Monday, January 29, 2007

Adjusting Chiropractors

OK, I’ve had it up to here (holding my hand high above my head) with Chiropractors. I know you’ve spent a great deal of time learning things of anatomy and physiology, but I really think that’s it.

I do understand that they have some sort of advanced learning which entitles them to be called Doctor, or Chiropractic Physician but their understanding of anything medical stops at knowing the anatomy and physiology. Chiropractic is a practice of faith rather than science.

So what provokes my tirade? I was listening to “To Your Health” last week and Ann was interviewing a chiropractor who was trying to sell some snake oil and she, the guest, kept saying that you really need to check with your medical doctor before going on the regiment. So, what this tells me that she is a dumb shit who is trying to cover her ass from malpractice because she has no idea of what her snake oil really does.

If she were a real medical practitioner she would know exactly how her snake oil would react with other medicines and other conditions in the body. She probably does understand that by adding one thing the equation changes, but she is too lazy to find out what these things are and how to do anything about it. If you are treating medical conditions it is your duty to know what you are doing, just like if you drive a truck, it is your duty to know how to drive it.

I once had a recurring injury. I knew that taking it easy would get me back to normal in about five days. One time it happened again I decided to go to a chiropractor to see what they could do. He made it so the pain stayed with me for months. One day I had enough and canceled all future appointments. Five days later I was all better.

I know so many people who have really bought into the Wo Wo circuit, hook, line and "shrinker." (A Zappa quote) They start with a chiropractor and are then sent to the acupuncturist. Then they go to the herbalist, then to the massage therapist and reflexologist. Somehow the really special clients end up with the astrologist and the tea leaf readers. I’m sorry to all the folks who believe, but you are all being taken.

They probably have you on all sorts of supplements, which are expensive and your insurance will not pay for them; all you need to do is eat better. Everything in those snake oil pills is available naturally in one food or another. Eat a balanced diet and save your money.

Fortunately, our bodies are resilient and can recover, most of the time, from chiropractic manipulation and the nutritional supplements that are over prescribed. When a medical physician makes an error those effects are life altering if not life ending. This is because they are working with the real cause and reaction. This is where knowledge is most important because they are dealing with life and death.

Chiropractors do know their anatomy and physiology, and I will give them that. People who understand the body on that level deserve a Ph.D if they advance that science, but that is where their understanding stops and that is where they should be stopped. They shouldn’t be allowed to touch anyone. They should be able to teach biology and perhaps be expert witnesses, or even consult medical physicians. They could work with prosthetics, but they should not be manipulating a living human spine or prescribing supplements.

There is an odd balance that a physician once told me about. She said, “Sometimes I’m absolutely amazed what injury and abuse the human body can survive and I’m equally amazed that a baby will sometimes die just sleeping in its crib, or that someone will die after cutting their finger.”


Blogger Donna said...

You and I are in agreement here. I have never believed chiropractors were anything but quacks, although my husband has been helped by them a few times (and not helped at all, other times). I've seen too many people who think they have to have an adjustment at least once a week. And I never saw any improvement. One dear friend of mine who is a believer is, I feel, just lonely, and goes to the chiropractor to have someone to talk to.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

While there have been great advances in medicine, I would still say that an M.D's practce is just as much art as it is science. I think the whole lot of them are selling snake oil, M.D.'s and chiropractors, it's just that doctors are backed by the FDA, and the AMA.

Now certainly doctors are useful for things like setting bones or performing open heart surgery, but when you start to look at all the things that ail us there is not that much that is exact. One of the things that really burns me up is how we pay doctors to experiment on us. And by that I mean, people who pay out hundereds of thousands of dollars to try out an experimantal drug for cancer treatment. It astounds me really. The problem with medicine is many fold has quite a bit to do with money and greed.

One of the biggest problems, as I see it, is that doctors don't really know their patients. There is a big picture to things, and unfortunately doctors only get to see a small glimpse of their patients.

