The Case for Chiropractic Collaboration

Picture the healthcare system as a grid made up of one hundred squares. Each square represents a health condition, or group of conditions commonly managed by family physicians. Within that grid twenty five squares –  one quarter of all conditions – are for musculoskeletal complaints, attended to by family physicians.

Musculoskeletal complaints include back pain, neck pain, headaches, sports injuries, workplace and motor vehicle accident claims, arthritis etc. One quarter of all visits represents a significant portion of physicians’ time, and resources.

Enter the chiropractor:

As musculoskeletal specialists, chiropractors are well positioned to help in managing such conditions. Subsequently, chiropractors can relieve some of the pressure that these conditions put on our healthcare system.

But the benefits of incorporating chiropractors to help manage musculoskeletal conditions don’t stop there.

When you decrease sore muscles and joints, it affords people the freedom to be more physically active. And regular physical activity is a fundamental requirement for good health. People who incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into their daily lives have decreased incidences of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, dementia, fatigue. These are the conditions that comprise much of the remaining seventy five percent of medical doctors’ visits. (Please note, chiropractic doesn’t claim to manage these remaining conditions – only to help improve pain and function from a musculoskeletal scope, which may have a positive impact on other health conditions.)

At present, however, only about ten to fifteen percent of the population utilizes chiropractic care. With better collaboration through government channels (Local Health Integration Networks) and healthcare administrators (Community Health Centres, Family Health Teams), coupled with grassroots initiatives to improve awareness among physicians and other allied healthcare providers, chiropractic could become a more utilised, and valuable part of our healthcare system.

Chiropractic isn’t the only option. But it is a grossly underutilized option. Education of, and collaboration with family physicians, along with other health professions (physiotherapy, massage therapy) are needed to improve the delivery, and efficiency of our healthcare system.

For more information on chiropractic care, and evidence in support of chiropractic management of musculoskeletal conditions, please follow this link to the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative.

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