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Homecoming session: Educating the public about chiropractic for children

8/19/2010 (Archived)

Jason Yusavage, D.C., DICCP, used humor, common sense and an engaging game for kids to illustrate how to educate the public—children and their parents—about chiropractic for children during his presentation on Friday afternoon. “Every day you have people come to you to hear your story,” he said. “You have to be engaged. You have to tell your story with passion. With the current economy, the better prepared you are and the more you stress what you believe, the more your practice will grow.”

He offered the following tips for attracting more children to your practice:

  • Keep your office kid-friendly. I don’t have a huge jungle gym in my office, but I do have pictures of kids and pictures of me adjusting kids hanging on the walls.
  • When patients are face-down on the table you have their undivided attention. Talk to your patients about recent cases from your practice. “We had an interesting case this week of a child with scoliosis, back pain, an ear infection, colic, etc.”
  • Remember that children can’t bring themselves to your office. You need to earn the trust of the parents. Patients are a little hesitant to come to the chiropractor themselves, so imagine how they feel about bringing their kids.
  • Make sure you educate your patients every chance you get. An example of this is letting parents know that “chiropractors don’t treat ear infections; we take care of subluxations that may help with ear infections. By adjusting the spine, we do several things that may help ear infections, such as help with lymphatic drainage and allow the eustachian tube to drain properly.” It’s helpful to use analogies, such as comparing an ear infection to a blocked sink.
  • Kids come to the chiropractor most often for the following reasons: ear infections, check-ups, scoliosis, neck or back pain, and sports injuries. Scoliosis is the most popular reason to get children checked by a chiropractor. Contact the school nurses at your local schools and volunteer to do scoliosis screenings.
  • Get yourself in the schools. Write a letter to the principal and make a follow-up call. Offer to talk to science and health classes, do screenings and speak at an assembly or lay lecture.
  • Go to the schools and talk to the coaches. Offer to look at kids with injuries.
  • If you don’t already do it, start using kinesiotape. It works great to stabilize joints and help adjustments hold and it’s a wonderful conversation starter.
  • Have a “topic of the week” display in your office with brochures, newsletters and other materials to explain it. Be sure it’s something you’re familiar with and can explain to your patients!
  • on’t put it off—start as soon as you can. It’s our responsibility to educate the public about chiropractic for children. Be proud to be a chiropractor!

Dr. Yusavage demonstrated the “subluxation game,” which he said is perfect for children around six years old but can be modified for older children. Materials needed for the game include a skeleton, spine, bag of bones, chalkboard or overhead projector, brain hat, rope or extension cord, large plastic ring or rubber band, representations of organs and muscles and give-aways. The game is a fun way to explain subluxations and how they can decrease performance, as well as how chiropractic adjustments remove subluxations and increase performance and well being.