The Joint Chiropractic Franchise Review: Q&A with Dr. Derrell Blackburn
Senior Manager at The Joint Chiropractic® explains why the chiropractic franchise is well positioned for robust growth as the industry gains more popularity
The health and wellness industry has gone mainstream. So much so that the global wellness market is estimated to reach $4.75 trillion in 2019, according to Wellness Creative Co. Despite the industry staying on par with its projected annual 6.4 percent growth rate, notes the research company, chiropractic care specifically is only recently starting to gain traction.
The chiropractic profession has been in existence for more than 110 years. During that time, it has overcome a litany of hardships, including attempts by the American Medical Association to destroy the profession, and rejection by many in the health care field. However, as chiropractic medicine has gained more respect among its health care peers, it’s also become more popular among consumers. According to the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, the total costs associated with lower back pain in the United States exceed $100 billion each year, two-thirds of which are a result of lost wages and reduced productivity.
With today’s growing emphasis on quality care, cost effectiveness and clinical outcomes, it makes sense why chiropractic care continues to receive increased attention, says Dr. Derrell Blackburn, Senior Manager of Chiropractic Relations and Training at The Joint Chiropractic, the nation’s fastest-growing chiropractic franchise. Founded 20 years ago, The Joint has continued to stand out in the $15 billion chiropractic industry by making access to care more affordable, accessible and convenient than ever before. With more than 480 locations nationwide, the growing chiropractic franchise is a meaningful business that meets an incredible demand for holistic pain management.
In this interview, Dr. Blackburn explains why The Joint Chiropractic is well positioned for robust growth as chiropractic care moves further into the mainstream.
Why has chiropractic care become mainstream in society?
Dr. Blackburn: In regards to health care, chiropractic care is more mainstream than it has been, but it has a long way to go — and we’re definitely on the right track. Today, we have more information available to us than ever before with technology, which is creating curiosity. People want to know more about themselves and what can help them. They are also seeking out non-pharma logical options for health care in general. I think the more you learn about your body, the more chiropractic makes sense.
With the rise of the opioid epidemic and surgeries becoming commonplace that are largely ineffective, do you agree that people are really looking for a holistic approach to care?
Dr. Blackburn: I do 100 percent. The United States is number one in both surgeries given and the number of drugs prescribed. Yet we are not even in the top half of health as a nation. Therefore, people are questioning if drugs and surgeries are truly the answer, why are we not number one in health? The opioid crisis is only scratching the surface, and there is a lot of awareness because it’s such a problem. However, that is 100 percent why people are seeking out options for care, and chiropractic happens to be one of them.
How does chiropractic care help people with chronic and ongoing pain management?
Dr. Blackburn: Chiropractic helps because it works directly with the spine, but indirectly with the nervous system. The reason there is any dysfunction with our bodies is because there is a lack of communication within, or an increased amount of inflammation. Inflammation is typically the key to the pain we feel because it is a response to something happening within our body. This pain can become chronic because inflammation is a cycle. If we don’t break the cycle, it can be very hard to reverse.
This is where chiropractic care comes in. By creating a bit of awareness in the inflamed area, we create a better response, ultimately reducing the amount of inflammation. If we can do that even in the slightest bit, we will experience results — whether that’s on a pain and/or dysfunction level.
How does The Joint Chiropractic stand out from the rest of the industry with its approach to care?
Dr. Blackburn: The Joint specializes in chiropractic. That may sound strange considering there are many other chiropractors, including myself, who come from a private practice. However, we only specialize in chiropractic. That means people come in to get their spine checked and adjusted where necessary and they leave. Often when you go to other chiropractors, there could be various adjunct therapies that could be applied and/or things done to people that takes away from chiropractic care in the sense of specializing in that only. At The Joint, you are getting the benefits of chiropractic-focused approach and the best quality care in the most efficient manner possible. More importantly, we don’t accept insurance and provide our services at an affordable price.
We not only continue to train chiropractors, but are extremely compliant by necessity. We maintain a high level of consistency and quality with the care we provide for our patients, especially in the way we document and take notes. For example, you could be treated in Arizona and then go to one of our locations in New Jersey and receive the same quality care. Our doctors can look at a patient’s record and find out exactly what happened the last time they visited another one of our practices.
As someone who has owned their own practice, would you say that The Joint is easier for practitioners and owners alike?
Dr. Blackburn: Yes, and it’s likely because there is no hassle with insurance; there is not a ton of paperwork because The Joint has fantastic digital notes and electronic health records. A lot of times in those private practices, I was a one-man band. I had to do all my marketing and external outreach, as well as play the role of the doctor, business specialist and salesman. When you come into The Joint as a doctor, you’re doing what you went to school to do: be a chiropractor.
The Joint will handle everything business-wise. Unfortunately, we’ve seen chiropractors go into business for themselves and fail because of the lack of business acumen being taught in school. That’s another reason why chiropractic care hasn’t become as mainstream as it could be. Doctors aren’t making themselves as accessible as they could be because they’re missing key business links to make their name even bigger in their community, which is what The Joint provides.
The franchise recently launched the Path to Ownership Program, which helps chiropractors own their own business after a prolonged period of time. Why is this important?
Dr. Blackburn: This program is in its infancy, and we’re continuing to develop it. However, the idea is a chiropractor, who could be a recent college graduate, has a desire to own his or her own business but does not have the necessary funds to do so. However, they are willing to work for everything they will get in a chiropractic office. The idea is that they will work their way into an ownership position after so many years of service to that office.
What’s your vision for The Joint?
Dr. Blackburn: It’s huge. I left a private practice that provided me with a comfortable life in the Bay Area because of that vision. I know that because of the number of chiropractors The Joint is employing and the visibility they are providing for chiropractors, the sky’s the limit. As I said earlier, chiropractic is more mainstream than it has been. But the utilization of chiropractic in general health care is still so low there really is no ceiling. However, when it does truly become mainstream — which is going to start happening soon — we’ll need more locations for The Joint as well as more chiropractors because so many people can benefit from chiropractic care.
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About The Joint Chiropractic
The Joint Corp. revolutionized access to chiropractic care when it introduced its retail healthcare business model in 2010. Today, it is the nation's largest operator, manager and franchisor of chiropractic clinics through The Joint Chiropractic network. The company is making quality care convenient and affordable, while eliminating the need for insurance, for millions of patients seeking pain relief and ongoing wellness. With more than 750 locations nationwide and nearly 11 million patient visits annually, The Joint Chiropractic is a key leader in the chiropractic industry. Ranked number one on Forbes' 2022 America's Best Small Companies list, number three on Fortune's 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list and consistently named to Franchise Times "Top 400+ Franchises" and Entrepreneur's "Franchise 500®” lists, The Joint Chiropractic is an innovative force, where healthcare meets retail.
The Joint Corp. is a franchisor of clinics and an operator of clinics in certain states. In Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, The Joint Corp. and its franchisees provide management services to certain professional chiropractic practices.