Keys to Your Practice: Learning from the past

Top five ideas that can benefit your practice
Angelo Santin
February 11, 2016
Written by
This time of year always gets me reflecting on things that went well and some that I’d like to forget.  

Professionally, I feel reflecting on the past can be a valuable practice building tool. It’s not always needing more information that’s necessary, but reviewing and following through on the information you already have. I’ve put together the top five best ideas from past articles that I think can benefit your practice.  

The consult
Most people think that getting details about the patient’s injury is the most important part of the consult. They dig and dig and talk about all aspects of the patient’s pain, forgetting the main reason why people are in your office. They are in your office because the condition they are describing is affecting some part of their lifestyle. Your history, therefore, should focus on that. Ask the appropriate questions to get to the heart of the matter. Ensure the patient knows you understand how their condition is limiting them, and they will choose to stay under your care.  

Examine with fire
The purpose of the exam is not to help you formulate a diagnosis. As you become experienced you will probably know the diagnosis minutes into the consult. The true purpose of the exam is to demonstrate how subluxation is affecting their everyday function. Your testing should reflect this concept. Things like strength, flexibility and balance should be tested in a way that the patient can clearly see how their condition is affecting their overall function. This type of exam gets the focus off their pain and onto improving the overall lifestyle. This keeps the patient more engaged and more likely to follow through with the recommendations that you will give them throughout their care.

Adjust efficiently, effectively
I want to be clear here and state that we are chiropractors. Simply put, we find subluxations and adjust them as effectively as possible. Whether you realize it or not, this is your most unique and powerful tool to change a person’s health. Know your detection and adjusting tools inside and out. You should be able to adjust someone with minimal effort and get the biggest results possible. Be efficient. In previous articles, I’ve used the example of an upper cervical adjustment allowing a patient’s shoulder to heal in a matter of a few adjustments, which took only seconds to perform. Compare this to what many chiropractors are doing for shoulder problems including multiple soft tissue and rehab techniques that take a lot of time and practitioner effort. Think about efficiency when you are performing all the ancillary modalities which take an abnormal amount of time to perform when someone else is achieving the same results with seconds of adjusting. The key takeaway from this is to learn all aspects of your adjusting skills and apply them as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The re-examination
Some chiropractors look at this as a thorn on their side; something they must do because their governing bodies tell them they should. In truth, the re-examination is a powerful tool to increase the likelihood that someone will stay under care. The purpose of the first few re-examinations should be to demonstrate to the patient that the chiropractic care is improving their function and allowing them to return to the lifestyle that they desperately want. Down the road, the re-examination can be used to ensure a patient’s spinal condition is stable and can be then used as an opportunity to set new and possibly loftier health goals.  

The health care class
If you are not doing this in your clinic, tag it to the top of your list of things to tackle this year. The purpose of the health care class in my opinion is twofold. First, it is to inform your patients. They need to understand the basics around subluxation – how it happens, how it’s corrected, and how it stays corrected. Second, and perhaps most important, the purpose should be to inspire. Share stories with your patients that inspire them to follow through with the recommendations you make. It should give them hope that they are able to reach health goals they may have never thought possible.

These five topics to me represent the basics that I feel every chiropractor should be able to do well in order to run a successful practice. Saying this, many chiropractors forget about the basics because they think they always need more information to be better at their trade. The problem is not what we don’t know but what we think we know.

I challenge you to go back to your notes and look at something that you have already done that you feel passionate about and review it. That’s your only action step for the start of this New Year. Good luck with it and I wish you a successful 2016.



Dr. Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 807-344-4606.


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