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, May 01, 2005

The Chiropractic Subluxation is Dead, Time Magazine

The Time article follows this introduction, which comes from a discussion on the Healthfraud Discussion List:

> It is absurd to say that the private association(s) governing
> chiropractic would need to wait for all of the political jurisdictions
> to first change the language of applicable statutes.
> Clearly if the governing chiropractic standards group changes a
> fundamental rule, then the statutes would be routinely revised to
> conform. I say this as one who worked over 30 years in a state
> legislative arena. The radical traditional Palmerites would oppose
> reform. Almost nothing is a slam-dunk in legislation.
> I can see that it would be against chiropractic's "political"
> interests in a wider sense because it would point to one of the
> fundamental flaws, and that is also perceived as being against the
> economic interests of chiropractic. It could be argued that being
> truthful and scientific would in the end be more politic and
> economic, but then, chiropractic has lasted this long by other
> means, and that is the real problem.
> Cheers, Stan
> ------------------------------
> Stan Ulrich ... su@*****.net
> ------------------------------

Stan is quite right. If the profession really wanted to change it, it could happen, but it would be suicidal to do it, simply because of the nature of the beast.

Using the concept from my earlier post today about Chiropractic Oranges, if chiropractic were to officially admit that it had been selling oranges all along, but been deceptively calling them apples, many people would lose confidence in chiropractic.

Even worse, if it were to officially admit that it had been treating a fictive lesion all these years, it would also have a problem.

I can just see the article now:

Time Magazine
April 8, 2016

The Chiropractic Subluxation is Dead

Fifty years ago - on April 8, 1966 - this magazine's cover queried "Is God Dead?". Well, at that time, the doubt implied in the question had already been around for some time. Nietzsche had long since proclaimed that "God is dead". Skeptics and atheists had been living with that belief for ages, and had always challenged true believers to prove that God existed. Hence the question.

You may wonder "What does this have to do with chiropractic?" Well, it's rather simple. You see, chiropractic (just like all true believers) has been proclaiming, right from the start, that it alone could find and correct the "chiropractic subluxation". Medical doctors and scientists, just like skeptics and atheists, have always challenged chiropractic to prove the existence of this mythical lesion, but chiropractic has never succeeded in doing so. Instead it has constantly changed the definition, in order to avoid being pinned down.

In spite of a lack of ability by chiropractors to consistently find x-ray proof for these chiropractic subluxations, Congress passed a law in 1972 enabling chiropractors to collect from Medicare for "manual manipulation of the spine (to correct a subluxation demonstrated by x-ray to exist)".

This was the start of the legalization of a hoax. Chiropractors could then bill for the treatment of a nonexistent lesion, and they didn't even provide the proof required by law. Sometimes they even sent in x-rays of other lesions, but just called it a "bla bla bla subluxation". But most of the time they sent in bills without any proof at all.

This situation was ridiculous, and in January 2000, the requirement for x-ray documentation was dropped. Since then there has been no control at all, and they can make it up as they go along - AND still bill for it.

Since then it has been legal to lie (well, . . . to tell an untruth) and get paid for it. But, in a strange way, this makes sense, since a chiropractic subluxation has never yet been proven to exist. Since 1973, treatment - with financial compensation - has been performed anyway, in spite of this lack of x-ray proof. The lack of agreement between the legal requirement, and what was actually possible, was resolved, by accepting a farce as legal: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation. A lot of illegal things in society could easily be "solved" by just making them legal in this way. The illegal "misuse" of narcotics could easily be solved if the "mis" was removed from the law. Problem solved, right? Wrong!

But now, after all these years, things have changed. Chiropractic was founded in 1895, and now, after 121 years of deception and self-deception, the chiropractic profession has finally been forced to admit that its wild goose chase has been in vain.

It has, in every aspect of its education, practice and marketing, constantly claimed that it was treating a lesion - the so-called "chiropractic subluxation" - when in fact it was misnaming myriad real and imaginary conditions with a "subluxation" title, in order to retain its uniqueness, and in order to get paid by Medicare and insurance companies.

Well, what the scientific community and medical system have been claiming all along has been true - that chiropractic's "subluxation" doesn't exist - and chiropractic has capitulated and admitted that it was wrong all along.

The consequences for the profession are disastrous. Now anyone who continues to use the title "chiropractor" or "DC", will be publicly announcing, "I am a deluded practitioner of a false system of health care." Now, who on earth will seek such a practitioner for healthcare? Believe it or not, some people will still do it.

In fact, some people will probably continue to seek an education as a chiropractor, in spite of the fact that the "DC" degree is widely considered to be "the herpes of all degrees." (Yes, a chiropractor came up with that one!)

An old chiropractic joke goes like this:

A little boy and his dad were walking around a cemetery. On one of the tombstones it said


The boy asked "Dad, what is a 'chiropractor'?"

The dad replies, "Son, they no longer exist. They were like the dinosaurs. They failed to adapt to their changing environment."

I suggest that a tombstone be raised with the following text:

Here Lies Chiropractic

Born: 1895

Died: Slowly & painfully

Father: Deluded Deceived Palmer

Cause of death: Failed attempt to adjust a malignant intracranial belief in subluxations.

This tomb is built over the remains of the chiropractic profession, a failed system of health care, based on a figment of the imagination of a manipulative, amateurish, self-deceived visionary. Refusing to accept that it was based on a false idea, and absorbed with its expansionistic political agenda for domination at the expense of other health care professions, it blindly pursued an ethically and scientifically bankrupt path, until its nakedness was apparent to all, it being clothed in the very illusion of its own making.

This tomb is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the chiropractic profession: the dead, paralyzed, injured and brainwashed patients; the chiropractic students misled by their education; the DCs who joined a deceptive profession; their families; the unwitting legislators they duped; the insurance companies and Medicare they bilked; and the entire health care system.

It is hoped that this monument to a colossal delusion, will serve as a warning to future generations.

"May it never be resurrected!"