Heath care has what I would call disciplines. Each discipline has its strengths and weaknesses. They use different tools or modalities and treat different complaints. Many times there is overlap in their capabilities. Medicine is excellent at managing life or death situations, or in other words keeping you alive by fighting disease processes. I would however choose a dietitian for eating suggestions or a dentist for a root canal. Like foods our variety provides for many different needs. You get the idea.
To demonstrate and generalize: dentistry uses drills and amalgam, optometry uses lenses, surgery uses scalpels and lasers, medicine uses chemicals, psychiatry uses behavior and thought modification, chiropractic uses adjustments and manual therapies. There are many others, (I’m not purposely leaving you out). This is not to diminish any role, but to simplify for the purpose of making a point. Each discipline is great with it’s own set of tools, but if you ask an oncologist to deliver a baby you might be in for some surprises.
I was taught in chiropractic school how to deliver a baby and even how to identify the rash on your backside. I don’t use those things often enough to claim any ability or particular skill in that area however. It’s true I am not utilizing all of my training. I have others around me with more desire and experience at handling diabetes or blood pressure. I have the training and could prescribe lifestyle changes that can allow people to avoid, manage or even turn around those issues early. I have done in the past. However the position I am in now allows me to focus on being the best at one thing. I can focus on becoming the best adjuster around and get to know the manual therapies like no one else. I still quickly and easily give advice on some of these other topics and then refer those patients to someone who is the best at what they need. I don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades.
I appreciate the position that I am in that allows me to focus. I recognize that there are places that don’t have this luxury. A physician can be a master of many disciplines and rural chiropractors and other physicians have to at times. In places where it is possible working together instead of against each other benefits the patients and the health care industry. I hope to see the trend increase particularly in chiropractic where one chiropractor may want to treat mainly sport injuries or another surgery rehabilitation. I hope that chiropractors will refer to one another. I also hope that our fellow physicians and health practitioners will see the benefit of others and refer to the best person for the job. I’ve said before, perhaps our gate keepers need to be health referrers someone you call up who can take your history and refer you to the best person for your condition.