An Interview with Brian Morrison

When I was a chiropractic student, I interviewed one hundred chiropractors for the DC2Be Revolution YouTube channel and podcast. This article is about the insights I gained from Dr. Brian Morrison. He’s the director of chiropractic services within the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. He also teaches chiropractic principles to fourth-year medical students and owns Morrison chiropractic.

  1. Get involved in an integrative medical environment.

Dr. Morrison: The Center for Integrative Medicine has been with University of Maryland for over 20 years. They have an integrated medicine medical doctor and an acupuncturist.  I got invited to join by one of the directors of the Center for Integrative Medicine. She offered me a space to rent in their facility and they referred patients to me. Now we have two chiropractors, two acupuncturists, massage therapists, and a cognitive behavioral therapy psychologist. We developed a chronic pain pathway that involved all of the players in integrative medicine and the physical medicine rehabilitation department in the hospital. After a couple years they asked me to start teaching an elective for fourth-year medical students on manual medicine. I’ve been a part of the center ever since.

  1. Develop a chronic pain pathway.

Dr. Morrison: The pain algorithm we developed is very general. We were fortunate to have a preventive medicine resident who wrote it from a community health aspect. There is an algorithmic tree to follow, including the triage portion. In order to work in integrative medicine you need to know where you fit in. My practice functions as a chiropractic practice. Patients come in for neck pain, back pain, headaches, and chronic pain.  I provide pain science education. I use Carlo Ammendolia Spinal stenosis model, the Dr. McGill model for spinal stabilization, and the McKenzie model for mechanical diagnosis. This is what I teach at Maryland University of integrative health. I’m starting to develop some of our practice based on the book “World of Hurt.” It’s a great synergy with the integrated medicine doctors focusing on nutritional supplements, anti-inflammatory diet, or gut biome with chiropractic care, dry needling, rehab, and manipulation.

  1. The biggest obstacle to overcome.

A lot of people are working on the project of replicating what we have at the integrative care center. It’s not that difficult. The hard part is making it profitable. Vanderbilt is the only one I know of that has made it profitable.

The problem we find in integrative medicine, especially integrated pain care is that health insurance is not set up to pay us. A lot of the pain management that we do doesn’t get reimbursed. That is why I have to do pain education while I’m doing manual therapy or movement exercises. At this point we are paid based on the services we administer not on the outcomes we get.

  1. Authors to read before starting an integrative care center.

Read anything by Dr. Craig Liebenson. He integrates a biopsychosocial component into his manual therapy, rehab exercise component, and coaching component. I would read anything by Dr. Stuart McGill. Read World of Hurt. Then read Lorimer Moseley’s work. Read Adrian Louw he’s the therapeutic neuroscience educator who was with Moseley and Butlers group in Australia. That’s a good place to start.

To watch the entire interview, you can go here.

Noah Volz, DC is the author the The Master Student: Book 1: Mindset: The Ultimate Guide to Success, Enjoyment and Productivity as a Chiropractic College Student