End of Days For Chiropractic Profession?

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Is it time for chiropractors to begin marketing themselves as manual therapists in order to fit in to some medical model? Is the profession predominantly in favor of peddling muscle relaxers and other pharmaceuticals while performing colonics and doing foot baths? Have the colleges gotten so far out of touch with the rest of the industry that churning out student failures has become the primary business model? The doom and gloom train has left the station but someone forgot to send me a ticket.

Chiropractic Education for a Healthier Generation
Chiropractic Education for a Healthier Generation
Only three months in and it’s been quite a year for this hands-on (do you still use your hands?) branch of health care. The push continues for titles that include the term medicine, physician, and quite likely pharmacology and/or pharmacologist. Let’s throw phlebotomy in as well, along with colon specialist, nutritional guru, and orthopedist (sorry if I left someone out).

The medicine thing and professional inconsistencies has been going on for a long as I can remember, but the announcement that Los Angeles Chiropractor School CCCLA was closing their doors after 60 years, had me feeling part of my professional history was dying just a little bit. Then we have this prescribing hubbub in New Mexico from some individual or entity that wants to begin peddling pills to consumers and everyone goes into an uproar. And to top it off there is there’s this apparent circus going on in our educational institutions.

Are students really being ripped off with little to no education in the field they are supposed to practice in? The e-mails I receive and stuff I see posted about the industries schools (go read it for yourself) has me wondering where the schools and colleges are recruiting these filler individuals from. I use the term “filler individuals” because they’re the ones that filled the classroom while the rest got an education. You all knew they’d never amount to anything, but they qualified for loans, and in turn kept everyone’s expenses down in the process. That’s likely the case for every industry so don’t take me as harsh, just trying to be realistic.

The drug thing got defeated, subluxation docs cheered while others cried in their hydrocollator towels, but it will come up again. Seems like pharmaceuticals and prescription rights are a regular cyclic battle amongst practitioners, lawmakers, and other branches of health care. I don’t know about the rest of you, but if my practicing in one of the nation’s largest metros offers any clue, our younger generations don’t seem to have any interest in taking medications (be it over-the-counter or prescribed) unless it’s absolutely essential to their survival. Maybe we’re freaks here in Venice Beach, but they actually prefer getting adjusted (at least that’s what they tell me).

The news of Clevelands Los Angeles campus took me a little bit by surprise, and like I said I am a bit saddened, but it’s not like the signs were not on the wall. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the entire Cleveland family. Even Carl Cleveland III is way underappreciated for what he’s done and continues to do. I wouldn’t be writing this if the family hadn’t put their lives in jeopardy to serve and educate others. I’m hoping that the Los Angeles Alumni Association continues to have a presence and that the lifetime alumni plaque finds a new home.

I’ve had many thoughts about the college since news of its closing; with concerns about students, historical archives, patients being served at the clinic, and the future of the profession in its West Coast city. There’s been a conversation amongst local chiropractors visiting my office since last year, there is undoubtedly a shortage of hands-on adjusting the spine chiropractors in the city of LA. Trust me, if you want to serve a lot of people, and aren’t a complete douche bag, building a practice in Los Angeles is ripe for the picking. It’s only going to grow, especially as older practitioners continue to die (a fact of life), and current practitioners continue fumbling with manipulation gadgets and other things that keep chiropractors from actually ever touching anyone. And I’m not trying to rile up you activator folks, I’m talking about the unattended therapy practitioners, and those afraid to be more than a mechanical massage therapist.

I went back in the archives to find this piece on being a minor cog in the wheel of medicine. Dr. Sid Mouk really knows his stuff, and what he wrote about then, appears to be just as valid today. Schools that have a constipated thinking of anemia regarding potential new students haven’t seen my e-mail inbox. They’re considering a career, they e-mail me about salaries, they call my office seeking out the best schools, and by and large they want to make a difference in the world (just like some of you did or are currently doing). Hello? Does anybody actually work in the admissions department? Why are these kids calling my practice?

Don’t tell anybody, but I’m actually having a blast at what I do. It only occurred to me in January that I entered my 16th year, and it feels like it’s not even been half that (except I am getting those goofy old chiropractor calloused hands). I do miss the schooling (I don’t miss those god-awful chairs we sat in), I do miss staying up into all hours of the night chatting philosophy with students and other practitioners, but I don’t miss my student loans. Thankfully, someone taught me how to adjust the spine, and instilled a thinking in me that I should be paid for it (it’s okay by me if you want to give it away), and I’ve pretty much continued along that path. Serve a quarter million adjustments and thoughts of student loans and the cost of going to school fades long into the distance. It boggles my mind when I meet 10+ year supposedly successful practitioners that haven’t paid back their student loans, but they give 10% of their income to the church of Scientology. I’m joking, sort of, or maybe not.

Are you still reading this? Here’s a few more things. I’m hoping we can preserve some history of the profession in the city of Los Angeles. It’s not the first school to close its doors, I think there’s been three or four SoCal closures during the past hundred years (we can’t even keep a pro football team, which forces me to travel). I even discovered there was once a chiropractor school for surgery in downtown LA. I’m still researching the origins of that.

I’m not going to bitch about Southern California University of Health Sciences (my chiropractor went there and he’s about as straight as you get), I’ll openly refer students there, and I hope they get an excellent education and choose to practice in the State of California (maybe not all of them, but at least enough to replace the retiring ones). I’m also secretly excited about the new leadership at Life West, I thought that place was serving a bit too much Kool-Aid, but I think they’re going to get back on the TIC.

I still believe all prospective students should visit at least four different schools before making that choice, but I’m confident an excellent education can be had, at a greater number of institutions (even if they’re not strong on philosophy and don’t use the S word), but I’m a friggin positivity-minded fanatic. Better have some philosophical fuel in your tank if you’re going to endure 4+ years in a school of mechanized therapeutics.

Enough of my rambling, go listen to Ian Grassam and put some purpose in your life.

planetc1.com-news @ 11:32 pm | Article ID: 1300516355