Ask the Doc: What is a ‘standard’ chiropractor and who sets the standard?

Editor’s note: Dr. Philip Schalow’s new featured article, “Ask the Doc,” will appear monthly. This is the second in the series. Send questions for Dr. Schalow to and he will answer each one individually and choose a sampling for this article.

By Dr. Philip Schalow

One of the many questions landing in my in-box this month was one that deserved a thorough and public response: “What is a ‘standard’ chiropractor and who sets the standard?”

I am immediately reminded of two events in my life, one that taught me about culture and one that taught me about chiropractic culture.

My family grew up steeped in classical music — its serious and humorous sides (think Florence Foster Jenkins). This environment was presented to me as “culture,” but it wasn’t until I got interested in rock music that I began thinking there was more to “culture” than the culture of the 18th and 19th century Europeans.

When I lived in Georgia, I found an entire world of music steeped in folk traditions that required just as much learning as classical traditions, just a different musical language. And yes, I can jam on “Wabash Cannonball.”

So, with regard to music, “culture” really pertains to what type of music people prefer in the region, and I think many people will agree that having a good mix of cultures is enlivening!

The other event was meeting a classmate at Palmer College of Chiropractic who was surprised to learn that there were other “techniques” besides upper cervical chiropractic. She was raised on upper cervical chiropractic without being told it was upper cervical chiropractic. No problem there, chiropractic is chiropractic. It was not until she arrived at the school that she realized there were other methods taught.

At Palmer, students learn within the core curriculum “Palmer Package,” which includes some methods developed by the late Clarence Gonstead, and some older methods known as “diversified.” Many people think of these approaches as “the Standard,” although if any particular region were populated with Logan College of Chiropractic graduates, people would think their technique, which gets to the real bottom of the skeletal system with its pelvic corrective procedures, is the “standard.”

All of the more than 250 distinct types of chiropractic procedures have excellent results with restoring health to the suffering individual. The really important thing to remember is that the chiropractor is the primary care professional for spinal health and well-being.

For any community to be at its best, there is required diversity within its economic structures, artistic expressions and even health care systems. So, whether your doctor of chiropractic uses Sacral Occipital Technique, NUCCA, Toftness, Logan Basic, Diversified or Thompson techniques, the goal of chiropractic remains to remove the structural interference on the nerve system and restore optimum function within a meaningful relationship between doctor and patient.

For a listing of chiropractors in your area, check out

Keep those questions coming in about chiropractic health to

Dr. Philip Schalow is a NUCCA practitioner in Rockford. He owns 1st Step Chiropractic, S.C., 4519 Highcrest Road, Rockford. Call (815) 398-4500 for details or visit

From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!