Chiropractors Adjust to Health-Care Trends

Are you interested in treating people without the use of drugs or surgery? Chiropractors offer a more natural form of treatment for muscular and skeletal disorders. And more and more North Americans are ready to use their services.

There are several factors fuelling this growth. These include the increasing acceptance of chiropractors as valuable members of the health-care team, growing public awareness of the value of leading a healthy lifestyle, consumer demand for alternative health care, and an aging population demographic.

Also, more private medical insurers are providing funding for chiropractic services in the United States, allowing more people to have access to those services.

Chiropractic Care Growing in Acceptance

Frank Zolli is the dean of the college of chiropractic at the University of Bridgeport. "There is a growing recognition in society of a chiropractic physician's clinical expertise and the benefits of conservative chiropractic care," he says.

Maureen McCandless is director of communications for a chiropractic association. She predicts that people "will increasingly turn to chiropractic care for prevention and the coming years as the health care system continues to evolve toward multi-disciplinary teams, and as [North Americans] continue to seek out non-invasive therapies."

Who Pays?

"A recent study of 700,000 health plan members showed lower annual health-care expenditures than identical members without the chiropractic benefits," says chiropractor Frank Painter. Findings such as these are leading more and more health insurance providers to pay for chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Care as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Our society now has more desire for holistic approaches to providing medical services. There is also a growing awareness of the need for exercise and participation in sport at all levels. "There is a growing trend in society for a more natural form of care without the use of drugs or surgery," says Zolli.

Painter agrees. "The beauty of chiropractic is that we can help people without reliance on drugs or surgery."

"Chiropractic care offers a conservative, non-invasive option for treatment," adds McCandless.

Chiropractic Specializations

The growing participation of people in all levels of sport has created a demand for specialists within the chiropractic field. David Sommer operates a practice that is completely devoted to treating athletes.

"I am a sports-oriented chiropractor. I concentrate not only on adjusting patients, but the rehabilitative portion of treatment," he explains. "Patients are becoming aware that there are ways to treat injuries other than medication. They like the fact they are getting the great treatment that professional athletes get."

Sommer says that treatment for athletes has been the key factor behind the growth in his practice. McCandless confirms this trend. "Chiropractic is becoming increasingly popular among professional, amateur and recreational athletes."

Another rapidly growing area of the chiropractic field is rehabilitation. As Sommer mentioned, the demand for this can be associated with athletics. It is also associated with injuries that occur in everyday life.

Painter believes that strong growth will occur "first in the area of rehabilitation" as patients seek a more holistic treatment for their injuries.

Zolli has a broader view. "I think as more people receive chiropractic care and recognize its value, the entire field will grow."

An Aging Population

Baby boomers are getting older. "The incidence of musculoskeletal disorders increases with age, and it is expected that [the] population will increasingly seek chiropractic care," explains McCandless.

"Chiropractic care may be beneficial to patients of all ages. I do not believe any one factor impacts the demand for chiropractic services," says Zolli.

Getting Into the Field

Statistics show that chiropractors do not normally leave the field before retirement.

"I believe the practice of chiropractic is satisfying because chiropractic physicians work one-on-one with their patients," says Zolli. "As a result, the benefits of care can be seen simultaneously by the doctor and patient."

What sort of personality is best suited to the chiropractic profession? "Chiropractic physicians need to possess humanistic skills, empathy and the ability to communicate with their patients," says Zolli.

He also has some advice for future chiropractors. "Research the field. Know what kind of education is necessary to gain admittance to a chiropractic program. Desire to help people. If this is the goal of a prospective student, chiropractic can be a most satisfying career choice."


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