Doctors of Chiropractic are not licensed to write medical prescriptions or perform surgery in the United States. Their philosophy as a natural healing profession dictates otherwise and strives to avoid the potential dangerous side effects of medications.
They rely instead on a manual method of adjusting the structure of the body in order to affect function. This approach is designed and selected to both reduce pain and stress and improve function for their patients.
The chiropractic field is based on treatment with as little use of medication as possible, and is defined by the National Chiropractic Association as ideally a “drug-free, non-surgical science.”
That said, most chiropractors recognize the efficacy of medications to relieve extreme pain in other conditions. If medication is needed, many chiropractors work closely with their patients’ medical physician to determine which medicines may be needed to reduce pain or speed the healing process. Chiropractors may recommend homeopathy or naturopathy, or provide general nutritional counseling. Ultimately, their goal is to do what is best for their patient.
New Mexico Chiropractic Legislation
One state, New Mexico, has recently passed legislation that allows some chiropractors to prescribe medicines. This legislation was considered controversial by many. On the one hand, it may be valuable to the public because the state contains many areas of low population in which the only health professionals available are chiropractors. After completing a standardized course, these so-called Advanced Practice chiropractors are allowed to prescribe medicines from a strictly regulated formulary. This program has provided access to these medicines to many residents of New Mexico who would otherwise have had to travel several hours to see a medical doctor. However, the ramifications of this policy and how it transfers to other communities is yet to be seen.
Many argue that this legislation is a diversion from the major philosophical tenet of chiropractic. Chiropractic in its purest form, is a drug-less profession focused on the self-healing capability of the body. The controversy exists in the political arena as diverging camps try to decide on the direction the profession will take.
Chiropractic and Medicine
Chiropractic care can be used in a number of ways. At its root, it is fundamentally different from medicine. It is not intended as a replacement or even an alternative to proper medical care, but instead can be used in conjunction for the best benefit to the patient.
Chiropractic care seeks to restore, improve and optimize the function of the human body. Building health should be the primary focus of every health care discipline. True health care should be utilized when one is healthy as well as when they are sick. Medicine excels in crisis care while chiropractic excels in the wellness arena.
The question remains…what is truly best for the public? If we care about health – what will promote the best health and treatment of the patients under our care.
I invite your comments…