The Role of Symptoms
Many chiropractors must constantly remind their patients that continually explaining their symptoms after their initial examination is not usually necessary to chiropractic care.
People are so used to going to a doctor and detailing their symptoms that they just naturally think they must tell their chiropractor. Actually, it is a practice common to more than the health field. We tell the auto mechanic what the car’s “symptoms” are. We tell the TV repairperson what the TV is doing wrong and we tell the appliance repairperson about the funny sounds coming from the refrigerator. We conclude that for someone to help us with a problem, they need to know what the symptoms are.
For most of the above people, it is necessary. There are hundreds of things that can go wrong with an automobile, a television, or a refrigerator. So the repairperson is happy for some help, even if it comes from an amateur, to set him or her in the right direction, so the problem can be found as quickly as possible.
With regards to the human body and disease, knowing your symptoms is helpful to the medical physician. There are thousands of diseases and each disease has numerous symptoms, many of which are common to different diseases. Knowing those symptoms helps the medical doctor narrow the choices so that he or she will be more likely to come up with the correct diagnosis.
But chiropractic is different. A chiropractor is not faced with the possibility of numerous diseases and there are no symptoms to what he is looking for. The chiropractor addresses vertebral subluxations. Either every one of the twenty-six segments of the spine is in its proper position or one or more of them is out of place or “subluxated.” Those are the only two choices.
Only about 12% of the nerves in your body are sensory nerves (nerves that deal with sensations like pain, heat, pressure, etc.) and only about 1/3 of that 12% deal with pain. We then realize that most subluxations do not cause any obvious symptoms.
The determination of whether you are subluxated or not can only be made following a chiropractic analysis, not just on how you feel. You see, a subluxation is not a medical entity, that is why medical doctors do not take care of them and chiropractors do.
As a professional, your chiropractor has to focus his attention on the problem that he is trained to correct, the vertebral subluxation. Subluxations decrease the ability of the human body to function as it was intended and to reach its full potential in health and every other area of life. Their correction is important and no one but a chiropractor is trained to adjust them. So the chiropractor cannot be expected to pay attention to symptoms, they are unrelated to his or her area of expertise.
As a human being and as someone who cares about your well-being, the chiropractor is not callous toward how you feel. Furthermore, your chiropractor is concerned and wants to know about any severe changes in your health, such as injuries or problems that would prevent him from adjusting your spine.
But professional attitude must take precedence over any personal feelings; otherwise he or she could not perform competently. So the chiropractor may not always “care” about your symptoms. Symptoms will not determine how your care will progress; only the presence or absence of vertebral subluxation will determine how you will be cared for in this office.
Besides the correction of your subluxations, the chiropractor is extremely concerned that you understand the chiropractic objective: to removing nerve interference and allowing the proper function of your nerve system enabling your body to work at its fullest potential.
If, for example, you do not understand that the subluxation is not related to how you feel, you may unknowingly walk around for weeks, months, or even years with interference in the vital life force, and more importantly, not do anything about it. From a chiropractic standpoint, that would be tragic.
While we love to hear that you are feeling better and that your pain(s), symptom(s), and/or disease(s) are going away or gone -- and by all means feel free to share that information with us -- just realize that it does not matter in your care.
So if your chiropractor becomes concerned about your sharing your symptoms with him, it is more than just the fact that symptoms are not helpful in locating and correcting vertebral subluxations. It is because it gives the chiropractor the impression that you really do not understand what chiropractic is about. It is not about your back, your neck, or your aches and pains. It is about your life and life being expressed to its fullest. If you as a patient offer symptoms to the chiropractor, he is concerned that you perhaps do not understand what he or she is and is not doing. A lack of understanding on the part of the patient will surely reduce the benefits that person will receive from lifetime chiropractic care, and that is the chiropractor’s greatest concern.