What’s Up Doc ? (Part 2)

In my last blog I set a hypothetical, yet typical scene of a patient presenting to their general practitioner with back pain. Medication hasn’t helped and so now the wait for a physiotherapy appointment – only that appointment may be weeks away. Located nearby is a chiropractor – ready, willing and able. And yet the general practitioner has never mentioned seeing a chiropractor as a valid alternative. So what’s the story? Why the possible reluctance to refer to a chiropractor?

doctor workplace

Your Dr may have heard of chiropractic but is confused as to what their scope of practice is.


Firstly, it is important to understand that your doctor is responsible for your overall health and well-being. It is not a responsibility that they take lightly. Part of the problem with your doctor not considering chiropractic as a treatment option is that they do not really know what chiropractors ‘do other than anecdotal stories that arrive to them via patients. Your doctor doesn’t have the time to research what a chiropractor does – and even if they do have time, the variety of chiropractors & their approaches to healthcare just adds to confusion. Is it any wonder that your doctor will then ‘stick with what they’ve always done’?

The problem of a medical doctor referring to a chiropractor is further compounded because as a profession, chiropractic and practicing chiropractors cannot seem to agree what their scope of practice is – in other words, agree what it is that they are good at, that has scientific research to back any claims made.

The Solution?

In my mind it should be all things concerned with ‘Spine’. Chiropractors have always been excellent at treating patients with back pains. There is extensive research and evidence to suggest that chiropractic treatment is more beneficial than other modalities such as physiotherapy for treating such conditions. Think of chiropractors and you automatically think of treatments for back pains, neck pains, headaches, even possibly sciatica. It is the public that has given chiropractors the cultural authority to treat these conditions. Scientific research validating chiropractic as a speciality treatment for muscle and joint pains adds acceptable reasoning for the medical profession to refer.

Unfortunately, the chiropractic profession has yet to show any solidarity on its identity. Look on the internet and there is a wealth of information on health, well-being and chiropractic. While there are many stories that chiropractic can help with certain conditions, they are little more than anecdotal stories that perpetuate medical mistrust of the chiropractic profession. The end result is the likelihood of your doctor referring to a chiropractor becomes very remote, and the very people chiropractic treatment could help miss out…..