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FAQ 1: The Many Problems of Chiropractic - (Read 3,656 Times)
 
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Post Icon Posted: Sep 17th, 2014 at 06:50 pm

Welcome to Chirotalk. My name is Allen Botnick DC. I am a chiropractor who graduated magna cum laude from Life University in 1996. After practicing over a two year period, I was disturbed with the poor preparation I received at my chiropractic college, particularly in the subject of diagnosis which has resulted in numerous documented deaths and injuries among students, faculty and alumni. You can read more about me in the article "Why I Quit Chiropractic" at Chirobase.org.

As I investigated the problems at my school I gained an awareness that contrary to the representation that problems were isolated to a few maverick individuals or even schools, corruption is actually widespread and systemic within the chiropractic profession.

The aim of this discussion forum is to explore the many claims and issues within chiropractic using a skeptical approach to discern truth from fiction. Chirotalk has been successful and an awareness of these problems has risen among the manipulative professions of physical therapy and osteopathy. Unfortunately we are a long way before we see this awareness transferred to the politicians responsible for the laws governing the field and its educational institutions. Only by effecting meaningful legislation to disqualify scientifically questionable institutions from financial aid program will there be adequate protection for prospective students. Until then they must be vigilant not to truth claims from official sources without independent verification from individuals without vested interest.

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS IN CHIROPRACTIC?

Chiropractors suffer from the lowest prestige in the health professions determined by Gallup poll and struggle to survive financially. Surveys show that half of chiropractic graduates leave practice within five years. Medical doctors consider chiropractic the basement of health care and patients often rank them about as trustworthy as used car salesmen, and for good reason. Just as one wouldn't trust a used car salesman to provide a reliable car (unless it came with a warranty) you likewise can't trust chiropractors to make competent diagnoses and provide rational, effective treatment. Because chiropractic is self regulated, it permits unscientific quackery to flourish and generally looks the other way at false advertising and other misconduct. At best, chiropractic is an unnecessary health care profession that is completely redundant to osteopathy with nothing more to offer those unfortunate enough to choose it as a career.

At Chirotalk we explore the reasons why this occurs.

DOES THIS SITE EXAGGERATE THE PROBLEMS IN CHIROPRACTIC? EVERY FIELD HAS A FEW BAD APPLES.

Chiropractic is unique in that these practices are institutional, not just isolated instances from a few bad individuals. In chiropractic there is an unethical "ends justifies the means" mentality where financial success is prized and respected above everything else. People considering chiropractic are usually lured in by unrealistic exaggerated earnings statistics published in official government sources but which actually originate from chiropractic trade groups with close ties to chiropractic colleges. Then admissions personnel at chiropractic use false and misleading advertising to further induce prospective students to enroll. In 2003 Grod and Sikorski found that most chiropractic colleges use the lax regulatory environment of nonprofit groups to engage in false and misleading advertising. Cult recruitment and indoctrination is a matter of course at many chiropractic programs which flourish in a permission climate of no government protections for citizens. As Nonprofit organizations chiropractic programs are not regulated by the Federal Trade Commission as businesses should be but instead are controlled by an accreditor called the Council on Chiropractic education who has a history of rubber stamping violations and creating loopholes in their guidelines to seriously undermine clinical training so much that at many programs students get virtually no real experience with performing real diagnosis on actual sick patients. For most students their clinical training ends up being a questionable internship treating friends, family and asymptomatic patients that they have to recruit themselves or face redoing the course at their own expense.

Perpetuation of Unethical Practices

Ethics are questionable throughout the entire field. Chiropractic students receive a reframed version of ethics where unethical practices that really would be considered malpractice through fraud and overutilization are redefined under the false assumption that treatments are necessary and valuable when they are not. Graduates become extremely angry when they learn that they have been misled into tricking patients into treatment systems that are biomechanically ineffective, leading to a frustrating cycle of never ending treatment with no resolution of the original biomechanical problems. Developmentally this is bad for health care because by pretending these conditions are being cured when they are not the field stops trying to develop treatments that could really work and solve the problem.

