Members of the Millennial Generation, which refers to individuals who were born during the final decades of the 20th century and beyond, are routinely scrutinized in terms of their socio-economic views and habits. Even though many of the news headlines related to this societal cohort center on quirky attitudes and fascinating generation gaps, the reality of these younger citizens is that they are better informed. Healthcare practitioners are well aware of this generational aspect, especially with regard to a holistic approach to wellness.
When compared to members of previous generations, Millennials are better suited to live healthy lives. It may be a little awkward to assimilate this idea because people of all ages are concerned about their health, but the bottom line is that Millennials are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to staying healthy, and the reality is that they are smarter about it. One example of this can be gleaned from a 2015 survey conducted by researchers at Portland State University; the longitudinal poll determined that Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 were 12% more likely to choose walking as a means of transportation, and the majority felt that a combination of public transportation and walking would be more conducive to their wellness than driving their cars everywhere. This is not to say that Millennials do not like cars; in fact, many of them are fascinated by technologies such as plug-in electric vehicles and self-driving cars, but they also realize that sedentary behaviors can be avoided by means of getting around on foot.
Walking more and driving less is just one aspect in the lives of Millennials that lets us know they are particularly interested in wellness. When it comes to monetary spending, for example, members of the Millennial Generation are less profligate than their predecessors, but there is one particular spending category in which they are far more flexible and generous: wellness.
Healthcare is but one aspect of the wellness spectrum; in fact, we can say that keeping medical treatment and therapeutic interventions to a minimum are more important factors of the spectrum. Since spinal adjustment is considered to be non-invasive therapy, it should not be surprising to learn that Millennials have been showing increasing interest in chiropractic treatments over the last few years. An article featured in the May issue of Chiropractic Economics illustrates this generational shift; the story focused on an all-cash chiropractic clinic that started operating in 2012, and it managed to attract a steady flow of younger patients within three months.
With all the above in mind, we can now list the four major reasons Millennials are embracing chiropractic care:
- Millennials are better informed about healthcare in general.
- They are more likely to try new things and think outside the box.
- A significant segment of the Millennial Generation has become more focused on wellness during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Millennials like being the feeling of being able to make their own choices.
Let’s look at these four reasons in greater detail:
What Millennials Know About Healthcare
Thanks to the passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) of 2010, young Americans know that they have certain rights and obligations related to the use and support of the healthcare system. We know that the United States is not close to implementing universal healthcare models. We also know that a truly public healthcare system such as the one managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs will take decades to create and organize. For the time being, the medical insurance programs subsidized by taxpayers under the ACA are the best healthcare option for millions of Americans, and Millennials are growing up in this system.
Since the process of obtaining healthcare insurance plans largely unfolds online, Millennials are better at evaluating their options, and many of them read the “fine print” in search of treatment options that include chiropractic care. To this effect, Cigna plans have become popular among younger Americans because they include chiropractic treatment and spinal adjustment for various conditions. To this effect, we can also add the opinion that quite a few Millennials have formed with regard to chiropractic care, which is often seen as a more natural approach to healthcare.
Chiropractic Care as an Alternative
Even though the chiropractic practice has been around since the late 19th century, many people still think of it as a novelty or an alternative. This view of chiropractors is exactly what Millennials are intrigued by, thus making them more likely to “try it out.” When you mention to younger patients that certain spinal adjustments can help in terms of alleviating pain and reducing inflammation without excessive medications or surgical interventions, you will get their attention in a positive way.
On social networks such as Facebook and Reddit, patients who undergo chiropractic therapy will often share their experiences with younger peers. If there is something that sets Millennials apart is that they really appreciate learning from the experiences of others, particularly with regard to health issues. If they learn about someone whose lingering pain following a sports injury was improved through chiropractic therapy, they will certainly remember it.
What Millennials Have Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Of the many lessons instilled by the terrible SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that thoroughly changed the world in 2020 and 2021, one of the most important was related to the high mortality rate among patients who suffered from known risk factors. Millennials have taken note of this unfortunate reality, and they are willing to do what it takes to not fall into unhealthy patterns that could become problematic later in life.
Untreated neuropathic pain and myalgias that are related to an unseen inflammatory disease can often exacerbate existing health conditions to the point of becoming risk factors. A central aspect of the chiropractic discipline is centered on adjusting the spine and its surrounding tissue in order to reduce edema, which happens to be a root condition in many physical ailments. With Millennials being more health-conscious than other generations, it is easy to understand why they feel that chiropractic therapy can fit into their lifestyle, particularly with regard to their holistic approach to healthcare. Let’s keep in mind that Millennials are more attuned to wellness in the sense that they will prefer going to chiropractor sessions now than having to undergo surgery in the future.
When Chiropractic Care Feels Like the Right Choice
The meaning of conventional wisdom for many older Americans does not necessarily align with the ideals and sensibilities of the Millennial Generation. Since this is a generation that is not afraid to go out-of-pocket when it comes to their health, it stands to reason that they will favor shelling out for chiropractic care when they need it; more importantly, however, they like the idea of being able to make this choice on their own.
Gone are the days when chiropractic clinics and other practices such as acupuncture were dismissed as being inferior to what we call Western medicine. Millennials know that homeopathy is part of the German public health system and that herbal medicine is part of Chinese public health in the same way Ayurveda therapies are still practiced in India. Younger patients enjoy having easy access to complementary treatments they can choose, particularly when they have reasonable potential of improving their lives.
It should be mentioned that Millennials are not solely interested in the spinal adjustment aspect of chiropractic care. There are also the matters of assessment, posture, and physical therapy that this healthcare discipline provides. The physical therapy aspect of chiropractic care truly resonates with Millennials because they often learn it from professional athletes whom they follow on social media. Virtually every team in the National Football Association has chiropractic staff members, and many players in Major League Soccer choose to undergo chiropractic treatment several times during the season.