Are you the best theoretical Chiropractor ever?

Are you a sage and wise parent?

Kind and caring, but strong when needed.

Do you always have time to explains everything to your kids in a way that leaves them empowered?

I certainly was to my theoretical children who didn’t yet exist, in rhetorical situations, I have never actually been in.

In fact, pre-kids, I was a bloody genius in the parenting department. Who needed to have raised actual real-life children to talk a good parenting game?

Not me that’s for sure.

Then this popped out:

I say popped, it was a bit a squeeze to be honest, as you can see my wife was a behemoth (happy Valentine’s day Natalie).

Turns out whilst some of my theories about raising children weren’t too far off the mark, the actual reality of being handed your offspring does up the stakes somewhat.

Apparently, babies and kids don’t always want to do what you want them to.  Who knew?!

So my theories were good for some stuff, but in the end, it’s the actual doing and learning from mistakes that lead to actual skills and results.

For me, this is much like clinical practice.

At the weekend I spoke at the Lions of Chiropractic seminar in London, run by Conor Ward DC and Mike McBean DC, check them out on facebook for future events. Excellent it was too (plus the goodie bag was off the chart: Biltong, snack bar, hat, drinks, supplements, note pad…)

It was a 25 minute concept talk and I emphasised the need for us as a profession to reclaim our authenticity and integrity in terms of results.

It simply is not good enough to treat patients without assessing something meaningful, for me that’s range of motion (quality and quantity), muscle strength and pain.

I test, treat, re-test, repeat.

When my patients leave I am aiming for all three to be improved, if it’s just one that’s OK, it depends on how acute or chronic they are.

When they come back in, I repeat the tests to see how well the treatment has sustained.

If they have lost all the changes, maybe I missed something? Maybe they did something really stupid? Either way, it’s all good feedback.

It is also reality.

Theories are good but they have to translate into results and we must live in reality.

In the first few years of practice I spent a lot of time rubbing & rechecking reflex points and checking leg lengths, I still do some of that, it can be very useful, but when they get off the bench did it translate into a meaningful functional change?

Honestly, most of the time I doubt it.

I dished out sage parental advice theory, some of it was decent and some of it was utter b****cks.

Now I have a nine and five-year-old, I have made many mistakes, learnt some hard lessons and now I have some decent advice that is worth considering.

It can be a lot like that with researchers dispensing condescending wisdom on back pain from their ivory research tower.

Using statistics to create “average” treatment for “average” patients isn’t for me.

I am happy to read research (in the functional medicine world there is too much to keep up with) but it has to be meaningful (in terms of outcome) and applied to the individual patient.

I am now nineteen years into practice (note that is why we call to “practice” because you are still learning) and the more I learn the more I realise I don’t know.

As someone way cleverer than me once said: “as your island of knowledge grows, so does your shore of ignorance”. 


– Be authentic in your assessment of your patient’s response to care, just making it go pop isn’t always enough. Measure range of motion (quality and quantity), muscle strength, and pain.

– Be suspicious of academics and non-practising Chiropractors telling you how to practice. Theories must translate into results.

– Never ask me for parenting advice, but always ask my wife who is amazing.

And as always don’t waste those valuable adjustments,