Current State Laws Protect Quacks

Pseudoscience and overutilization is allowable under state law because legally chiropractic is defined around metaphysics. Chiropractic leaders and organizations know this but mislead chiropractors by putting a false front of legitimacy using cherry picked research. The bottom line is that everything unique about chiropractic is unethical: overutilization, patient dependency, misinformation, unnecessary deaths from inappropriate cervical manipulation and false advertising. So there really would be no significant loss in eliminating chiropractic from the health professions. In fact, chiropractic is in serious decline and had a utilization drop of 25% from 1997 to 2002.

WHY DO YOU REFER TO CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS AS MANIPULATIONS?

Chiropractic schools teach that chiropractic adjustments are superior to manipulations by physical therapists and osteopathic physicians. The rationale behind this is the claim that chiropractic techniques are better because they are either able to realign vertebra or increase mobility. It has been shown that both of these claims are false. So because the evidence shows that chiropractors are not accomplishing any tangible effect beyond what any other style of manipulation can accomplish, the most accurate description for their procedures is to say they are equivalent to the manipulations of any healthcare provider.

WHY DO YOU REFER TO CHIROPRACTIC AS A TRADE INSTEAD OF A PROFESSION?

A profession is defined as a vocation that is based on legitimate knowledge. Chiropractic is based on a metaphysical concept that is used to justify an unethical care system that has been extensively debunked by science and unnecessarily puts patients at risk for stroke, injuring hundreds of people per year. Because it is based on pseudoscience and misinformation rather than fact it does not not deserve to be called a profession.

DO YOU ADVOCATE THE ELIMINATION OF CHIROPRACTIC?

Yes. Due to the many ingrained ethical problems we see chiropractic institutions as opportunists who have exploited the private nonprofit regulations to perpetuate a dangerous and wasteful system of pseudo-health care on the public.

Every year in the United States an estimated 355 people are seriously injured or killed from chiropractic strokes. Many of these are completely unnecessary and preventable, making this a true tragedy. The reasons for this are numerous but include:


Chiropractor applies treatment as first line therapy without trying less risky alternatives.
Chiropractor ignores clinical prediction rules so that people who don't respond to manipulation will receive unnecessary treatment.
Chiropractor treats without evidence of medical necessity.
Chiropractor uses rotary neck adjustments rather than less forceful, non-rotational methods.


There is no reason to tolerate strokes that can be easily prevented and the profession should be ashamed of trying to cover this problem up rather than face it head on.

Is Chiropractic Really Separate and Distinct?

Not in its current form. Manipulation itself is shared with osteopathy and physical therapy. Manipulation is no different between these providers. Some chiropractors have started a new field called structural rehabilitation that tries to correct postural faults using traction and mirror image exercises. However this approach is not yet validated and suffers from a methodological flaw of not integrating multiple intersegmental vertebral realignment into gross postural corrections. For this reason, it is premature to consider the field a true, validated niche in health care.

Regarding the integration of chiropractic into physical therapy, this is readily achievable. Manipulation itself is a simple procedure that does not require years of specialized training to learn. Medicine can easily absorb the good elements of chiropractic and deliver it more safely, more cheaply and without chiropractic's dependence on overutilization.

Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover

When trying to understand chiropractic motivation it is best to look to the individuals in control, its leaders. Sidney Earle Williams DC aka "Sid E. Williams DC" (pictured below), is a popular chiropractic practice management cult guru who has successfully reached the upper levels of chiropractic leadership.



A recent photo (2006) shows Sid Williams DC (left) giving students and chiropractors
attending his quarterly Dynamic Essentials practice management meetings an
ostentatious display of wealth to in order to convey an image of success


In addition to running the quarterly Dynamic Essentials practice management seminars, Williams is the former president of the International Chiropractors Association and the founder of the Life University College of Chiropractic; once the largest chiropractic program in the world. At first glance Williams appears to be a good role model for chiropractors: successful, generous and caring. The following passage is from a book on achievement he authored.

“The first step toward establishing an achievement mindset, of course, is to learn to love, serve and give out of your own abundance just for the sake of doing it and for no other reason."
-Sid Williams. Lasting Purpose. Health Communications: Deerfield Beach, FA. November 1996. p. 51.


This type of benevolent pitch resonates with young, idealistic, prospective chiropractic students because they would like to make a positive difference in the world and so we see this as a common theme in chiropractic program advertisements. But to learn Williams' true nature we need to see him behind closed doors. Take for example a 1989 practice management seminar for chiropractors. In the following excerpts he becomes as mean spirited as one can get, advocating that attendees engage in actions that would normally be considered unethical and even illegal for personal financial gain.

