Monday, February 11, 2013

Dr Oz ( and many MDs) on Chiropractic

On Friday I had a patient ask me why Chiropractic Care was on the Dr Oz show and how MDs feel about Chiropractic. The simple answer would be because "it works!" . On the other hand, these are really two very different questions and the answer is always dependent upon the perspective of the one answering as we well as asking the question.

This BLOG is because my patient was somewhat shocked at my answer.
"Chiropractic carries a strong feeling from both sides in our society, it questions very strong visceral paradigms for many, and substantiates them for others. Growing up, I had no use nor respect for Chiropractors! They weren't "real Doctors" and were basically "quacks" that got their license from a Cracker Jack box!" Can you imagine the look on her face as she stared at me? Now, how did I have that view even as a child? Well, of course, we get much of our early education and "opinions" from our parents. I explained that later in my college years I had used Chiropractic here and there growing up ( lots of headaches) but that I was pretty committed to Chemistry, Physics, Botany, and Pre Medical undergraduate programs. Being a smart patient, she asked the obvious question as to how on earth I had grown up with such negative attitudes towards Chiropractic, even began a pre-med program, yet, ended up a Chiropractor?

The answer, was in education!! I told her that at some point I had to get out of my box of "opinions" and give in to my own ignorance and decide to be open to an education. I had to realize that I was a bit dangerous..........yes, dangerous! A dangerous person being one whom is very opinionated while simultaneously very ignorant on a subject. I am pretty sure we have all met folks like this.

I gave her the example I had heard as a child wherein the neighbor had told my mother that her daughter was "cured" of asthma by getting her back "cracked" at the Chiropractor. Now,if that didn't elicit the biggest "bwahahahah haha haha" I had ever heard! Now, the neighbor was trying to help my mother with helpful information, yet this is how it was basically received, and why? Because of Education! The neighbor didn't know how to explain what she had encountered, but that it had helped. I get that, but said that "way," well, it certainly sounds "hokey."

My answer to my patient was that I had to go from hokey to scientific and do it in an open minded manner. I had to ask myself why so many went to the Chiropractor, what Chiropractic was "good for" (Conditions), and why I was finding some people went to their DC (Chiropractor) rather than their MD on the constant basis even with their kids. I said, "you see so many people, even MDs find themselves in my old boat, and if you don't get the proper information, then it is much like the tool you have never been taught to use, so you don't, and by the way, that compared to your usual tools, this one looks funny and weird, so not only do you not use the tool out of no knowledge, you also mock it out of strangeness based upon your then current paradigm."

I could make many more analogies, however my own story is a great one here, and very true. I had instructors at Chiropractic School that were MD's that at the time probably understood Chiropractic better than I did as a Chiropractic Student. The point being, that often information depends upon one's opinion from their paradigms.

So.................Dr Oz and general MDs on Chiropractic? Honestly Chiropractic hasn't really changed much since it's inception in 1895. Sure, some of us use different "tools" of our particular trade, however the biggest difference from DC's going to jail for practicing Medicine without a license in the 40's to it's now it being purported as a great treatment for low back pain on a Medical show, is social education and acceptability. The occurrence of "alternative" treatments being positively spoken of on a Medically-oriented show is a very positive thing for our society. This is because in terms of patient treatment, options are always a great thing! There is no "one size fits all" model for Healthcare. Patients need options and the freedom of choice to engage those options. Most importantly, patients need to be truly "aware" of their options.

So, to my patient, I have said that what you are seeing is an increase of awareness to many things that are non-medical and that it is this that is most responsible for the inclusion  more than the "advancement" of most "alternative" fields of healthcare. That in the end, both my Medical Friends and myself are great at what we do, we are both well intended to the maximum benefit of all of our patients and their well-being. Both sides see fantastic success as well as failure in treating our patients, unfortunately this is why it is called "practice" in some ways. Very important, is that Medical and Chiropractic are very different "Paradigms" and that the "science" is there for both. The determining factor is what the patient's "needs" are. Perhaps my adjustments won't help a patient that is too far gone and needs surgery? Perhaps surgery isn't appropriate for a spine that could be "adjusted." We all need to better understand the application of differing paradigms and therefore treatment modalities. Chiropractic Works! That's the answer, it's mostly a matter of understanding "how" it works, and an acceptance that it does work societally. The current science IS there on this, just ask your MD Neurophysiologist. This is why Chiropractic was on Dr OZ.

In our office I can tell you education is ALWAYS key. Ask any patient and they will agree that this is our focus. Every patient must understand "what" Chiropractic is in order to determine if it the "right" tool. Personally, I have argued vehemently for different patients to both avoid and have surgery. (imagine the response I get upon calling the surgeons office and then line itemizing the reasons why a patient needs surgery based upon the MRI's I am looking at? Not usually expected from the Chiropractor)

The point is that proper care should always be what is rendered! Every situation is different, you don't call the Police, when your house is on fire, and you don't call the fire department when all you need to do is fix the door frame.

Lastly, I would point out what seems obvious, however is periodically ignored for some reason in our mindset as the "mincing of words."
*Patients are people with a condition, they are not their condition!
*All of us rely upon the body's own natural ability to heal itself! All Adjustments, Medications, Surgeries, and even Chemo-Therapy are given as no more than a modality of treatment to a body that that in the end will either accept or reject that treatment as either right or wrong for its particular needs.
 *We all supply our treatment and then sit back and see what with body will do with it.
*Healing therefore, depends upon the patient! Medicine Works! Chiropractic Works! If properly applied, it all works.


  1. Thank you for sharing. At what age would you suggest a “healthy” person see a chiropractor? I think its time I regain my health with a chiropractor in Beverly MA.

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  6. Read that last sentence again in its old and new forms - the meaning has been changed to the point of silliness. Although perhaps they are now referring to a different study? Who knows.Posture