Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Burden of opportunity

Mari-Len De   

Features Collaboration Profession

In 2012, the Global Burden of Disease report, published in the journal The Lancet, cited low back pain as the leading cause of disability worldwide.

In 2012, the Global Burden of Disease report, published in the journal The Lancet, cited low back pain as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Spinal disorders are now contributing more to the global burden of disease than other deadly illnesses like malaria, HIV/AIDS, lung and breast cancer.

This report has caused the international health-care community to direct special attention to spinal health, and effectively paved the way for the chiropractic community to showcase its expertise in musculoskeletal care and opened up opportunities for the profession to lead international discussions on this new global burden of disease.


I had the privilege of speaking with the newly elected president of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC), Dr. Greg Stewart, who says a big focus of his presidency would be establishing the WFC’s and chiropractic’s leadership in helping address this global burden of disease.

Stewart, who runs a family practice in Winnipeg, says there has never been a greater opportunity for chiropractors to establish its expertise in the global health scene than at this moment when the world is looking for answers to address low back pain.

While it is true that chiropractic is not just about treating low back pain, it should not prevent the profession from seizing this big opportunity to establish and distinguish chiropractors as experts in the diagnosis and treatment of this leading cause of global disability.

The opportunity to advance the profession toward international recognition as spinal care specialists has never been greater. Every chiropractor should take advantage of this seizable moment – and perhaps even set aside differences of opinions about and within the profession. If it is to fully integrate itself within the mainstream health-care spectrum, the chiropractic community must show a united front for the sake of its future.

Outstanding efforts by many chiropractors in the global scene have definitely helped propel the profession in the right direction. Expanding chiropractic care to underserved communities, getting involved with the World Health Organization, driving research and increasing collaboration with various health-care professionals are some of the things that are helping to increase the profile of chiropractic to the world.

But the work should not be left to the international players alone. Every chiropractor who aims to elevate the profession to its rightful place in the health-care system should be doing his or her part – through patient education, increased research capacity and greater participation in multidisciplinary health-care settings.

Take this global burden as an opportunity to create a healthier world. 

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