As the old joke goes, “a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing”. The field of medicine is full of specialists. Not surprising when one considers the enormous complexity of the human body. The problem is that specializing in one aspect of the human body can result in a disconnection with the rest of the body. Even worse, given the commercial interests in healthcare, little fiefdoms can form that focus on and even protect the profit centers that come from diseases in a specific area-even if the origin and solution to those diseases come from another part of the body.
A balance has to be struck between addressing the body as the system that it is and delving into its complexity. This is a challenge I have had in my own practice. As a chiropractor I am uniquely aware of the benefits and limitations of the chiropractic adjustment. When a person comes to me in pain, my specialty is to focus on the joint misalignments and fixations that can underlie that pain. At the same time, I am very aware that many other factors are going into the issues I’m addressing. A patient’s nutritional status may be creating excessive inflammation in their body which will, in turn, ramp up the level of pain they are feeling. If they have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, that is a big underlying causative factor in their pain and dysfunction. A patient’s physical conditioning in terms of tight and/or deconditioned muscles is a huge part of why they may be experiencing pain.
My solution to this dilemma has been to focus on chiropractic almost exclusively. I will perform some soft tissue work as needed, give simple nutritional recommendations and definitely address specific exercise and stretches. Beyond that, I will refer out to the experts. I have to be aware of the need for these other experts, a massage therapist for soft tissue adhesions, a functional medicine doctor for nutritional issues, a personal trainer for someone who needs external motivation. Meanwhile as a chiropractor, I will focus on the body as a whole. This entails addressing the alignment and motion of all the joints from the occiput literally down to the toes.
I wish to provide my patients with the most complete care possible either delivered by me within the framework of chiropractic or referred out to other experts who can address the specifics of their particular fields.