Why people have misconceptions of chiropractors

Chiropractic was discovered in 1895.  This was a new, natural method of helping people generate the innate healing properties of the human body.  Symptoms would start going away naturally without drugs or surgery by the use of feeling the spine and creating movement in areas that were stuck or as chiropractors call it “subluxated”.   This approach was gaining recognition and getting results.

Because of this, the medical community was losing money as well as pharmaceutical companies who make money from people needing to take drugs for long periods of time or even for life.

So how did chiropractors start getting a reputation of being “quacks” or selling snake oil?  Well, chiropractic started to expand and people started spreading the word about the benefits of this alternative and natural process.  This resulted in persecution and conspiracy in the late 60’s through the early 70’s by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The AMA launched a covert campaign to “contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession” (that is the actual terminology used by the AMA to describe the campaign). The AMA distributed what were called “Quack Packs” to new medical students describing how dangerous chiropractors are, and that they are killing patients with their treatments which was untrue. They made it illegal for a medical doctor to associate with a chiropractor in any way (including hospitals, etc.); if they associated with a chiropractor, they could lose their license.

If this is hard for you to believe, please review the actual paperwork where the AMA was sued for an “illegal boycott” of the chiropractic profession.  It is named Wilk v. AMA. The AMA lost the case and all appeals. Here s information that came from those documents:

In the early 1960s, the AMA decided to contain and eliminate chiropractic as a profession. In 1963 the AMA’s Committee on Quackery was formed. The committee worked aggressively — both overtly and covertly — to eliminate chiropractic. One of the principal means used by the AMA to achieve its goal was to make it unethical for medical physicians to professionally associate with chiropractors. Under Principle 3 of the AMA’s Principles of Medical Ethics, it was unethical for a physician to associate with an “unscientific practitioner,” and in 1966 the AMA’s House of Delegates passed a resolution calling chiropractic an unscientific cult. To complete the circle, in 1967 the AMA’s Judicial Council issued an opinion under Principle 3 holding that it was unethical for a physician to associate professionally with chiropractors.

The AMA’s purpose was to prevent medical physicians from referring patients to chiropractors and accepting referrals of patients from chiropractors, to prevent chiropractors from obtaining access to hospital diagnostic services and membership on hospital medical staffs, to prevent medical physicians from teaching at chiropractic colleges or engaging in any joint research, and to prevent any cooperation between the two groups in the delivery of health care services.

They also mentioned during the trial of chiropractors as “competition”.

Competition between medical physicians and chiropractors was recognized by Dr. Joseph A. Sabatier, a member of the Committee on Quackery and a former defendant in this case, as early as 1964. At one point, Dr. Sabatier stated, “it would be well to get across that the doctor of chiropractic is stealing [the young medical physician’s] money.”

Here is a link that shows the data for this case:

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19872136671FSupp1465_11917/WILK%20v.%20AMERICAN%20MEDICAL%20ASS’N

So why does the general population still sometimes think that chiropractors are quacks or shysters?  Well, there was plenty of media published by the AMA to the general public that still is believed today.  Here is an example:

Medicine’s opposition to chiropractic was at its strongest under the leadership of Morris Fishbein. Fishbein, served as Secretary of the American Medical Association (AMA) from 1924 to 194.  He lead a 25 year anti-chiropractic campaign in both professional publications and the public media.  Fishbein called chiropractors “rabid dogs” and referred to them as “playful and cute… but killers.” He tried to portray chiropractors as members of an unscientific cult, caring about nothing but taking their patients’ money.  I still hear this from people today.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Chiropractic care is way more affordable than years of pharmaceuticals and surgery.

In 1949, Fishbein was no longer associated with the AMA but the AMA continued its anti-chiropractic campaign.  In 1971, H. Doyle Taylor, the Director of the AMA Department of Investigation, and Secretary of its Committee on Quackery (COQ), submitted a memo to the AMA Board of Trustees stating:

“Since the AMA Board of Trustees decision, at its meeting on November 2-3, 1963, to establish a Committee on Quackery, the Committee has considered its prime mission to be, first, the containment of chiropractic and ultimately, the elimination of chiropractic.”

Personally, when I was a youth in the 80s I heard this propaganda and would not see a chiropractor until my sister experienced headaches for days and weeks at a time.  She tried drugs, physical therapy and other western medicine doctors with no relief.  She tried chiropractic apprehensively but felt like she had little option.  She stated that after one visit “my pain decreased in half”.  She was my big sister and I trusted her so after an athletic injury I went to a chiropractor for relief and got it quickly and easily so I decided to investigate and fell in love with this natural way of healing and decided to become a chiropractor.

We get a lot of people dis-crediting us because we are not MDs.  That is right, we are not.  We are doctors who have a specialty just like a dentist, podiatrist, osteopath.  Our philosophy and outlook on how the body operates and heals sometimes differs from MDs.  We treat and understand the body as a unit and not as parts.  Not everyone responds the same to specific modalities or techniques and not everyone wants the same treatment.  We offer alternatives when other methods are not working.

I personally see MDs, acupuncturists as well as holistic healers.  All have a different affect on patients and all offer different angles of healing.  What chiropractors do works.  If you ever read chiropractic reviews, they are normally pretty positive.  It is a shame that so many people have heard disparaging statements about what we do.  Even in the case of a bad experience with a chiropractor, that doesn’t mean the whole profession is bad or unethical.  MDs can sometimes hurt patients, does this mean the whole profession is bad and should be avoided?  If you get one bad haircut does that mean all hair dressers are not qualified and you should never get another haircut?

Chiropractors have worked hard to continue to grow our reputation and help others to see the benefits of allowing your nervous system to maintain its health and keep the body functioning and normalizing.  Our nervous system is connected to every body part (showed in every medical resource) and needs to work in the best way it can to keep our body healthy.

I hope this clears up any doubt you have about our profession that I love and cherish so much.