Chiropractors are not all equal.
I have visited chiropractors since before most of my readers were born - starting in the 1960s. In that time, I've had my share of disappointments. In that time, I have seen lots of chiropractors who did the same adjustments again and again, providing only temporary relief. It was like being hooked on a drug that's expensive, temporary, and ultimately unsatisfying.
So what was missing? Proper assessment.
Why is assessment important? Without good assessment, healers offer bandaids instead of cures. Without good assessment, health practitioners will chase down the same symptoms over and over again. So without good assessment, clients are caught in a vicious cycle of visit after visit after visit with no real change in the underlying problems.
But a truly professional assessment requires thorough study of the client's shifting patterns. In chiropractic, proper assessment requires periodic X-rays, nerve scans, physical palpation - and lots and lots of prior knowledge.
That's how Dr. Caldwell got me here, both as a colleague and as a client. Because I started out as his client, NOT his colleague. When I first set foot in UTC Chiropractic, I had my own separate practice. And I had no intention of closing down my two offices.
I'll even admit that I was skeptical. I have a lot of experience. Ten years' worth. I'm good at what I do. And I'm good at assessment.
So when Dr. Caldwell offered a discounted assessment at a business network meeting, I opened up my wallet, pulled out some cash, and walked up to him with a smirk on my face. As I handed him the money, I said: "OK, big guy, you're on. Prove to me that you're good at assessing structures!"
It was a set-up. I admit it.
You see, for years I've been taking classes from various Rolfer, Structural Integrators, Active Release Technicians, and others. And I have a simple method for assessing the assessors: my own body.
Without going into details, I'll just say that I have a very complicated medical history. That's especially true of my bone structure. My skeleton is a roadmap of 61 years of injuries, infections, visceral misalignments, and lots and lots of exercise, some of it stupidly done.
So when a teacher claims to be able to assess a skeletal structure, I try hard to be one of the models in that class. I try hard to be the guy standing up there with a list of obscure symptoms and a set of patterns that defy analysis. In Dr. Caldwell's own words, I'm a Rubik's Cube of skeletal distortions.
Over the years, I've found three kinds of assessors:
First, there are the ones who try to make stuff up. They use a lot of big words in Greek and Latin, point to this or that area, and come up with a fairy tale that bears no relation to reality. I see through these people quickly.
Second, there are the people who tell the truth - but it's stuff I already know. Actually, these people impress me a lot, because they're in a distinct minority among practitioners.
Third and most rarely, there are the people who tell me stuff I DIDN'T already know. That's Dr. Caldwell - and a handful of very senior people with established reputations.
For example, Dr. Caldwell took X-rays. Well, who doesn't? But THEN he was able to look 'em over and point out things I'd never noticed before. And believe me, I've been looking at X-rays of myself since before Dr. Caldwell was born. He also performed a set of nerve scans that explained connections between symptoms I'd never seen as connected. I'd had previous chiropractors explain that the spine was a central switchboard. But I never worked with a man who took to time to go over my vertebral impingements and say: "OK, how's your digestion? How's your thyroid gland? Do you get migraines?"
Duh! But it's the obvious stuff that's hardest to see. That's what genius is. Genius is what makes the rest of us slap our foreheads. So from that first session, I was Dr. Caldwell's loyal client.
But why did I move into his practice?
Oops, times up! For that, you'll have to read my next column: "Challenging Dr. Caldwell, Part II."
Michael Boblett is a Certified Advanced Rolfer, Egoscue Postural Specialist and skilled practitioner of Neural Release with 10 years of experience and over 1,500 hours of study in deep-tissue, nerve-activation, and therapeutic movement work. Michael has a strong knowledge of muscles, nerves, movement patterns and the kinds of restrictions that can interfere with your strength and freedom.
With his time-tested strategies for low back, neck, shoulder, foot, hamstring, knee and hip dysfunction, Michael has experience working with triathletes, marathoners, cyclists, golfers, power lifters, yoga practitioners and even the busy professional chained to their desks all day to rehab tired and sore muscles, improve sports performance and slow down the aging process.
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