Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, July 18, 2004

What is "Real" Chiropractic?

Since I am a Physical Therapist and chiroskeptic, I am often accused of opposing chiropractic because of a turf war. Not true. My skepticism began already as a youth, far before I became a PT. My skepticism is primarily because of ethical and scientific issues. Being a PT only puts me in a better position to understand chiropractic.

That's why I like to use quotes from chiropractors themselves. They, after all, often understand their profession best. Here is a very precise and extremely accurate description of what "real" chiropractic is all about, and this chiropractor finds it repulsive:

"Imagine how hard it is for a wellness chiropractor to convince a
new patient that they need 20 treatments a year when that
patient's previous DC had a "treat and release" practice.

Conversely, how many thousands of people have been turned off
by those who practice with a "philosophy" geared toward
overutilization driven by greed? Where is the literature to
support the "catastrophic effects" the vast majority of the
people on this planet supposedly suffer because they are not
receiving regular manipulations? Where are the insurance
studies to prove that people who go to the chiropractor 15 or 20
times a year, whether they have pain or not, have fewer injuries,
less illness, longer lives, or lower health care costs?”

After listing a number of things he would and would not do as a responsible DC (in contrast to the irresponsible ones), he continues:

"I understand there are many who feel that a "real" chiropractor
would not practice this way. Fine. If being a real DC means
wellness care, asymptomatic care, excessive x-rays, poor
working relationships with MDs, rejection of scientific data,
bizarre techniques, outrageous claims, and the same treatment
each visit regardless of the problem, then I don't want to be a
"real" DC.” The only thing "real" DCs and I agree upon is that
we would both like the public to look at our title and have an
idea of what we do. Maybe all DCs would benefit if those of us
who reject pseudoscientific subluxation-based philosophical
chirobabble (designed to addict the world to manipulation)
had a different title. I would proudly introduce myself as a
medipractor, a treatipractor, a physical medicine therapist, a
doctor of chiropractic medicine, or whatever it would take to
inform the public there is a basic difference."
- G. Douglas Andersen, DC

Andersen is not a typical chiropractor! He isn't afraid to tell the real truth about his "profession". Unfortunately, sensible chiropractors like him are rare, and they are viciously attacked and persecuted by their colleagues. Reform seems to be impossible.

Read the whole article!