This perspective first appeared in the February 2019 issue of Lifelines, the Life West student magazine. Jonathan Hooker is the editor and designer of Lifelines.
Technique is something chiropractors can take ownership of. It is their identity within the profession. Whether they adhere to a single technique or use more than one, it is a reflection of what interests them and/or what they feel helps their patients best. Everyone is unique, and this uniqueness extends to the patients as well. Just like a chiropractor has a technique or techniques that they identify with, patients also can have an affinity for a specific technique or techniques.
When you wish to help someone as effectively as possible, you want to use the best tool you can, a tool that resonates with you. It is important that you choose the right technique to care for your patient. While every technique may have the potential to benefit the majority of people placed under care, some techniques may result in a better response relative to another for a given condition, but further research needs to be done in this area. Furthermore, there are practicing chiropractors that find individuals may respond better to a specific technique over another. Whether it is down to patient preference, or even how the patient responds to a given technique, research into this area needs to be done to further investigate these anecdotal observations.
Therefore, exposure to different techniques is important because you can only practice with, or understand, the techniques you have had sufficient exposure to. Being knowledgeable about what is available will give you, the chiropractor, a better idea of what technique you would like to practice with. It will also help you better understand and know what could potentially help your patient more effectively, even if it is not a technique you practice yourself.
Previous studies have shown that students are more likely to practice a technique they were exposed to in school, especially those they are exposed to earlier on in the curriculum. This highlights why it is important to expose yourself to as many techniques as you can while in school, learning how they work and what they aim to achieve. The foundation in which they come from will drive what they aim to achieve in regard to a patient’s wellness. Alignment of this foundation in the needs and/or mindset of the patient will likely yield better outcomes.
Today it is even more important to stand out than ever before, and choosing a technique or techniques that you identity with, that suit your mindset or alignment most closely, will give you the best chance. But you also want to know about other options so you can give the best referrals, advice and care to your patients. Having a good network of chiropractors that practice a variety of techniques, including physical therapists, massage therapists, medical and osteopathic doctors, will help you to provide superior care for your patients.