In the following statement he rationalizes away injuries and deaths due to malpractice from a failure to diagnose:

I’m asking you: what do you want? What do you really want to do? Do you want to be afraid every time you adjust a patient, because you don't know what's wrong with him? What kind of disease does he have? They've all got diseases. The minute we're born aren't we going downhill? How many people have been here a long time? I notice a lot of my friends; they keep disappearing. Do you know what I'm saying? -Sid Williams. The Meadowlands Experience. Transcript from the Dynamic Essentials practice management conference. 1989. p. 20.


Here he promotes malpractice by advocating willful refusal to refer patients for necessary medical treatment:

The observations of deviations from the normal do not necessitate the naming of a specific disease. Do you understand? So Chiropractors observe deviations from the normal. That doesn't mean we refer every patient who has all these deviations from the normal....What do you think? What do you think as a Chiropractor who left a subluxated person who subluxation might in all probability have been directly involved in a primal sense with the appendicitis?....It is your primary responsibility to accept that patient if they have a vertebral subluxation, even though the deviation from the normal observations are there that would indicate a referral. -Sid Williams. ibid. p.43-44.


Here he reminds chiropractors that they will make less money by following the accepted standard of care:

I saw a diagnostic paper last night on the subject of adjusting a severe strain or sprain with the medical ethics on top of you. You people who are not writing down the subluxation as the basic problem in a whiplash personal-injury case, do you know what the medical standards of care says? No manipulative procedures for the first six weeks. -Sid Williams. ibid. p.69.)


Here he encourages chiropractors to look past the negative consequences of malpractice and consider the amount of money to be made:

I accept all cases regardless of the condition. Now when you do that, what kind of potential do you got in your little town of four or five or ten thousand people...what do you see? All this potential. -Sid Williams. Ibid. p.77.


See "The Selling of the Spine" (click) for more information about Sid E. Williams DC.

PATIENTS ARE BEING HARMED BY CHIROPRACTIC

As you can see from these sources, for all the noble messages of loving and serving others the real core of chiropractic is a self serving scam of using existing quackery sanctioning state licensure laws to make as much money as possible while disregarding, denying and often hiding the harmful consequences to patients which include: unnecessarily pain due to ineffective manipulations which would never have been given had a clinical prediction rule been used, unnecessary strokes from cervical rotation manipulations that need never had occurred, and injury due to avoidance of necessary medical diagnosis and treatment. Most chiropractors are so blinded by propaganda that seeks to minimize these problems that they don't realize that in reality they cause many patients a great deal of harm, sometimes even killing them.

CHIROPRACTIC HARMS CHIROPRACTORS AND SCAPEGOATS THEM FOR INSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS

Chiropractors are harmed both physically due to being injured from the false beliefs they were indoctrinated with and when they are made the scapegoats and fall guys for illegal schemes. Chiropractors attending strong anti-medical programs are generally poorly trained in diagnosis and easily fall for fraudulent disease coding and billing fraud schemes by employers seeking to use them as fall guys. Many new junior chiropractic associates find themselves under investigation, have lost licenses and faced fines and prison terms for simply following treatment instructions given by employers seeking to pad bills with unnecessary treatment. State chiropractic boards don't hold colleges accountable for fraud schemes that have been taught which, aside from the complaints of a few maverick instructors, are always covered up rather than facing the public shame of admiting that the field's problems start at the top. It is much easier to scapegoat individual chiropractors, many who are so indoctrinated with misinformation that they don't feel that they have done anything wrong.

Chiropractors also suffer from being chiropractic patients themselves. Like other groups that have been indoctrinated to fear medical treatment, many chiropractors have irrational beliefs that lead them to delay treatment of serious medical problems which allows them to progress to a serious state and prevent successful cure. In the chiropractic colleges section I have documented many individuals, especially instructors, at Sid Williams' school which died unnecessarily due to ignoring serious symptoms that persisted and ended up killing them.

CHIROPRACTIC HARMS STUDENTS

In addition to the widespread problem of false advertising arising from the lack of effective regulatory oversight, there are many documented cases of chiropractic students who have suffered strokes or been injured or killed due to unnecessary delays for medical care to treat a serious disease.

WHAT ABOUT REFORMING THE PROFESSION?

