respond to adjustments. Dr. Kennedy reveals why certain patients are like this and what would best benefit. He also explained why all the hype from different Decompression table companies such as the DRX 9000, Chattanooga DTS, Vax D, et. al. is simply fluff. People “drink the kool-aid” as he puts it. The table is not magic. There’s no hocus pocus or space age technology. The tables are just vastly different in price but not in function. The difference is the skill of the Doctor. The classification of the patient regarding disc compression, motion disorders, facet syndrome, core instability or a combination of the whole bunch is essential to getting patients out of pain. Since taking the course and becoming certified, I’ve become a better clinician with better outcomes and better patient satisfaction. I’ve become more confident that when I put a patient with a disc problem on the table, they are going to see results. Not every time of course, but much more often than previous. I’ve seen the greatest results in severe headache pain with a referred pain into the shoulder or rhomboid area. I’ve dealt with these patients for years with limited success. Since November, I’ve had 10 patients or so with debilitating headaches and severe neck pain and pain in the shoulder blade area have almost complete resolution in pain after 1 treatment. This relief lasts for a day or 2 initially, but, after a series of treatments, relief has been measured months. Surprisingly enough, the majority of these patients have not received any chiropractic adjustments. Their problem isn’t a chiropractic subluxation problem. It’s a disc compression syndrome that, once treated properly, responds very quickly and efficiently.