Being a Professional Chiropractor

by Dr. Adam Tanase, D.C.

What does being a “Professional Chiropractor” mean to you? Is it merely passing the national board exam? Getting your name scribed in calligraphy on a fancy sheet of parchment paper? Having the freedom to provide an unsupervised adjustment? Getting 40% off Select Comfort airbeds?

It is my belief that being a professional chiropractor involves holding yourself to the highest regard and honing your skills towards achieving an Olympic caliber of success. Are your current results good enough to bring home the Gold? How about the Silver? Maybe the Bronze? Perhaps just an Honorable Mention? Results matter.

Results improve when you respect the work you’re doing. The degree in which you respect yourself and your chiropractic skills are directly proportional to the amount of respect your patients and the public have for you. So, to what degree do you respect yourself? It’s a biting question.

Many doctors gauge self-respect and self-worth based on their PVA. If they have a high PVA (patient visit average), then they believe they’re doing really well. But if their PVA is low, then they must really need help. PVA might be a reliable tool for measuring business performance, but it’s an absurd indicator of self-worth, success or professionalism. It’s an inane number that has no significance to whether or not you’re effectively correcting subluxation. Think about it… practice management groups are encouraging the profession to measure how long a patient stays with you before dropping out… Does that happen in your practice often enough that you have to keep tabs on it?

upper cervical spinal vertebrae educationA better question to ask is, how many REFERRALS are you getting? That’s a much more accurate number to gauge the success of your practice. It’s a reflection of the things going on inside you. When there’s a mess of contradiction in your life, coupled with low self-worth, your practice and it’s lack of referrals will be a reflection of this…

Might I propose a different number – your “OVA” – Office Visit : Adjustment ratio.

Based on how many times a patient sees you, how often are you adjusting them? If they’re scheduled four times per month, do you adjust them all four times? If they’re scheduled 12 times per month, did you give 12 adjustments? If you have 100 regular office visits today, are you going to adjust each and every one of these people, simply because they showed up?

You’re not running a massage parlor or day spa, doctor. The 1:1 OVA ratio suggests you might be over-adjusting.

The OVA concept is a great way to hold yourself accountable to Olympic caliber standards, and truly measure how successful you are at reducing subluxation. And isn’t that really what we’re supposed to be doing? If you adjust someone EVERY TIME they come in regardless of their individual stage of care, how do you know when to stop? If you don’t have criteria for when and when not to adjust, will you ever actually achieve your goal? Eliminating subluxation IS the goal, right?

Hearing that may really sting at first, especially since there are a lot of goodhearted subluxation-based doctors reading this right now. There’s no doubt in my mind that many of you, despite adjusting on every single visit, are getting great results. I’m not calling that into question. But I am suggesting constant and never ending self-improvement. That would entail striving to make your adjusting skills the very best they could possibly be… so good, in fact, that you’re close to making yourself obsolete.

Help your patients hold their corrections for so long that they just don’t need it the next time they come in. Is that not what we hope for our own spines – being so healthy that we simply don’t need to be adjusted?

We all know that the adjustment is powerful and life enhancing, and as much as we enjoy getting adjusted, have we forgotten that subluxations are BAD, and that the need for an adjustment indicates a neurological and mechanical disturbance? The presence of subluxation is evidence of dis-ease. I know you don’t WANT to be subluxated. And when you’re not, is it not your hope to stay that way for as long as possible?

When you adjust someone correctly, over time that subluxation should be eliminated, or at the very least, significantly reduced. Which means that just because they show up to your office that day, they might not actually need to be adjusted.

Perhaps right now you’re getting phenomenal results by adjusting someone 52+ times per year. But what if you could get the same great results adjusting patients only 26 times per year? Or instead of taking an entire year to get someone well, what if there was a way to get them better in three months instead of twelve?

I liken this to a trip to the dentist. When Dr. Mantooth, DDS says you don’t have any cavities, it’s wonderful news, right? Shouldn’t it be the same way when a patient visits their family chiropractor? What if your dentist drilled into your teeth EVERY time? And with all things being equal, if Dr. Mantooth can fix your dental problem in one visit, would you really want to go to Dr. Jones next door if it takes her two visits?

I encourage you to inform your patients about this “make myself obsolete” approach before they start care. Explain to them they won’t “have to keep coming” for the rest of their life. You’ll be AMAZED at how much respect you’ll instantly gain by shattering that preconceived notion for them.

Of course, you and I both know that the benefits of chiropractic care should be enjoyed for a lifetime. However, too many doctors forget – it’s the patient’s choice! When you force your values upon them, you’re asking for rejection. But if you do a good job educating them on what a nervous system free of interference will do for their quality of living, they’ll recognize the necessity all on their own, and freely choose to come in for the rest of their life. Who wouldn’t?

No gimmicks or mind tricks, and no high pressure “selling” necessary. What a concept!

But here’s the crux of my message. It doesn’t stop with the education. You have to DEMONSTRATE all this by proving to them they’re actually getting better! But how could they be getting any better if you adjust them over and over again every single time they schedule an appointment? Is it really that surprising to you that so many people scorn chiropractic?

That’s why my newfangled OVA can be so enlightening. It’s a measure of your own talent, clinical skill and success at doing what it is you say you’re doing.

For your first ten patients tomorrow, try this: Instead of punching every bone in the spine, adjust ONE bone… Any bone – you pick. Palpate the spine; use your thermography, measure their leg length, or whatever objective criteria you use to evaluate subluxation, and only adjust one spot… then tell them the rest of their spine looks good, that they’re making great progress, and that’s all that needs to be done for the day.

And by all means, skip the E-stim, hot packs and traction. Bypass the shiatsu rubdown, the acupuncture, the laser hair removal, and the ionic footbath… I know it may be hard for some of you, but it’s just an experiment on ten patients – you’ll live (and so will they).

Then see what happens… Listen to their comments. Have your staff tell you what they said at the front desk. Trust me on this – it’ll be a shocking revelation, and might just turn your practice right side up.

There’s no better time than right now to start being a Professional Chiropractor.

Warm wishes,
Dr. Adam Tanase


Dr. Tanase is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor from St. Louis, MO.

Principled Chiropractors Correct Subluxation
is also authored by Dr. Tanase.

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