The tasks that would need to be accomplished to successfully reform chiropractic are formidable. They include:

1) Use biomechanically accurate and effective systems of treatment.
2) Condemn disproven treatments.
3) Closely integrate with medicine to provide comprehensive and justifiable care.
4) Expand their scope to include prescriptions and injections

Let's look at these factors individually:

Use biomechanically accurate and effective systems of treatment

Quackery is rampant in chiropractic. A rough estimate shows about 100 techniques with 20 in common usage. The reason is because it is very easy to get a new method approved and into common usage. While in medicine evidence takes a central role in the use of a treatment, in chiropractic the most important consideration is a practitioner's experience and personal bias. Chiropractors ignore research that contradicts their own bias. All of the methods tested on by national licensing boards are outdated and biomechanically inaccurate because they do not account for all of the motions occurring and do not account for posture. Further, chiropractic schools are allowed to teach any methods they choose and many teach the same methods that chiropractors would have learned in the early 1900s.

Some chiropractic researchers and programs teach correct posture analysis (groups of vertebra) while continuing to teach incorrect intersegmental listings (two bone).

Currently there are no treatments which incorporate both posture and intersegmental corrections simultaneously. In fact, it is impossible to do this by hand so future clinicians will require the assistance of new equipment to accomplish this. Ideally this would be done at home, greatly reducing the number of office visits and eliminating a good deal of income for chiropractors.

All chiropractic programs teach false biomechanics which assumes that vertebral motion occurs independant of neutral position.

The most mistake chiropractors make is using palpation assessment for the end feel of joints. This procedure has been proven not relible in multiple studies yet it is core curriculum in all chiropractic colleges. Joint end feel is always secondary to postural malpositions that are not included in assessments. It is ironic that chiropractors, who proclaim themselves to be so interested in biomechanics, can't even understand this fact.

Here's an example where Motion Palpation Institute instructor Terry Elder DC misinterprets the pain his patients feel as a result of forcing abnormal extension into an anteriorly translated joint as a good thing. In reality he is just spraining his patient's thoracic spines:

Recently I ran across D.D. Palmer's recollection of the adjustment on Harvey Lillard. He describes a procedure where he contacted the spinous process of the T4 vertebrae and "racked" it back into position. This adjustment, semantics aside, sounds amazingly like an adjustment taught by the Motion Palpation Institute for the hyperextension of T4-T5. Many practitioners no longer utilize spinous contacts and therefore the art of adjusting for hyperextension has been lost. Hyperextension is a very important movement and the inability to perform hyperextension on the thoracic spine often leaves the patient with anterior head carriage, scalenes that function as extensors instead of flexors (contributory to all types of thoracic outlet syndromes), and a host of symptoms we typically treat. Most practitioners realize that when patients need that "deep" adjustment it might not be particularly comfortable, but it is essential in returning that patient to normal health.



-Terry Elder. "Time Marches On." April 10, 1995. Dynamic Chiropractic.

A good analogy is that if one were driving a car and you misaligned a tire one would expect it to lose motion in certain directions, however the solution isn't to force the misaligned tire against its lack of motion but to realign and stabilize the tire. Chiropractors do none of these things. They don't realign the joints into posturally acccurate neutral positions. They don't use prolotherapy which would allow them to stabilize the joints. Instead chiropractors injure patients by forcing abnormal motion into the spines of their patients and observe a large number of adverse effects from the treatment; around 50%. Is it any wonder so many use instrument adjusting to reduce the force when the results are so harmful?

Because chiropractic fails in any semblance of true biomechanics there is no way it could succeed in correcting vertebral subluxations for the majority of patients. This explains why chiropractors are known for never releasing patients and hard selling lifetime manipulation care plans that create a mindset of dependency and prevent inquiry into better treatments that could actually cure these problems rather than just cover up their symptoms.

Condemn disproven treatments

A high priority in chiropractic is maintaining the appearance of being in control and superior to medicine in their own field. Chiropractic has not yet developed a validated treatment system to replace the inaccurate ones so it does not want to risk alienating private practitioners who rely on the outdated methods they were taught by publically announcing that the treatments are not effective for correcting the biomechanical problems that they supposedly help.

