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Dr. Donald J. Henderson's Approach to Chiropractic Care

In the December 1991 edition of The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, specifically Volume 35 Number 4, Donald J. Henderson DC published an article titled, “Towards the development of guidelines on chiropractic care and practice: an opportunity to enhance professional credibility.” This brief, three-paged article might seem like just a blip on the radar in terms of chiropractic care advocacy, but in reading this journal entry, Donald J. Henderson had some of the most forward-thinking ideas in the entire chiropractic care space.

In this article, Henderson acknowledges what we all know, and have known about chiropractic care: with respect to members of the medical community not involved in chiropractic care, there is an overall lack of trust and acceptance regarding the field of chiropractic treatment of musculoskeletal problems.

However, where many have become resigned to the fact that chiropractic care will be relegated to a small niche within healthcare and not be widely accepted by the general healthcare community, Henderson maintained the opposite attitude.

Henderson was able to eloquently condense all of the problems that chiropractors face in terms of their reputation, and perception in the medical community into a few simple sentences. He highlights a significant problem with the standardization of care, specifically with the diverse array of treatment strategies that are seemingly applied without any sort of methodology. In developed countries in 2015, this is still a main concern and healthcare stakeholders that are not directly involved in chiropractic care, develop a sort of confusion when presented with these various different treatment options.

In addition to the issue of standardization of care, Henderson points to the lack of infrastructure with respect to quality of care in the chiropractic field. Keeping in mind that this report was published in 1991, it is quite alarming that there are still inadequate quality monitoring systems in place over 20 years later. He names numerous different role players in healthcare management and delivery that require quality monitoring and what he refers to as “outcome assessment,” and the list is not short.

A final point that Henderson makes is the idea that if chiropractic professionals do not develop practice and quality guidelines then there is the potential for guidelines to be forced upon them. This has already occurred in many different scenarios, and Henderson seemed to have it figured out at a very early stage in chiropractic care’s development.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Mark Morgan

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