Soon after expanding our old practice, we decided it was time to replace our workhorse machine, our chiropractic office desktop PC (it didn’t just need fixing). It had, after all, been in daily use for years. Our new system had the potential to do more, faster, and to do this we added plenty of apps and software. However, suddenly the new PC started to freeze. The screen occasionally had looked like gremlins had been at work. It looked like a virus had infected it. We blamed the software people, the PC manufacturers; you name it we blamed them! So a shiny new anti-malware programme was downloaded, in the hope it would “fix” all the problems. It didn’t. In desperation we contacted a computer whizz. The person we all rely on when computers suddenly go wrong.
The guru’s name was Ollie. He patiently explained that he would need to examine the software on the PC, looking to trace the problem to one of the programs or apps we had loaded onto it. We asked him if we should download a different virus scanner, in the hope it would fix it. He explained that any additional software would at this time just make the problem worse. He needed to check the inside of the PC to identify the possible causes. He changed some settings, reset the PC and… nothing. I was hopping around: we had already lost a whole day of work, and had been forced to write all appointments and transactions down by hand. Ollie gave the PC another “adjustment”: this time it appeared to work.
I later realised that I had done with Ollie what many patients had initially done. I had asked if he could add something (a bit like a prescription) that would fix everything. I didn’t realise at that time that actually the cause was something in the computer that was interfering with the normal function. Once corrected, the PC ran normally again. From here the analogy departs. Your body is extremely unlikely to have even just a couple of “programming errors” that need fixing. Quite often your nervous system has built up so many “corrupted files” that lots of areas of your body is not functioning properly, and even your spine is moving and holding itself incorrectly: this is why we check posture and movement. Many people hope for the “quick fix” of a pill or a quick click, to remove the big flashing error sign of pain or other symptoms. If you can look at improving the way your body works though, then as the above analogy points out, with reasonable expectations we can find a better long term solution.
[With thanks to Terry A Rondberb and Timothy J Feuling, authors of Chiropractic: Compassion and Expectation, for inspiration]