Patient Injured from Chiropractic Treatment

Recently two papers in Singapore, The Straits Times & TODAY, ran stories on the chiropractic industry.

If you have missed them, here they are: A bone to pick with chiropractors (The Straits Times) and Is chiropractic care all it is cracked up to be? (TODAY).

What caught my eye was the one by The Straits Times, which highlighted the story of a 66-year-old man who sustained a side injury during his treatment.

Chiropractic, A Health Care Profession

As I was reading it, I was particularly disturbed by this sentence “…told me to exchange the sessions for other services that they also offer, like massage.”

It just sets off alarm bells in my head.

What struck me was, why didn’t the patient visit a purely chiropractic focused practice?

Chiropractors are health care specialists (of the spine) and should be treated as one.

If your heart surgeon starts to offer other services like operating on your stomach, should you be concerned? Heart and stomach are both organs, aren’t they? Isn’t the more the better? Operate once and get another organ repaired too (if there’re any damage) while the surgeon’s at it.

I’m sure you are probably raising an eyebrow here. It’s not a good analogy but I just want to make a point. We’re more cautious if we deal with anything internal to our bodies.

Yet for exterior body contact, somehow we often put our guards down and by this, we could be doing ourselves a disservice. Whatever affects us outside could also affects us internally.

Why Variety Here is Not Your Friend

I can understand that most Singaporeans like variety. There’s even a saying, “Variety is the spice of life.”

Take food, for example. In one food court, we are spoilt for so many choices under one roof. However in this case of chiropractic being offered as one of the services (like massage), I don’t think it is always the more, the better.

Chiropractic is a specialised skill.

Heck, if you’re going to let someone manipulate your spine where the nerves are running from your spinal cord to other parts of your body, don’t you think you need a chiropractor vested in his business who is constantly honing his technique?

I’d think chiropractors, who only offer chiropractic treatments, are proud and confident of their craft. They apply effectively the many years of education they have received. Therefore, they simply do not need to resort to offer other types of services to supplement their income.

As said by Dr Ashley Liew in The Straits Times article, they are a form of healthcare service, not massage or spa providers.

Since you will be paying so much for chiropractic care, why should you give your money by going to a business that’s like a one-stop shop?

Regulate or Not to Regulate?

It is unfortunate that this patient’s experience was marred by that centre he visited. Consequently, he had lost confidence in chiropractic.

As someone who has worked alongside with chiropractors in the past and also benefited from chiropractic care for two continuous years, I felt sorry for him that his experience was short-changed.

Which is why I am all for regulation of this industry. If the government were to exert a certain level of control, such measure could improve the public perception of the profession.

Because it will give the due recognition that chiropractors should have. I think till this day, some people may lump chiropractic and massage together, but chiropractic is not massage. Chiropractors go through a high standard of science education. Does a massage therapist have that?

In addition, it will make businesses that want to cash in on the effectiveness of chiropractic and include it among its other services, to think twice.

Business models could also change for the better. Patients do not need to sign up a huge number of sessions in a package. As a result, chiropractors could depend more on higher new patient traffic / enquiries from walk-ins and word-of-mouth as a more steady recurring income.

With regulation, I’d think chiropractors, who want to practise in Singapore, will sit for exams to get their practising licence and register with a Board under the Ministry of Health (MOH) (e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners).

For instance, in Australia, “Australian chiropractors are five year university trained, and are government registered and government regulated health professionals.

Good chiropractors, who usually run their own clinic, will not be afraid of being regulated. It’s their ship. If it sinks, they will sink along with their reputation.

In conclusion, I think you probably get an inkling by now, how to fine tune your chiropractor search.

Over to You

Have you been to a chiropractor? How was your experience?