Closely integrate with medicine to provide comprehensive and justifiable care

Chiropractic indoctrination in schools teaches students that they are superior to medical physicians by presenting propaganda that exaggerates the problems in medicine while minimizing the benefits. Unfortunately, biomechanical problems do not just include joint rigidity that might be treated by them but also ligament damage causing laxity that could require surgical correction. To fully rehabilitate the spine chiropractors would need to invent protocols showing when to refer to orthopedical surgeons to best manage patient outcomes.

4) Expand their scope to include prescriptions and injections

Even if chiropractors were restoring normal neutral positions to groups of vertebra by using biomechanically accurate treatments, normal function would never return if some sort of passive stabilization in addition to muscle strengthening is not adopted. Currently, the only stabilization treatments chiropractors can legally use in most states are rehabilitative exercise both functional rehabilitation and mirror image (structural rehabilitation). Both of these are ineffective against ligament laxity. So as soon as patients stop exercising their spines become unstable and their problems recur.

The scope of practice of chiropractors is too limited to treat these patients because they will never get better. A solution is present in the field of medicine however but chiropractic's inability to see this problem prevents it from expanding its scope to include it. The treatment is called prolotherapy (aka sclerotherapy). The treatment requires the injection of an irritating solution into ligaments which causes them to become inflammed and heal stronger than they were before. This treatment is ideal for creating a permanent stabilization for weakened ligaments. Chiropractors also need to expand their scope to include prescriptions for steroids to treat whiplash patients as well as pain killers and muscle relaxants. Only in the state of Oregon are chiropractors permitted to inject and prescribe medication (New Mexico recently tried but numerous straight chiropractic advocates protested and defeated their initiative) but to my knowledge no DCs exist who are certified in prolotherapy, use it and have shown repeatable clinical outcomes in published research against this condition.

To get some idea of how difficult it is to correct this deficient scope of practice it can be noted that every national state chiropractic association and several prominent college officials and chiropractic leaders has condemned scope expansion as being against chiropractic's original scope of practice and tradition. They have no interest in curing patients, only delivering manipulations and misleading the public into thinking that their symptom based care is curative when it clearly is not.

In spite of the difficulties, officials from several medically aligned chiropractic colleges, including National University of Health Sciences president James Winterstein DC and Reed Phillips DC DACBR The former president of Southern California University of Health Sciences have started a new national chiropractic association called the American Academy of Chiropractic Physicians which promotes the scope expansion necessary to modernize chiropractic and allow it to be biomechanically effective. We support this movement. For more information contact AACP at http://www.aacp.net.

It remains to be seen whether chiropractic will ever admit that it has failed for the purpose of biomechanical correction and it is too risky to advise anyone to go into the field for a career. So far it has never taken steps to do so in any area and has promoted fraudulent schemes across the profession while declaring its innocence and berating critics as having ulterior motives.

Given its history we doubt chiropractic will reform easily and predict a good deal of intraprofessional debate. Two previous evidence based movements, the orthopractic movement and National Association for Chiropractic Medicine, both died due to lack of interest. Chiropractors knowing the true situation live a lie where they are forced to sell a treatment to cure spinal problems that really just covers them up. Individuals seeking to improve the field would be much better off going into osteopathic programs which have the scope of practice and professional ethics requires to practice legitimate treatment of biomechanical disorders.

Another problem is the fact that reimbursement is closely tied to patient visits. The prolotherapy treatment suggested here is curative so care would end eventually. The current state of chiropractic treatment is only palliative and can't cure their problems. So if a condition is not self-resolving patients become dependent on frequent life-time care (known as "maintenance care") in the industry. Chiropractic uses many beliefs designed to justify their failures by blaming it elsewhere: either on patients for lack of compliance or care stated too late, on the chiropractors themselves who may be criticized for having poor technique that needs to be corrected by using another more effective technique or more practice with the one they use, a favorite seminar selling technique. New techniques never address the underlying issues so the never ending care schemes continue.

Given their indoctrination and dependence on repeat visits for income there is simply no incentive for chiropractic to evolve into a profession that is willing to cure patients rather than keep them sick.

These problems are serious hurdles and should not be taken lightly. The chance that chiropractic will be able to overcome them is questionable. Due to this, we recommend that students considering a career as a chiropractor not take the risk and instead choose recognized fields like physical therapy and osteopathy where achievement and evidence are valued rather than denigrated.

CAN'T CHIROPRACTIC JUST BE REFORMED?

