Dynamic Chiropractic – March 26, 1993, Vol. 11, Issue 07

The Spirit of Chiropractic

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
What is the true spirit of chiropractic?

Is it an anti-AMA attitude?

Is it a pattern of isolationism that requires the use of a language only understood by the enlightened?

Is it some kind of magic healing ability?

Is it a spirit of entrepreneurism with chiropractic gurus preying on DCs who in turn prey on their patients?

There appears to be some confusion (or maybe we just forgot).

Please allow me to share with you how I learned about the true spirit of chiropractic. It goes back to my earliest memories. My father taught me as he had been taught by his father.

Think back to the days when chiropractors were routinely called "quacks." This is pre-Mercy, pre-RAND, pre-Wilk et al. suit, pre-third-party payer acceptance. These were the days when my father, and men and women like him, were virtual chiropractic missionaries.

Romanticize all you want about this time, it was hard.

Most of the public had no respect for chiropractic. It had been only recently (in California) that practicing chiropractic didn't mean possible arrest. No one in the profession practiced as a way to get rich: that wasn't why you were a chiropractor.

Unable to get student loans, the chiropractic students of those days lived off night jobs and meager subsistence. My father more than once told my brothers and I about surviving for a month on a case of corned beef hash. His experiences were not unique.

Back then, every other chiropractor was family. They shared the camaraderie of chiropractic. When you met a member of another DC's family, you looked into each other's eyes with a certain knowing. Their father (mother, spouse, sister, brother, son or daughter) had chosen to make a great sacrifice for mankind, just like yours had. You were related, somehow.

Then it would happen. Your family was visiting some friends or at a public gathering, and someone would complain about a problem your father could treat. And even though he had offered hundreds of times (usually free of charge), and had been rebuffed most of those times, he offered chiropractic care to that person in pain.

All the times people made rude comments didn't matter to him. This was a person who needed chiropractic care and it was his responsibility to provide it, if they would but accept.

At this point you held your breath.

Would this be another public humiliation? Or would this person receive the healing chiropractic care could offer?

Why didn't my father just care for his patients and be quiet? Why was he so willing to give? What was so important that he was willing to go through constant ridicule and disdain?

If you don't know, you shouldn't be practicing.

This is the true spirit of chiropractic care: the willingness to do whatever had to be done, in a caring and compassionate manner, and serve humanity with the great gift of chiropractic.

This is what has made this profession what it is today. Nothing else.

This is the spirit that has driven successful DCs out of their practices and into the courts. This has taken us to the halls of Congress and around the world. This is what has the medical community so frightened. They can't bottle it or put it in a pill. But researchers are confirming that we have it ("Patient Evaluations of Low Back Pain Care from Family Physicians and Chiropractors," Western Journal of Medicine, March 1989, is just one example).

It's time for a little self-examination.

Are you still a chiropractic missionary? Or are you satisfied with your status and your income? It's not about making money, it's about healing mankind.

Success has a way of polluting those who take it for granted and forget their mission.

Exercise the chiropractic spirit that comes from deep inside you. Do what you do with compassion and concern for the people you serve. Look around and see those that you can share this wonderful gift with, especially if they can't pay or have never experienced what your hands can do.

Let there never be a person on earth who didn't have the opportunity to experience the healing of chiropractic care.

That is our mission.

DMP Jr., B.S., HCD(hc)


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