I had a patient referred to me by his insurance for rib pain stemming from an on-the-job injury. As part of my taking his history, he mentioned that he had chronic wrist pain after getting carpal tunnel surgery a year prior. So in addition to working on the rib pain, which is pretty straightforward chiropractically speaking, as a courtesy I started adjusting his wrist to realign those carpal bones and break up scar tissue arising from his previous surgery.
With each visit, both those areas continued to improve. On his latest visit, he mentioned to me that he had seen the orthopedist who is treating him for his rib pain. The orthopedist had expressed surprise and disapproval that the insurance had sent him to a chiropractor for treatment. According to the orthopedist, my patient should not have gone to a chiropractor for either the rib pain or the wrist pain. Which to me begs the question, then what should he see a chiropractor for – if not musculoskeletal issues. I suppose, according to this orthopedist, the answer would be nothing.
I took some satisfaction when the patient told me that he said to the orthopedist that, in fact, his rib pain and chronic wrist pain had improved significantly as a result of our chiropractic treatment. Hopefully this helped open the orthopedist’s mind about chiropractic a bit more. I asked the patient if the orthopedist was on the older side and he confirmed that he was.
I have no doubt that this orthopedist and others like him believe they are giving their patients the best advice. But I suspect they have never fully looked into chiropractic and instead are simply going by outdated stereotypes. By now, it seems most medical doctors see the value of chiropractic, at least for musculoskeletal issues. What really, really bothers me are the patients who are steered away from chiropractic by those who don’t know better. As a result, these patients will never see the benefits of chiropractic. I wonder how many patients considered chiropractic for their chronic pain only to be told by this orthopedist (and others like him) that chiropractic would not help them, thus leaving them in pain with either no other options to pursue or forced to consider more invasive measures such as surgery.