8.21.2013

Chiropractic Career Possibilities

In the last few months I've been considering a few different possibilities for a future career change. One that's really been sticking in my head is the idea of becoming a chiropractor, physical therapist, or trainer someday. Because of my passion for learning about these health issues and writing this blog, I feel like it's a sign that a health career might be in my future. In addition, my experiences with seeing a chiropractor this year have made me feel like that option might be a good fit for me.

(I saw a chiropractor for the first time over the winter, and was amazed at how much she understood about so many movement-related issues. I hadn't realized I had any alignment or core strength problems, but she talked to me about the relationship between my spinal structure and my headaches, jaw-grinding, and tight pectoral muscles, and I've seen a huge improvement after working with her off and on.)


Informational visit with a chiropractor


When I was in the San Francisco bay area a couple of weeks ago I got the chance to have lunch with my sister's long time friend and chiropractor Dr. Eric Smith. Talking to him was one of the best things I could have done to help me figure out if chiropractic is right for me, and what kind of school I should consider. He's been a chiropractor for more than 20 years and has a lot of strong opinions about the world of chiropractic, the way to be successful in that world, and the differing philosophies. He is what is called a "straight chiropractor," meaning that he sticks to a more strict definition of what a chiropractor is/does than other more generalized practitioners. The legal scope of practice for a chiropractor includes some massage work, nutrition guidance, and a bunch of various techniques for helping people. However, Dr. Smith feels strongly that a chiropractor should study and employ chiropractic methods, and if a patient needs massage, acupuncture, or nutrition help he will refer them to specialists in those respective fields. 

Straight vs. Meta-practor


The argument is, in essence, that by studying and employing a wide variety of techniques you dilute your overall effectiveness by not being really, really great at one thing. If someone needs chiropractic care they should go to the best chiropractor they can find, which will be the person who has specialized in and practiced that skill alone. I can see some ways that this argument can be countered, and their are certainly many people in the chiropractic field who do NOT feel the way Dr. Smith does, but it was really great to get his perspective and it had a big impact on me. Now I feel, at the very least, that I have a much better understanding of the sides of the debate and the playing field of the chiropractic profession, and I'm going to keep pursuing chiropractic as a strong option of a career I can imagine myself doing and enjoying.

Have you had experiences with a chiropractor, more general/holistic or very specialized? Which do you find more benefit from?

4 comments:

  1. I actually didn't feel helped from my chiropractic visits. I was having major back pain when my son reached about 6 months old and went to a chiropractor as sort of a last resort (well, before hard core meds-- was trying to avoid that route). Anyways, my chiropractor was a very nice man who did give me great tips on how to lift my son out of his crib and into the car seat. That was very helpful. But, I'd often leave his office in much more pain than when I came in. I head that it might happen in the first few visits, so I continued to visit. Finally I decided it was for me.

    Reasons I wasn't a fan:

    — It is expensive. Thankfully I have great insurance that covers non-traditional medicine. But, I did see the bills. One of the procedures he did every time I was there was an electronic machine that was supposed to send electricity down the spine to adjust it. Two minutes of this machine was $60. I never felt that it helped. Though, I've heard of moms swearing by the same procedure for their little ones.
    — After adjustments I'd feel pretty good walking out the door, but then after about 30 minutes I was in tears. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was this practitioner. Who knows.

    Reasons I'd rethink going in the future:

    —I've heard mothers of colic babies shout from the rooftops after bringing their infant into practitioners for adjustments. I didn't even think that was a possibility for an infant... but, it makes sense.
    — I do believe the spine is a source of a lot of problems in the human body.


    I am a pretty western gal and believe in Science and medicine... though, I believe in health and healthy lifestyle first and medicine last. If that makes sense. I'm lucky to have a doctor that is a licensed family practitioner, OB, and acupuncturist. I haven't tried acupuncture yet... but, I love that she comes to western medicine with a holistic approach. And, super duper love that if I want to try acupuncture I can and my insurance will cover it!

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  2. I should have also mentioned... he was a straight chiropractor, but had a massage therapist in his office. I thought that was a nice touch. Maybe you can own your own practice that offers nutritionist help, personal trainers, and massage therapy. Or, work for an athletic club?

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  3. Physical therapy saved my husband's knee. He had a muscle knot in his thigh that built up over a long time and it was causing his knee to have crazy pain when just doing simple things like climbing stairs. He saw half a dozen doctors and had several MRIs and no one could figure out what was wrong. He went to one (amazing) physical therapist who introduced him to a number of exercises and stretches as well as the Trigger Point roller and his knee was cured in a few weeks!

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  4. I've come a long ways since my first meeting with my chiropractor in Oshawa. It's really some amazing stuff.

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