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Dynamic Chiropractic – January 27, 1997, Vol. 15, Issue 03

Filling the Information Gap

Is Chiropractic Ready to Take on the World?

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
Over the holiday season, I had the opportunity to hear two sermons which reflected issues that the media recently have dealt with regarding chiropractic.

The first sermon was given by an "old-fashioned" pastor. He exuded an air of experience and authority. Here was a man who had been giving sermons for many years. He began in a friendly enough manner, putting the congregation at ease with a bit of lighthearted banter. But soon he shifted to firing a barrage of rhetorical hear-say designed to impress and excite the audience. Each anecdote began with generalizations: "They say"; "It's been reported"; "I've heard ..." Each statement was more astounding than the last, as if he were in a bragging contest with himself. No part of his presentation contained first-hand information.

After a few minutes of this, I leaned over to my friend and commented: "As a journalist, I'm used to documenting and referencing everything, this is getting hard to listen to." My friend nodded in agreement; we both tuned him out and began a quiet conversation about other matters.

The next day we heard a sermon delivered by a short, quiet woman who had an enormous amount of missionary experience. She was soft spoken and undeniably sincere.

She didn't tell grandiose stories or make exaggerated claims, but simply related in a personal way what her faith had done for her and for the people to whom she ministered. Her talk was deeply moving and touched the heart.

A number of DCs have recently contacted us concerning several recent media articles that upset them: "Ten Things Your Chiropractor Won't Tell You,"1 and "What Chiropractors Are Really, Really Good At ..."2 These are probably not the only anti-chiropractic articles recently published, but certainly the ones which have received the most attention.

Each article trashes chiropractic to some degree. The first article is probably more inflammatory and objectional than the second, but neither is a well-balanced representation of chiropractic or the profession.

It is my opinion that the first article will hold very little credibility with most readers. There is enough general information (most of it from chiropractic patients) circulating through society to discredit much of what it presents. The second article is more objective, and it is possible many readers will believe its statements.

When judging credibility, we compare what we are hearing with what we know. If we know nothing (or next to nothing) about a subject, we are liable to believe anything.

The only reason these articles are ever printed, and will continue to be printed, is because chiropractic is not well known or understood by the general population. The chiropractic profession has failed to tell its own story, leaving a huge information hole for others to fill.

If you are wondering how to combat such articles, there is much that you can do. There are approximately 260 million people in the United States. If you are among the 50,000 DCs who practice in the U.S., then you need to tell 5,200 people about chiropractic to do your share.

No, your yellow page ad doesn't count.

Managed care is shrinking the amount of money you are being paid per patient. Unless we find a way to increase the number of people utilizing chiropractic ... the result is obvious.

It isn't hard to prepare an article for the local newspaper or run some advertising. You can seek our other DCs in your area to help defray the cost. You can also make certain that your existing patients are knowledgeable enough to tell others about chiropractic. Equip them to tell the chiropractic story honestly and effectively.

Anti-chiropractic articles and pseudo-news stories will continue to proliferate and have influence until the public becomes well-informed about chiropractic. The chiropractic documentary and efforts by our chiropractic associations must be increased to fill the information gap. Only then will chiropractic have the credibility needed to combat the wild accusations.


  1. Ten things your chiropractor won't tell you. Smart Money, January 1997.
  2. What chiropractors are really, really good at. Remedy, Nov/Dec 1996.

Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h)
Editor/Publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic

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