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Dynamic Chiropractic – August 2, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 16

Honey, I Went Back to the Chiropractor Today

By Frances Wiggins
Does this vaguely resemble the face of your last patient after she returned home to recount to her husband what your diagnosis was?

True Story:

"I went to the chiropractor because I have TMJ problems, and my headaches were so bad I couldn't bear it any longer.

He started pulling up and down on my arm after he put some pills on my stomach. Then he put some magnets on my chest, and then he put some crystals on top of them.

"He then took my husband and I into another room where he made us watch a movie about a woman with a retarded child. He put pills on the baby's stomach and pulled the mother's arm down. He said he knew what was wrong with the baby and he could heal it.

"After that, we went back across the hall and he asked me if I had one of those splints for my jaw. He told me to throw it away and to never use it again. He could heal me in two weeks or less without it. I wanted to know how. He said, 'Don't worry about that. I'm the doctor. You won't understand what I am telling you. Just trust me and I will heal you.

"He then said that my thyroid gland was the real culprit. Once that was taken care of my jaw would be fine -- no problem. He then examined my husband for his heel pain. Same scenario. He put some pills on his stomach and pulled up and down on his arms and legs. He said it was due to colon trouble. It would be easy to heal if he took this powder twice a day for two weeks. After that he would be healed and would never have to get treated again. He told him to throw away the heel lift the orthopedist gave him because it was no good. The powder would heal him. We never went back."

Would you? In good conscience would you allow your family to seek care with someone like the individual mentioned above?

Thank goodness the husband went with her for the office visit. Can you imagine going home with a hokey story like that and telling your husband, "He wants to see me every day for two weeks, and I will be healed. I know the dentist told me that my jaw clicks because of something wrong with my joint, but the chiropractor told me that was silly. It was my thyroid gland or something and he could heal it in two weeks by tapping my feet together, balancing my auras and taking some vitamins. He says it would only cost me about $2,500 to cure me."

Question: If you were her husband would you let her return for care the next day? Would you let her return to any chiropractor after her experience?

I want to take an opportunity to address all you guys with your pyramids and your colonic machines. I have had it with your nonsense. I can no longer defend this to my patients or to insurance companies. How can I make them understand what you say, when frankly I have no idea what you are talking about? What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business. Don't call it chiropractic; it most certainly is not.

Two months ago I assumed (exhumed) a practice from a chiropractor. I spent the first week apologizing for all the bizarre behaviors patients had tolerated in the past. One chiropractor hitch-hiked to work every day; one was arrested for a DWI; one DC told the office manager he thought he was God; and one was treated in the emergency room -- it appears he was gay and had been bashed in a bar one night.

Where do these guys come from? Would you let one of them treat you? What makes you think you can build a business based upon a premise that you cannot explain to another chiropractor, much less a patient?

I am here to tell you I have had it. I am a "musculoskeletal kind of a gal." I do a lot of orthopedic examinations; I do a good report of findings; I explain to the patient what is wrong, if I can treat them, and how much it will cost.

Never do I profess to "heal" them. They are not Maytags -- I cannot give them 90 days, parts and labor. If I feel they have a problem that is out of my scope of practice (i.e. non-musculoskeletal in nature -- by the way, the law will support me in this foolish notion), I will routinely refer them out of additional studies. Consequently, I have established an excellent working relationship with attorneys, orthopedists and internists in my community, regardless of what the previous doctors have done to destroy this trust.

I am now to the point where I praise patients for having the courage to try another chiropractor. I do not think I would have the guts to give another one a shot at me for any reason. I work hard to gain their trust and respect and never have I told anyone they would have super-human skills once I cleaned out their "poop shoot."

If you want to do all that Shirley MacLaine weird stuff, why don't you go into another field? At this point I will beg you to do so. Those of us who stay current on physical therapy techniques and MRI studies, that know the value of a good orthopedic/neurological work-up and who take the time to educate our patients, have no problem with either patient compliance or insurance company reimbursement.

We are our own worst nightmare. It is time we stop with all the faith healing tactics and resort to a good procedural approach to care. I think you would be happy with the results, and I am certain your patients would be thrilled to death.

By the way, what CPT Code do you use to file "Crystal Therapy" under? Are you surprised when you receive a rejection from the insurance carrier?

Let's stop the cosmic stuff and get back to good, fundamental "Pinched Nerve" philosophy. If you did nothing but treat hot low backs and whiplash, your waiting room would be filled to capacity.

Frances Wiggins, D.C.
Baker, Louisiana

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