Chiropractic celebrated its 116th birthday on September 18, 2011. It has survived for 11 decades in the face of much adversity. D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, was jailed for his beliefs. He was only the first of many chiropractors who believed so strongly in what they did that they chose prison rather than give up the practice of chiropractic. The American Medical Association (AMA) has viciously attacked chiropractic over the years.
In 1963 the AMA created a “Committee on Quackery” to speed the elimination of chiropractic. Until 1983 the AMA labeled chiropractic as an, ‘unscientific cult’ and held that it was unethical for medical doctors to associate with “unscientific practitioners”.
In 1976 the chiropractic profession brought an antitrust suit against the AMA and other medical associations, Wilk et al. vs AMA et al. The suit ended in 1987 with the finding that the AMA had engaged in conspiracy and restraint of trade in order to undermine the chiropractic profession.
In spite of this victory chiropractic remains under siege. What follows are several federal responses to chiropractic:
- The Veteran’ Administration and Department of Defense allow access to chiropractic only by medical referral.
- Patients must have a musculoskeletal complaint to get Medicare reimbursement, and, Medicare refuses to compensate chiropractors for an initial exam or x-rays. Medical doctors are compensated for exams and x-rays.
- An Office of the Inspector General suggests that chiropractors are crooks providing services that are not “medically necessary”, such as maintenance care.
- Chiropractic is classified as a “Body-Based Manipulative Method” as is massage, rather than an “Alternative Medicine System” such as acupuncture, naturopathy, and homeopathy by the National Center for Complementaty and Alternative Medicine.
- Most of your insurance companies (third party payers) have mimicked Medicare and now will only pay for musculoskeletal complaints. They tell you when you need care!
- Some third party payers have limited access to chiropractic by requiring a medical referral, and some have decided that chiropractic is inappropriate for humans under the age of 12.
- Doctors of physical therapy are being positioned as the providers of manipulation of the spine. This in spite of the fact their training in that area pales in comparison to a chiropractor’s training, and that philosophically the two professions have very little in common.
- Legislation is consistently being initiated that would strip chiropractors of the designation “doctor”.
- Patients are being discouraged from seeing chiropractors for anything but low back pain with propaganda that cervical adjustments are dangerous.
These are the facts.
Still chiropractic survives, and even thrives. Why is this? Why, the truth always survives! People want leadership in true wellness. They want strategies to preserve and advance their quality of life. Chiropractors provide that. Science is moving in our direction. Biology and genetics have been turned upside down in the past decade and they support the chiropractic principles. Studies keep coming out that demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic care in enhancing wellness.
Studies: Chiropractic care positively influences oxidative stress and DNA repair. Because we are bombarded by physical, chemical, and emotional stress daily our ability to repair DNA is an important factor in health and longevity. Two or more consecutive years of chiropractic care was found to increase serum thiol levels in patients regardless of age, sex, or supplementation. Serum thiols are primary antioxidants that are active in DNA repair enzyme activity, and serve as a measure of human health status.
Another study surveyed 311 chiropractic patients aged 65 years or older who had received “maintenance care” for 5 or more consecutive years. These patients spent only 31% of the national average for health care services. They also experienced 50% fewer medical provider visits than their peers.
A key element in all of these studies is that it is only with long term care that the maximum benefits of chiropractic care are experienced.
Health Care Statistics
Health care in the U.S. currently consumes about one out of every six dollars spent. In 2005 government and private spending for health care for each person in the U.S. was $6,683. Despite this, medical mistakes and doctor induced illnesses are the leading cause of death in the U.S. according to a survey published in Life Extension magazine in March of 2004. According to the World Health Organization the U.S. ranks 37th overall in health care performance, in spite of being the runaway leader in health care dollars spent per capita.