I am always a little surprised; shocked even, when a patient is told by another practitioner (MD, PT, Bowen Therapist, RMT, etc) to put the “Chiro stuff on hold while we work things out.” It’s not very often. In fact, it seems to be lessening a great deal. It just confuses me to be quite honest.
Why? As I mentioned in an earlier post I like to use examples wherever possible, and this area is no different. In the past I have always had patients comment about how, when assessing their spine, they would love if I could massage them. I assume it is because when doing my assessment I will be poking and prodding at areas where the overlying tissue is being aggravated by the structural shift below. My response is always more or less the same: “You don’t want a massage from me, I suck at that. You should see Lauren or Ashlee. They actually know what they are doing in that realm!” And honestly… I think that is largely how things should be handled. By the folks that know their craft the best.
What does that mean? When I have a patient come through my door I want them to be ‘clear’ and I will assess where they are not and adjust those spinal shifts accordingly. Will I give exercises and stretches where appropriate? Of course. Will I take them through a whole Physiotherapy rehabilitation program. Nope. I have a few people I recommend in Physiotherapy for that. When I have a pregnant patient in the office I will advise them on the best behaviours and exercises to their specific need; but I’m certainly not looking to deliver babies in the office! The local Midwives and Obstetricians are great at that! When it comes to Nutrition I have a pretty good grasp on the knowledge base and look to help patients where I see fit. When it is something a little more involved and I want them to get the best help possible; or when working with children on the spectrum, I will often consult and co-manage with Naturopaths in our area.
Here’s the big take home message. I don’t think in healthcare anyone benefits from trying to be THE solution for everyone. Forcing a round peg into a square hole only works to make both the hole and the peg damaged. I like to work with folks that know this truth as well. I know that not every person who comes through my door is a great Structural Chiropractic patient. I, therefore, refer to my colleagues in my own city when I think they are a better fit. As practitioners we often want to be seen as the main ‘go to’, ‘must see’, ‘guru fabuloso’ in town. But in reality… some need to get out of the way and let the patients best needs step forward into the light. I know that what I do best is detect and correct spinal shifts in the body, removing pressures on the spinal cord and nerves. Upon doing so a myriad of things may change and improve. It then comes down to whether or not that is what the person needs the most. If the answer is that they really need a good massage, I will tell them to try that, and then let me check after the fact to see where it is best to attack from there.
Thanks as always for reading! (Special shout out to Finland… apparently I’m well read in that part of Scandinavia! Who knew?) Best of all, now you all know not to ask me for a massage… That includes my wife 🙂
Dr. Matt Lindsay, DC
Aligned Chiropractic, Burlington, ON