I am not by any means defending one practice over the other. I think we, as a society have been dumbed down so much, and have so little understanding of anatomy and physiology that most people can not discern things for themselves.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

As someone who is constantly being told (by well-meaning people) to see a chiropractor, I was happy and relieved to read your post. Maybe they work for some people, but I'm not going near one. The very words "manipulation and adjustment" scare the sh*t out of me. And, dear god, a woman in Toronto died after a chiropractor "adjusted" her neck.
No thank you.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous portosan said...

I agree that a well ballanced diet and exersise can make a big difference in a person's health and well being.

If I eat shit, I feel like shit. When I do not get proper rest, I get sick.

It has been suggested to me: "equal parts of work, rest and play" I do not ballance any of that very well in my life currently, but I try.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chiropractors are quacks. Several years ago my husband had a back injury and went to a chiropractor. After several sessions he decided to see a real doctor who told him after detremining his condition that the chiropractor could have paralyzed him.

Quacks I say.. All Quacks...


10:40 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Funny, I thought I was going to get a lot of Wo Wo crap (or is that actually Wu Wu?)over this article, but dang, bottom line is they aren't what they repersent themselves to be, and one shouldn't trust that they can change your life for the positive.

11:31 AM  
Blogger browse said...

I think you're painting with an awfully broad brush. Yes, there are a bunch of chiros out there who are quacks. I think there are also a bunch of psychiatrists out there who are quacks. And regular MDs as well. That doesn't mean I think the entire profession(s) should be discredited.

Remember Sturgeon's law: "Ninety percent of everything is crap."

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chiropractic is a wise choice to treat back and neck pain. Just do your due diligence and research it first. You can find numerous scholary articles on the benefits of chiropractic adjustments...or spinal manipulation. Let me guess, the person that started this blog is a PT that is sick and tired of his clients finding more benefit from a chiro rather than a PT. Chiropractors do much more than crack bones, in most states they are licensed in adjunctive procedures and paid for it. Wise up and how can you comment on something you have never experienced..that makes you an f...n quack!!

7:33 PM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

I'm sure there are good, skilled, qualified chiropractors out there -- I also know that I don't know of any. Now massage therapy... that's both art and skill, and it feels so good!

But I think a broader theme of your post here is about how amazing the human body is. That's almost exactly what I tried to focus my degree on in college, and that's precisely what I want to teach to middle school students. Well, that and how to blow shit up (in a legal, non-terrorist, totally explosive way). :)

7:39 PM  
Anonymous THartill said...


I have the same feeling toward many medical types. Although I was describing to friend the pain I've had for last month on my left side from my back to my knee. He said he had the same problem and one trip to the Chiro cured him. I might have to take the plunge if it keeps up...hell I can't even play golf! My life might as well be over!


WTF is a PT anyway?


I was just checking out your site and we have the same little computer guy banging on the keyboard on our front-pages...kind of a kwinkidink.

8:41 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Browse, I paint em as I see em...

Wrong Anon, I am not in the medical field at all. I am just observant, and I know when someone is attempting to fool me. Chiropractic simply doesn't work, unless of course you want it to, but then that's faith healing, isn't it.

Tryan, I'll heal that knee for you for $500, and don't tell Glenn cuz he'll want in on it ; ) (Man I am one nasty bastard)

Jaggy, I just love a woman who knows her explosives. Do you ever get to create avalanches?

9:48 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

PT is a physical therapist

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this can help dispell the understanding.

