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Chiropractic Success: Back to the Basics

Posted on May 11th, 2010 by Dr. James

A few weeks ago I had a new chiropractic patient return for her 2nd visit and she was elated.  She had suffered with headaches and neck pain for 10 years.  Medications and her MD offered little relief. Now before you roll your eyes and dismiss this as another chiropractic “miracle story”, read on.  Chiropractic did help, but it’s not even the point of my little story.

After a routine supine diversified occiput adjustment she was already experiencing relief from her symptoms. Her neck pain and headache were gone, but to my surprise it wasn’t the main reason for her happiness.

She was just as pleased to see improvement in her condition as I was, but she kept raving about something else. She continually commented on how happy she was to finally have a health care provider listen to her and treat her like a person.

She spoke of how she was brushed off and swept away from MD to MD to specialist in the past.  She expressed her disgust with being treated more as a dollar sign, or object, than a person by many other health care providers.

She complained of being greeted at most providers’ offices with “Do you have your co-payment today?”   She also expressed the reluctance with which she sought chiropractic care. (It seems her friends and family members had encountered chiropractic salesmen in the past who were preoccupied with high pressure sales of lifetime care and supplements).

She thanked me for listening, for a no pressure chiropractic practice, and for my straightforward approach.  It was then I started to realize we sometimes take the little things for granted in Chiropractic.  What has the world become when patients are pleasantly surprised when they are treated fairly and with the respect they deserve?

I’m known for being fair and honest with my patients.  It’s not a marketing tactic; I do it because I vowed a long time ago to treat my patients as I’d want my family members treated. During our initial meeting and report of findings I tell every patient that I have no idea whether or not Chiropractic will help relieve their symptoms.  I believe in Chiropractic; I’m just not as concerned with chasing symptoms as most patients are.  I tell each patient that there is always a benefit to Chiropractic care, but it’s not always the solution they may be seeking.

I believe in Chiropractic and my abilities.  I’m also realistic and respectful of my limitations and the limitations of Chiropractic care.  I’m not shy about getting a patient the help they need, even if it hurts my checking account.  If I feel a patient would be better served by co-care with another type of provider I’ll happily refer them out.  In very rare cases a patient just isn’t a candidate for chiropractic care.  I am not afraid to admit that and send the patient on their way to the help they need.

We see so many advertisements for how to get and keep new chiropractic patients, how to “explode” our practice, and how to increase our bottom line that it can knock us off course.  We can forget how powerful things as basic as our attitude or  approach to Chiropractic can be.  It’s amazing how important a follow up phone call, an extra 5 minutes, or a caring ear can be to a patient.

Chiropractic is not about dollar signs, lifetime care, or a million dollar practice.  It’s about the patient and their best interests. Many times that is chiropractic care…and sometimes it’s not. Our priorities should always be the patient first, then the Chiropractic profession, and then our practice.  I approach Chiropractic with this attitude and it’s great to be reminded that patients do see it and respect it.

Keep ethics, honesty, and the best interests of your patients as your main motivation. They really are the best Chiropractic marketing tools you can invest in.  The proof lies in the fact that this patient has already referred a friend and family member, not because I got her out of pain but simply because I listened and treated her with the respect she deserves.  Listen to your patients, do what’s best for them, and they will reward you monetarily and otherwise.

I hope this little reminder serves you well.  We all need to be reminded from time to time to slow things down and focus on the basics.  The key to your chiropractic success may not be in a $800 seminar or $4,000 new patient referral marketing program. The key to your chiropractic success might be as simple as providing quality chiropractic care and treating the patient like you’d want to be treated!

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