In years past, it often seemed as though traditional medical doctors and chiropractors were constantly competing (sometimes even fighting) against one another. Chiropractic Referrals from mds are occurring. Thankfully, in the past decade we’ve seen a trend of more cooperation between these two medical fields. This is particularly noticeable in the way that more and more, general practitioners are willing to refer patients who suffer from back pain or regular headaches to chiropractors.
Why is this shift in attitude happening?
Limitations of medicine
Most primary care doctors would agree that traditional medicine can’t fix everything—you can’t take a drug and immediately undo the effects from years of smoking, poor nutrition, excessive stress, or lack of exercise. But there are things that medicine is very effective in treating: for example, strep throat, an ear infection, or nearly anything in which a virus or infection has taken hold. And primary care doctors have a thorough understanding of the human body, and are able to tap into their big-picture perspective when trying to determine the source of symptoms.
However, there are some situations in which traditional medicine is less effective. For example, the average patient suffering from chronic headaches will try 17 medications before finding one that works for his particular makeup. A patient in that situation is making a lot of trips to the doctor’s office to report he is still feeling miserable. This is time-consuming and discouraging for both the patient and the primary care doctor—after all, most doctors pursue medicine because they want to help people feel better, not watch patients suffer for months or years with the same problem.
The success rate for chronic headache relief through chiropractic, however, is dramatically higher. Many patients see significant relief in a matter of weeks or months. While there may be some patients who return to their primary care physician because chiropractic didn’t fix the problem, in the majority of cases both patient and doctor are pleased with the results.
Increasing pressures on general practitioners
Another factor pushing the number of referrals is the changing landscape of medicine. Many primary care doctors find they are overwhelmed with patients, with increasing paperwork and red tape for each.
With many of the managed care plans/HMOs, physicians find themselves limited in the approaches they can take. For example, say a patient suffers from chronic migraines. The doctor suspects an MRI might reveal the root of the problem, but according to the patient’s HMO guideline, the MRI test can’t be done until at least 3 other more conservative tests are done. So the doctor recommends treatments that she knows are unlikely to help, and the patient has to come in multiple times.
Again, this results in wasted resources and time for everyone.
However, in many cases, the HMO leaves the doctor the option of referring the patient to another doctor, including a chiropractor. Having the patient skip ineffective steps for this kind of conservative care saves time, frustration, and money, and the patient is more likely to get results more quickly.
Increased education about chiropractic
Don’t get us wrong. Primary care doctors are extremely well-educated people, and they work hard to stay current with new developments in the medical world. For that reason, most simply don’t have the time to keep up with developments in other fields, including chiropractic. Many haven’t referred patients to chiropractors in the past because they simply didn’t know enough about it, weren’t aware of recent advancements, or may not have even had it on their radar.
But in recent years, more and more studies have been demonstrating the effectiveness of chiropractic, and some doctors are starting to take notice. In addition, some chiropractors are doing a better job of communicating with the medical community.
In the case of our clinic, Dr. Maggio has been working for some time to build cooperative relationships with Hampton Roads area doctors through workshops and other community events. We also proactively reach out to our patient’s primary care doctors. If a patient comes to us without a doctor’s referral (which is not a problem—referrals are not required for treatment at our clinic), Dr. Maggio will still ask permission to contact the patient’s primary care doctor. If the patient agrees, Dr. Maggio will meet one-on-one with the doctor, explain their patient’s treatment plan, and even show him or her the ProAdjuster equipment we will be using.
As a result, primary care doctors who were previously unfamiliar with chiropractic often feel more comfortable once they have more information to work with. And if their patients improve, they often feel more confident in referring patients in the future.
At ProAdjuster chiropractic, we see ourselves and your primary care doctor not as competitors, but as members of the same team. Within our respective medical fields, we are working toward the same goal—your health and wellness.