What are some key concepts that you want to be looking for, either as a consumer for finding a new family chiropractor, or if you’re a student or chiropractor? There are four key concepts to build upon within the culture of your practice: safety, communication, operational reliability, and engagement (Alcantra et al, 2001).

According to the dictionary, culture is defined as the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. Another definition, it’s my personal favorite, of culture is the customs, arts, and social institutions and achievements of a particular nation of people or social group. So, it’s the customs and the achievements of a group of people trying to create a way of living. 

If you want to become a better family chiropractor, if you’re looking for a new family chiropractor, or you want to trust the recommendations that your chiropractor is delivering with a recommendation of your children being under chiropractic care, then you should assess it based off the concepts of:

  1. Safety
  2. Communication
  3. Operational Reliability
  4. Engagement

You want safety, care with communication, reliable technique, engagement within the community, and within your practice. It’s as simple as assessing these four areas. When it comes to reviewing how I’ve been in practice for 12 years, safety’s number one. Safety to me is making sure that the terms and conditions of the care are being delivered and communicated at the appropriate level. 

There are a few common objectives within chiropractic care. To me the most important in chiropractic is the location, analysis, and facilitation of the correction of vertebral subluxation. Chiropractors are the only profession trained detect and correct vertebral subluxation. I have that talk on the first visit. Then I communicate more on follow up visits, if the conversation/table talk/questions, take my case management down that road.

Operational reliability is a phenomenal concept. I teach a technique called muscle palpation and specifically we term it advanced muscle palpation. We’re not just palpating muscles, we’re palpating muscles for origins and insertions, which is where the muscle starts and ends. We palpate the muscles specifically for their workable action. We ask, what are they trying to accomplish with motor action? 

Looking at it from a neurological sense and saying, if this tissue is being stretched due to malposition or a loss of juxtaposition and causing neural stress of some sort, and that tissue is engaged. Now that tissue is specifically pointing to a vertebrae or a bone that’s subluxated. Subluxated in our terms means slightly misaligned and needs to be readjusted with a gentle and specific chiropractic adjustment. 

Operational efficiency in reliability is asking your chiropractor what technique are you going to be performing with my child? Or what technique are you using to adjust me? 

Another aspect of terming it art is there are multiple ways of delivering a chiropractic adjustment. So, the operational reliability is if you’ve got a technique that can be described and communicated and has safety outcomes embedded into it for the age and state of condition of the child under care. 

Now you’ve got yourself three areas of scoring the chiropractor/yourself on safety, communication, and operational reliability. Then the fourth, is assessing whether your chiropractor is fit for your child is looking at engagement. Now, usually when we engage in practice, we typically engage for culture of holidays and seasons. 

I would say eight out of ten of the engagement activities that we are facilitating in practice for our practice members or clients is based on the concept that it’s for the kids. It is like when your child goes to the dentist and your dentist has a little toy for them. At the end of the visit, the kid associates, going to the dentist with getting a new toothbrush or getting a new bouncy ball. Something so small can make such a significant impact on that child’s experience. 

Another example is when I’m working with infants. I like to look at the infants in their eyes and engage with that child. It’s a real person in front of you! Albeit at tiny one. Letting that child know that he or she is in the best hands possible right at that time. I’ve got nothing but love and safety, and I’ve communicated to that child’s parent that you’re in good hands. That style of engagement is letting the child know that the visits can be fun. Chiropractic care is gentle and safe. It’s great for them and goes far in building trust with a younger generation.

Building a culture of chiropractic around the concept of being a family chiropractor to me can be as easy as providing a safe environment, safety with how you’re delivering care, safety with communication, safety with reliability in the technique, and safety by engaging with younger kids under care. We want them associating chiropractic adjustment as a repetitive lifestyle choice, no different than eating nutritious foods and maintaining physical health through body movement. Chiropractic care can be proactive in the same sense. The body needs adjusting and it’s up to us to increase awareness, so people are thinking, hey, it’s time to go to the chiropractor. This is best done before we have aches and pains and true for the whole family!

With that in mind, I challenge all of you readers out there to get out of your comfort zone and ask some more questions around this topic. Having a family chiropractor to me is a life lesson that needs to be understood because our profession could do a better job at teaching it and get more of the next generation incorporating regular spinal checks.

Article Written By: Trent Scheidecker, DC, CFE


Alcantara, J., Whetten, A., & Alcantara, J. (2021). Towards a safety culture in chiropractic: The use of the safety, communication, Operational Reliability, and engagement (SCORE) questionnaire. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 42, 101266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101266

The information in our articles are not intended to diagnose, mitigate or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for any physical conditions, symptoms or diseases. Directly consult with a qualified health care professional for any chiropractic or medical advice. In addition to the benefits of chiropractic care, one should also be aware of the existence of some risks. Risks associated with some chiropractic care may include soreness, musculoskeletal sprain/strain, and fracture. In addition, there have been reported cases of stroke associated with chiropractic care. Research and scientific evidence does not establish a cause and effect relationship between chiropractic care and the occurrence of stroke; rather studies indicate that people may be consulting chiropractors when they are in the early states of a stroke. In essence, there is a stroke already in process. However, you are being informed of this reported risk.