For Skeptics Only
It’s okay to be skeptical. But learn the simple facts about today’s chiropractic.
If chiropractic care seems promising, but you have doubts, join the club. Chiropractic is different. And it is this difference that has brought results to millions since 1895 and caused them to rethink the nature of health and the role of chiropractic care in it.
Once and for all, let’s put to rest some of the most common myths:
You don’t need a referral or permission from anyone to see a chiropractor. However, if you expect financial assistance from certain insurance plans, some policies dictate that certain approval steps be taken before commencing care. Sometimes these are granted freely and sometimes it’s virtually impossible.
Be careful that you don’t allow your health to be compromised by the profit motives of an insurance company or the petty bias or jealousy of a gatekeeper who doesn’t understand chiropractic! It’s your body, your health and your future.
Today’s chiropractic education has an emphasis on science. The fact is educational requirements for today’s chiropractors are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
Several decades ago the education that chiropractors received was purposely narrow. Without the interest in prescribing medicines or performing surgery, chiropractic education focused on anatomy, the philosophy of natural healing, the wisdom of the body and adjusting techniques. Today’s chiropractor receives a much broader education. In fact, it’s quite comparable to that received by medical practitioners.
Before acceptance to a four-year chiropractic college, prospective chiropractors must complete a minimum of two years of undergraduate work with a heavy emphasis on the basic sciences. This focus on science continues during the first two years of study, emphasizing classroom and laboratory work in anatomy, physiology, public health, microbiology, pathology and biochemistry. Later, the focus is on specialized subjects, including chiropractic philosophy and practice, along with chiropractic diagnosis and adjusting methods. Since chiropractors don’t prescribe drugs, instead of studying pharmacology and surgery, they receive an even deeper training in anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation, nutrition, diagnosis, X-ray and a variety of adjusting techniques that aren’t taught in any other health care field.
Criticizing the educational achievements of today’s chiropractor is an outdated belief from another era.
John McMillam Mennell, MD, Medicine, Monopolies and Malice, 1996, Avery Publishing, Garden City, NJ pp. 121, 154-155.
Your notion of a “real” doctor probably conforms to a prototype generated by the mass media. Many have come to think of a doctor as someone who prescribes advice and drugs or performs surgery. Sporting a white lab coat or surgical scrubs with a stethoscope at the neck, doctors are seen as all-knowing, omnipotent and able to save patients in 60 minutes, less commercials.
A medical doctor (MD) and a doctor of chiropractic (DC) are both doctors and have received a doctoral degree from government accredited medical school or chiropractic colleges.
But that’s where the similarity ends because each discipline looks at health and healing in different ways.
- Sees the disease
- Kills germs
- Studies the blood
- Relies on drugs
- Treats symptoms
Doctors of Chiropractic
- Sees the person with the disease
- Increases your resistance to germs
- Improves nervous system integrity
- Reduces causes of nerve interference
- Promotes proper bodily function
Clearly, these are two very different philosophies. Yet, each has its place. If you have broken bones or you’re bleeding by the side of the highway, you want the heroic lifesaving measures of emergency medical treatment. But if you have chronic aches and pains or whole body health issues, you want the health restoration possible that is the focus of chiropractic care.
This is the “Let sleeping dogs lie” approach to health care! I feel fine. Why do I need to see a doctor?
These are folks who never miss a day of work in their life and then out of the blue, drop dead of a heart attack.
That’s the problem with the lifestyle-induced health problems facing our culture. They quietly fester in the background, slowly worsening, often without any obvious symptom. Arterial plague builds up. Blood pressure rises. Certain foods now cause heartburn. Every morning you get out of bed a little bit slower and stiffer. You hardly notice the incremental change.
Ironically, these are often the same folks who religiously change their oil and do other preventive maintenance to lengthen the life, appearance and performance of their car!
If you’re one to avoid doctors, you’ll love visiting a chiropractor. No shots. No yucky medicine. No “healthier-than-thou” attitude. No preaching.
Most medical doctors are unfamiliar with chiropractic and the principles by which it works. Many are still operating under the policy perpetuated by the illegal boycott of chiropractors by the American Medical Association.
On September 25, 1987, a United States Federal judge ruled that the AMA had violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act, and that it had engaged in an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade “to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession.” The judge issued a permanent injunction against the AMA under Section 16 of the Clayton Act to prevent such future behavior.
Fortunately, more and more enlightened medical doctors see the value in chiropractic care.
“Instead of thinking of chiropractic as an alternative or some kind of therapy separate from other health care, we really should consider it equivalent.”
Paul Shekelle, M.D., Ph.D., The RAND Corporation
“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” This is why I frequently refer patients to chiropractors as well as acupuncturists, massage therapists, osteopaths, or to any one I feel may have something to offer my patient.”
