Thursday, February 3, 2011

DAY 122 - Pigeonholed ... but not intentionally

Pigeonhole principle from Wikipedia
I’m a chiropractor, and I know my limitations; few.

Merriam-Webster defines a pigeonhole as “a neat category which usually fails to reflect actual complexities.” As a verb, pigeonholed can mean, “to assign to an often restrictive category.” And that’s my frustration, the name of my profession is a “neat category”, and boy have we assigned ourselves, and been assigned by our culture, to a “restrictive category” as back doctors.

In the beginning (1895), chiropractors focused on, and advertised as central, our adjustment of the spine, as a mode of improving health and function in all parts of the body. We provided much relief for a variety of conditions, but performed particularly, even remarkably well in the realm of back, neck, and general musculoskeletal conditions. Between the difficulty in making the case for spinal function influencing health in other organs and systems, and the often immediate relief of back and neck pain, we became known as back doctors.

Medical doctors, on the other hand, have created a clear understanding with the public that they treat anything and everything. Nice work.

For chiropractors that specialize in backs, things are good; the shoe fits.

But, for chiropractors like me, who treat everything from sinus infections to hemorrhoids, from vertigo to esophageal reflux, from colic to menstrual cramps, from high blood pressure to diabetes, and from anxiety to ADHD, there’s a mismatch. Thank goodness I also love fixing backs!

The challenge is obvious; powerful historical factors over the last 115 years have unintentionally, and impersonally pigeonholed me.

I find myself grateful for the awareness to climb out of the pigeonhole, and grateful for the strength to fly into the wind.

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