Can people in wheelchairs get chiropractic care?

It’s funny as we grow older and fall into our ways as adults, we begin to identify certain moments in time that truly generate wisdom. I recently had a patient come into my office that will change my life forever and generate wisdom that I never knew was coming. This young woman was hit by a train five years ago and has been confined to her wheelchair since then with no hope no answers and little to no conservative treatment after her initial trauma

The answer is YES chiropractors can treat people in wheelchairs. 

All too often there is an unspoken fear of Chiropractic for no reason at all except for old rumors and a history of quackery in the profession. I guess that’s a contradictory statement as we can only rely on our own experiences and all too often in the history of my profession quackery was strong and as society got smarter, they realized it for what it was. 

In the past few decades chiropractic care has taken a huge turn and continues to grow as a profession. More science has been thrown into practice than ever before substantiating our claims that have been present for the last hundred years. But nothing will reign stronger than the patient testimonial and anecdotal evidence. 

The young woman I mentioned above entered my office after seeing multiple chiropractors who truly did exhibit that old quackery. Nobody wanted to even touch her body after being bound to a wheelchair due to a traumatic brain injury. Her mother and father were with her, and both had tears in their eyes in hopes of some sort of relief for their daughter whose life will be changed forever. I don’t typically treat this population as my knowledge is limited and I don’t want to cause further harm, but when a person looks you in the eyes with nothing but pure hope that you can provide the relief it’s your duty as providers to do everything you can. We spent eight years in school and hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn how to treat the body and harness the innate intelligence for the healing practice. 

She suffered a severe brain injury that put her muscles into uncontrollable spasms on the left side of her body. It was simple to see that all she needed was someone to touch her, analyze her appropriately, and offer some insight as to what was going on. 

All too often chiropractors and other providers are too afraid or unknowledgeable about the body to even attempt something like this, but all you had to do was look in this patient’s eyes and realize she just needed someone to pay attention for even a brief moment to give her solace and understanding. 

That day was a day that I will remember forever. I got her on my table, and the second I did my daughter comes barging in from after school. We’re working on her manners and how to behave in a medical setting, but truthfully when this young woman’s parents saw my daughter their eyes lit up… Maybe it was because her usefulness reminded them of their daughter. Her innocence resonated throughout the room as they remember their daughter leaving that night from their house and they would never see her the same again. I looked at my daughter and took a look at the young lady laying on my table. I realized I have a responsibility to protect my patients just as I protect my daughter. To protect them from the world that’s too afraid of them. And casts them off as though they are lepers. So I did what was trained to do. I took a look. Reviewed her novel of medical records and applied the science. I applied a few small adjustments and showed her family a few small stretches and exercises to begin retraining her motor pathways this young woman started to cry on the table and then her parents started to cry. I would love to say that she stood up and walked out of my office but of course, that’s not the case. 

We stood her up and she reported far less pain standing than she had felt since leaving the hospital so many years ago. She will be coming back weekly for a little while as we continue to push her limits and encourage her positivity. And if that’s all we can do then it will be more than she has ever gotten. It’s moments like this that teach wisdom, it teaches us not to be afraid; to love our neighbor and our community, and more importantly, it teaches us that we have more power than we ever give ourselves credit for. 

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