By Rodney Sparks, D.C.
Recently I was invited on the local news to do a 5-minute health segment. I considered how and what I could talk about in that short of a time period, and I realized that all I needed to do was just tell the story! The first thing I told the news anchor is that I would shock and amaze the audience when I told them that chiropractic was not a treatment for stiff necks and sore backs. Now I know this already gives me away as a straight chiropractor, but I just had to tell the story. The anchor looked at me and said, “Yeah, that’s right. It’s about wellness, right?” I was stunned. I knew I had found a platform that I could educate the public about the wonderful benefits of staying unsubluxated.
When we went on the air, the news anchor introduced me and said I was here to clear up some of the misconceptions about chiropractic. I immediately began to explain how chiropractic was not a neck ache or back ache profession, that it was the only profession that sought to increase the health potential as well as the life potential of everybody including those who did not have any symptoms at all. I even got the chance to use the “S” word. That’s right, subluxations. I talked of how any activity, not just health, can be improved by keeping the nervous system free from nerve interference by chiropractic adjustments over a lifetime, and not just going to a chiropractor for your aches and pains but for enhancing all of your life functions.
After my fiery opening, the calls began to come in from the audience. You can only imagine that the first question was about back pain. After that beautiful discourse on subluxations and the raising of life potentials, how could my first encounter be about backaches? Well, I again reiterated how chiropractic looks to remove interference from the nervous system to allow the body to function at 100% of its god-given potential, and not at treating symptoms. I informed the caller to began chiropractic to first increase his health potential and allow his body to do the healing and then see if he needed some kind of back ache treatment. The anchor was thoroughly impressed, and concurred in my conclusion that everyone needs to be under care regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
Now to some of you the thought of telling people that chiropractic is not for backaches may be a little scary. The first time I heard it was during Reggie Gold’s “Chemistry of Life” lay lecture, and it felt so liberating. I ran around my office telling all of my patients what I had been thinking but could not say. In my own lay lecture I began to open with just those words, and then tell the story. This one concept has shifted patients away from symptoms and more toward wellness. By telling the story with clarity and purpose, and not watering it down to soothe a patients perceived needs, I have been able to increase my PVA’s, my cash to insurance ratio has totally reversed to where a very minimal amount of my collections come from insurance.
As for my television experiencing, it may not have changed my community if one fell swoop, but I have received calls from many chiropractors in my area thanking me for saying what they have always wanted to say. By putting this information out into the community, I know it will come back to me ten fold. It will also go a long way toward creating a community of wellness patients and wellness families who will now choose chiropractic as part of their lifestyle and not their ache and pain relief. It also shows that we have a long way to go to change the perception of chiropractic in the public’s eye. By telling the story, without fear or compromise, all chiropractors can stand on the rock of solid intent. Our confidence in portraying the message will be backed-up by thousands.
Now I am not expecting those who believe that chiropractic is a backache profession to align with this message. Nor am I expecting to change them in any way. I do believe that there are many chiropractors that feel just as I do and would be keen on disseminating the story to the public and those in their practice. To them I say “Tell The Story.” You will still have plenty of work ahead to create that shift in the new patients that enter your office, but in time your message will become so congruent that patients will actually call in for wellness. I know because it has already happened to me.
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