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Tools in a toolbox

When I was in college and had no money, I had a very interesting toolbox. My toolbox was an old shoebox that contained a hammer, a flathead screwdriver with a small head (so it would fit in some Phillips-head screws), duct tape, and Elmer’s glue. I didn't have much mechanical knowledge, but those tools were able to help me with a lot of mechanical issues. The biggest tool I had was my hammer. If a thing did not work right, I would drag out the hammer and beat on it for a while. That would usually loosen things up enough for the screwdriver to work, and if it broke, the glue or tape would put it back together.

Chiropractors have a toolbox of technics they can use to treat their patients. Years ago, like it was when I was in college, the chiropractors had a limited number of tools at their disposal. They had things like ultrasound, electric stimulation, or traction tables, but their biggest tool was the chiropractic adjustment. That tool was their “hammer”.

Over time chiropractors became very adept at using their “hammer” and even developed a couple of specialty technics (specialty hammers). Chiropractors utilized special tables that would move and assist the adjustment. They even developed hand tools that helped deliver the adjustment. The thing is that these tools were just modifications of the hammer. It was kind of like having a claw hammer, a ball peen hammer, a tack hammer, and a sledgehammer. The hammer was the big tool in the box and chiropractors wanted to use that tool no matter what.

Chiropractors became so adept at using their only tool in the toolbox that their patients came to depend on and ask for that tool. Patients would come to the chiropractic office and ask the chiropractor to adjust them and then they would tell the chiropractor they would come back when the patient felt they needed to be hammered back into place.

The newer chiropractors were starting to learn that the vertebra being mis-aligned or “out of place” was not the cause for all of the patients’ problems. There was also that pesky reason for the problem of the recurring vertebral misalignment. Patients would ask why the vertebra would go “out of place” so easily or why would they have to come back to get “put back in” so often. The newer chiropractors were beginning to understand that the vertebral subluxation correction (the hammer) was the very best tool there is for pain relief. This is why people initially went to chiropractors. The patient had pain, would get adjusted, and the pain would go away. In the beginning everyone liked that. The big hammer worked!

But when the news that there were other things that needed treatment along with the vertebral misalignment came as a shock to the chiropractors, but you can imagine how the patients felt! The patient would go to the new chiropractor and expect him or her to pull out the big hammer and fix things. When the new chiropractor explained that there was more going on and that the treatment would require use of other tools, the patients were stunned and often refused to try the other tools in the chiropractor’s toolbox.

Thanks to my son being in the chiropractic college I have been exposed to the newer way of thinking. I have been taught about some of the new technics and how to use them properly. The interesting thing is that these new technics are based in science. To offer full transparency, many of these tools were developed for the world class athletes so the athletes could get back out on the field faster after injuries. Regardless of where these technics originated, I have seen that they work and that there are research studies to prove it. That is why I have, after all these years, gotten a new and larger toolbox! Yes, I still have my trusty shoebox of mechanical tools, but I have a big new toolbox for use on my chiropractic patients.

Some of the tools that I now use, help me alleviate my patients’ pain faster, but also allow me to repair the tissues that the patient had that were not working properly. It is the malfunction of those tissues more often than the vertebra “being out” that causes the problem. It turns out that the vertebra being misaligned is being caused by the tissue that broke, not the other way around. This means that I was using a hammer when I should have been using duct tape and the screwdriver.

I hope my analogy through this blog helps you take a new look at chiropractic and the new toolbox full of tools. Chiropractic is now designed and prepared to offer faster relief, longer lasting relief, and most importantly a return of activities that may have been lost due to that broken and painful tissue. I humbly ask you, if you haven’t already, come in to visit us with your problem and let us use all of the tools at our disposal.

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