Probably not. Reform has been tried for years and has failed every time. Reformers are denounced as heretics and suffer vicious personal attacks to detract from the problems that chiropractors profit from and don't want to bring to light. One reformist group, the National Association for Chiropractic Medicine, publically criticized false claims for years yet even at its peak only claimed so small a percentage of chiropractors that the profession denied it was even representative. None of the chiropractic colleges adopted guidelines mandating science based practice and close appraisal of college materials show that even at the most rigorous chiropractic colleges quackery and misinformation is common.

The biggest problem is a conflict where the historic chiropractic field is legally defined around the idea of treating manipulatable lesions yet in most cases these lesions have been found to be secondary effects of other underlying problems. So chiropractic is trapped in a situation where it can not treat the true causes of patient complaints because these are already addressed by the other health professions. Without the ability to provide effective treatment for a legitimate health condition, chiropractors are trapped in a frustrating scope which depends on patient dependency and false claims of efficacy against biomechanical problems. This unavoidable no win situation is a significant cause of why practicing chiropractors become frustrated and eventually leave the field.

THE OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK PROMOTES CHIROPRACTIC AS A GROWING PROFESSION, WHY DO YOU SAY IT IS IN DECLINE?

The truth is that chiropractic is in decline and has been for some time. From 1997 to 2002 chiropractic utilization dropped 25% (Tindle HA. Trends in use of complementary and alternative medicine by US adults: 1997-2002. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Jan-Feb;11(1):42-9). Reimbusement also dropped about 20%. The reasons for this serious decline are:

Increasing number of chiropractic school graduates
Managed care requirements that new chiropractors can not join panels until they have three years of experience
Creation of the internet which allowed consumers to quickly reach truthful information about chiropractic and show that chiropractors were recommending inappropriate treatment
Medical advances which provide cures instead of palliative treatment, making chiropractic treatment obsolete


The information in the Occupational Outlook Handbook is outdated and presents an overly optimistic and unrealistic view of the true future. Even when it was first released, the information was suspect because its writers, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, did not verify that the information provided by chiropractic trade groups and organizations was factual.
Click here for an analysis of the Handbook.

Another problem is that the default rate calculation for student loans was changed so that consolidated loans in default are not included in the rate, hiding a large number of defaulted loans and allowing chiropractic colleges to stay open that should be closed.

(continued)
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"The real problem (isn't chiropractic but rather) society's tolerance of disproven theory, unsubstantiated claims and unethical professions." -A J Botnick DC

"There's a sucker born every minute" -PT Barnum

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Post Icon Posted: Sep 17th, 2014 at 06:50 pm

ARE THE CRITICS HERE MISINFORMED?

Many of the individuals on this forum represent the best and the bightest minds that chiropractic and physical therapy has to offer. Some chiropractors here are magna cum laude graduates and medical school residents. Because of this crossover and familiarity with all of health care, we are in an excellent position to judge the trade and highlight problems. Members show a wide range of economic achievement from new graduates struggling with large student loan debts to established high income practitioners. Economic success alone is no basis for our concerns about chiropractic.

In general you will find that the discussions here are far above the norm for chiropractic forums because we have a strict rules for participation which emphasize evidence and good scientific practices. Moreover, because many critics have left the field, they do not have the vested interest that you normally see in chiropractors, their schools and their organizations on the internet.

SCIENCE HAS DEBUNKED THE CONCEPT OF BRAINWASHING SO DOESN'T YOUR USE OF THE LABEL CULT FOR CHIROPRACTIC INDICATE BIAS AND LACK OF LEGITIMACY?

There has been a lot of debate in psychology to clarify the techniques of persuasion; especially when used by religious groups to convert and indoctrinate. The present consensus is that cults are differentiated from other religious organizations in that they use recognized techniques that misrepresent the group in order to persuade individuals into affiliating with it. The techniques themselves are intensified versions of the ones that are commonly used in society to persuade others. Regardless, chiropractic institutions and schools are expert persuaders and have no respect for fair play. They routinely censor and misrepresent their profession to students and patients. This is accomplished because they operate as an alternative medicine field which has similar protections as religious organizations. While their false claims are technically illegal, the government does not regulate the advertising of nonprofit groups-so they are generally never prosecuted. This gives chiropractic organizations and institutions an undeserved air of legitimacy.