David Perlmutter, M.D., Dynamic Chiropractic, July 31, 1992, Volume 10, Issue 16
“I’m a surgeon, and chiropractors don’t threaten me. But they do threaten some of the primary care doctors. The bottom line is this: We’re supposed to take care of folks. If doctors cannot move a patient from one player to the next in a team, we’re not doing what we need to do.”
Larry Teuber, MD
- Brin, Dinah Wisenberg, July 2 1998, Study Credits Chiropractors with Right Procedures,” The Scranton Times, 14+.
- Dynamic Chiropractic, July 31, 1992, Volume 10, Issue 16.
- How medical doctors view chiropractic today” Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, Aug 1999.
Parents report that many childhood health problems resolve with chiropractic care. Why would a child have a spine and nervous system problem? Traumatic births. Learning to walk. Slips. Falls. The list is endless. Yet, because children have such an adaptive capacity, these problems are often brushed off as “growing pains” or just a “phase they’re going through.”
“As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
Many research projects show chiropractic care being helpful for colic, ear infections, erratic sleeping habits, bed-wetting, asthma, scoliosis, “growing pains” and many other common childhood health complaints.
The concern that many parents have is that chiropractic adjustments will be too forceful. They mistakenly think that their child will receive adjustments like one ones they receive. Not only are adjusting techniques modified for each person’s size and unique spinal problem, an infant’s spine rarely has the long-standing muscle tightness seen in adults. This makes a child’s chiropractic adjustments gentle, comfortable and effective.
Knowing exactly where to adjust, newborns and infants are adjusted with no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato. Many parents have commented that they see almost instant improvements in the well-being of their child.
It’s a scientific fact that your nervous system controls everything. If you define it as the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment and then testing the resulting hypotheses, then today’s chiropractic is quite scientific. Because it’s based on the scientific fact that the nervous system controls and regulates virtually every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body.
Don’t be misled by the “low-tech” nature of chiropractic adjustments! Countless studies support the chiropractic approach to reducing nerve disturbance along the spine, enhancing the ability of the brain and nerve system to control and regulate the body. These include published research documenting the results of chiropractic care on asthma, infantile colic, immune function, dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), improving vision and brain function, lower back pain, one’s overall health status and many others. The “scientific” argument is largely a red herring and the sign of a double standard. Medical economist David Eddy, MD, Ph.D., observes that only 15% of medical procedures have ever been scientifically verified, and the other 85% of common medical procedures have no “scientific basis!”
Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. Ask a couple of chiropractic patients whether chiropractic is scientific.
- Grey’s Anatomy, Henry Gray F.R.S.
- Smith, R. Where is the wisdom? BMJ 1991; 303(Oct 5): 798-799.
- Paul Shekelle, MD, MPH, Head of a back study of RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA,1992, Medicine, Monopolies and Malice, pp. 49, 199, 208.
- John Carey, Medical Guesswork. Business Week, May 29, 2006, 73-79.
Some dismiss the results that chiropractic patients receive as merely the placebo effect. These cynics virtually ignore the mind/body connection that most forward-thinking health care experts are finally recognizing.
A placebo (from the Latin ‘I will please’) is often a sugar pill or some type of sham treatment that invokes the beliefs of the patient, and in the case of double blind studies, the beliefs of the doctor. Some studies show that placebos can be 30% to 40% effective.
Should the consistent results that today’s chiropractic care produces be simply chalked up to the placebo effect and a caring personality?
Hardly. While it’s always helpful if the patient believes the care they’re receiving will help them, chiropractic care regularly helps newborns, infants and even horses and house pets for which the power of the believing mind is clearly not a factor.
If these myths were true, chiropractic would have disappeared long ago, just like bloodletting and countless other ineffective procedures. But not only has chiropractic survived, it’s thriving as more and more people want a safe and natural approach to better health that avoids drugs or surgery.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 – 1860)
Recent research has found no significant association between chiropractic visits and strokes.
On June 16, 2015 the online journal Chiropractic and Manual Therapies published an article entitled “Chiropractic Care and the risk of vertebrobasiliar stroke: results of a case-control study in the U.S. commercial and Medicare Advantage populations” by Kosloff et al. The article concluded there was no significant association between exposure to chiropractic care and the risk of VBA stoke”
The study was completed using United Healthcare data of 35,726,224 commercial members and 3,188,825 Medicare Advantage members from 49 states. The analysis was conducted by researchers at Optum Health of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The following details were present in the study:
“…our results showed there was no significant association between VBA stoke and chiropractic visits.”
“…our results did lend credence to previous reports that VBA stroke occurs more frequently in patients under the age of 45.”
“There was no significant association, when the data were sufficient to calculate estimates, between chiropractic visits and stroke regardless of the hazard period (timing of most recent visit to a chiropractor and the occurrence of stroke.)”
Thomas M. Kosloff, David Elton, Jiang Tao, Wade M. Bannister Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2015, 23:19 (16 June 2015)