1) Chiropractic represents a distinct natural, holistic, vitalistic, conservative, and rational, health care paradigm that is both philosophically logical and scientifically valid.
2) Segmental restrictions of movement and static and/or dynamic facet joint misalignments do commonly occur in the human spine and have been accurately and scientifically defined in the peer-reviewed literature as vertebral subluxation complex (VSC)
3) Vertebral subluxation complex is the result of common physical, emotional, and/or chemical stressors and/or traumas (i.e. our modern industrialized lifestyle commonly presents stressors that lead to VSC epidemic)
4) VSC always consists of kinesiological (biomechanical/structural ) and neurological components that cannot be physiologically separated (nor can their global effects on the bodymind)
5) Chronic decreased range of motion associated with VSC results in pathological neuroplastic changes resulting in increased nociceptive and decreased proprioceptive (mechanoreceptive) afferent input into the CNS
6) Chronic increased nociceptive input can result in central and peripheral sensitization and concomitant allodynia and sympathetically induced muscle spasm and vasoconstriction leading to chronic muscle and joint pathology (subluxation degeneration/osteoarthritis)
7) Chronic increased afferent nociceptive input results in a chronic increased stress response and stress related dysfunction and disease susceptibility (increased allostatic load) in the host which often takes place in the absence of conscious pain or other symptoms.
8) Chronic decreased afferent proprioceptive input results in less inhibition of nociception (less inhibition of stress response and sympathetically induced muscles spasm and vasoconstriction) and to decreased essential afferent input into the cerebellar-brainstem-cortical loops that have recently been shown to coordinate homeostatic cognition, affect (emotion), and visceral function (including immunity) as well as movement, muscle tone, and posture.
9) The chiropractic Adjustment (regardless of technique) restores proper range of motion allowing proper static and/or dynamic alignment of facet joints, restores proper muscle and joint biomechanics and restores proper afferent neurological input by increasing/restoring proprioceptive (mechanoreceptive) input and decreasing nociceptive input.
10) The chiropractic adjustment restores healthy joint biomechanics by breaking up connective tissue adhesions (scar tissue) and restores/creates healthy neurological pathways (segmental and global) by stimulating proprioceptors (mechanoreceptors). These processes require substantial repetition through the physiological stages of healing and neuroplasticity if long term functional correction is to take place.
11) Normalized (decreased) nociceptive input results in decreased sensitization and allodynia, normalization of sympathetic tone (decreased muscle spasm and vasoconstriction) and normalization of the stress response and therefore immune response ( decrease in stress related dysfunction and disease susceptibility-decreased allostatic load)
12) Normalized proprioceptive (mechanoreceptive) input leads to homeostatic afferent somatosensory input into the cerebellar-brainstem-cortical loops that coordinate movement, muscle tone, and posture as well as cognition, affect (emotion) and visceral function.
13) Many fields of study including neuroscience, neuropsychology, endocrinology, pyschoneuroimmunology, and education have findings that support chiropractic as an important wellness and preventative intervention. The neuroanatomical substrates providing the link between proper proprioceptive (mechanoreceptive) afferent input into the cerebellar-brainstem-cortical loops of life and healthy brain and body development and function have now been identified. This input has been termed and essential nutrient for proper brain and nervous system function and chiropractic is by far the best equipped profession to restore and/or improve it

10:20 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I guess it depends on who paid for that assessment and who was paid to say it. Over my life I have known many physicians, and I've candidly asked them their impressions of chiropractic over the years, and what they all say seems to say it is faith healing. Until chiropractors know as much about the field of medicine and have a comprehensive understanding of how outside forces change what is inside as a physician does, I feel it is dangerous and irresponsible to allow them to work on humans.

Please believe what you wish, but a belief doesn't make it so.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

Thartill: I guess it means we have good (funny) taste! The little guy was just too hilarious to resist posting on my blog. He ended up lower on the page because *some* people can't handle the distraction when reading posts.

And Mr. Guy, I've not created any avalanches. But, given the mountainside with which to practice, I bet I could orchestrate some flying snow.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I only went to a chiropractor once. But my mother, who is a total hypochondriac and doubter went to an acupuncturist and even she had to admit it was helping, and she had no faith at all.

The chiro cost me a fortune back in the day. That's it for me!

6:58 PM  

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