WHICH CHIROPRACTIC PROGRAMS ARE EVIDENCE BASED?

None actually. Chiropractic programs fall into two classes, straight and mixer. Straight programs were the first developed by Palmer. In these programs, it is taken on faith (and against science) that subluxations cause biomechanical problems and are successfully treated by manipulation. The diagnosis of patient complaints is based on a scam called subluxation diagnosis where all patients are qualified as having subluxations by dubious criteria and then are put on expoitive treatment plans designed to maximize revenue for the chiropractor. The treatment of symptoms (pain) is seen as unnecessary because all problems derive from subluxations. Because their underlying problems are never treated, patients of straight chiropractors become dependent on weekly fixes of manipulation to manage their deteriorating conditions. Chiropractors ironically call this wellness care. Students who graduate from these programs are heavily indoctrinated with false biomechanics, anti-medical rhetoric, pseudoscience and thought-stopping cult techniques.

The second class of chiropractic program is called mixer and includes pain therapy and some naturopathic techniques designed to cure disease. While these schools still teach subluxation treatment, they are otherwise competent in teaching diagnosis. Individuals here report that clinical experiences are sufficient to allow them to know when to refer patients but not to order tests and make diagnoses. Students attending these programs are misled to believe that their mission is to treat pain, prevent osteoarthritis by treating subluxations and use naturopathy (homeopathy, acupuncture) to engage in a wide scope of practice.

Both types of programs appeal to students who do not have the credentials to get into legitimate medical programs. They promote graduates as filling an important niche, being dedicated to patients and having the benefit of a shorter training period; however in the final analysis graduates who study the evidence agree that the primary function of these schools is to train individuals to support chiropractic overutilization through quackery and institutionalized insurance fraud. The ethical dillema is the reason why so many chiropractors feel compelled to quit the field. For this reason we condemn all chiropractic programs as too risky to recommend.

We have come across many students have made the mistake of seeing these problems and attending chiropractic school anyway, thinking that they could practice ethically themselves and reform the profession but later found that the economic realities of practices were overwhelming and prevented them from making any difference. At this point we urge students to consider the field hopeless and to disassociate contact with chiropractors and their institutions so that they will not be emotionally manipulated into attending a program.

WHY DOES AN ADMINISTRATOR HERE USE THE TITLE “DC” IF HE QUIT PRACTICE AFTER CONCLUDING THAT HE WAS NOT PREPARED TO SAFELY CARE FOR PATIENTS?

Actually this is not an isolated problem. Two thirds of chiropractic graduates attend similar programs which de-emphasize diagnosis by not integrating diagnosis courses into their clinical experience. An easy tip off that something is wrong is that pediatrics, geriatrics and obstetrics courses are taught well after the beginning of clinic. So students never gain sufficient experience diagnosing actual patient complaints.

However it is inappropriate to extrapolate that clinical experience matters when looking at subluxation care methods that have not been validated. That's the trick here, confusing manipulative treatment for diagnosed conditions with subluxation treatment for chiropractic philosophy. So while one may not be an authority on medicine, a chiropractor can have valuable knowledge in chiropractic quackery.


In order to indicate that they have a knowledge base about chiropractic as it is commonly practiced by many chiropractors (as opposed to the stated accreditation requirements), we may display our degrees along with our names.



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"The real problem (isn't chiropractic but rather) society's tolerance of disproven theory, unsubstantiated claims and unethical professions." -A J Botnick DC

"There's a sucker born every minute" -PT Barnum
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Post Icon Posted: Sep 17th, 2014 at 06:50 pm

Allen Botnick DC
Administrator and Founder of Chirotalk

Graduate of Life University College of Chiropractic 1996, magna cum laude
Began chiropractic practice in 1997 and held sporadic positions until 2001. Assisted FBI with an investigation of my first employer leading to a two year license revocation for insurance billing fraud. Second employer lost license due to failure to report license revocation in another state.(Click)

I stopped practice for two reasons:

1) The realization that my college program did not teach true differential diagnosis and use of the training would lead to fraud and malpractice if practice was continued.

2) Dissatisfaction over the overly narrow scope of practice and lack of a true validated niche to practice in, which differed from the image portrayed in chiropractic literature.

Responsibilities- make board modifications, answer email, co-manage rule violations, manage staff and locate new content.
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