In Spring 2005, New Haven, Conn., became the center of attention for the chiropractic profession when an extremely negative billboard appeared in a popular area of the city, less than 20 miles from the campus of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic.In large red and black letters, the billboard contained a disturbing message - "Warning: Chiropractic Adjustments Can Kill or Permanently Disable You" - while referring passersby to Neck911USA.com, an anti-chiropractic Web site run by an allegedly "international" group of volunteers concerned about manipulation of the neck by doctors of chiropractic.
Thanks to the efforts of the Connecticut Chiropractic Council, the Connecticut Chiropractic Association and other supporters of chiropractic, the billboard was removed only a few days after it appeared.
Enter the "Chiropractic Stroke Victims Awareness Group." On Dec. 1, 2005, an advertisement from the organization appeared in the Hartford Courant, the state's largest newspaper. The ad stated, among other things, that the group's members were "the proof" that chiropractic adjustments are not safe, and included both a telephone number and e-mail address for people to contact them:
At approximately the same time as the print ad appeared, an anti-chiropractic billboard was posted in downtown Hartford, close to Route 91, one of Connecticut's busiest highways. The billboard read:
Whether there is a relationship between Neck911.com and the Chiropractic Stroke Victims Awareness Group remains unclear at present. In August 2005, Dynamic Chiropractic identified the person behind the Neck911 billboard as Dr. John Kinsinger, an anesthesiologist from Edmond, Okla., and a vocal critic of chiropractic manipulation. The person believed to be responsible for the ChiroStroke billboard and ad is a woman in her mid-20s who allegedly suffered some form of neurological trauma resulting from chiropractic manipulation, according to sources who spoke to Dynamic Chiropractic on the condition of anonymity.
Response to the ChiroStroke campaign has been swift. On Dec. 6, 2005, the American Chiropractic Association sent a strongly worded letter to Jack Davis, the Courant's president and CEO, critiquing the ad and asking that the paper reconsider running any further advertisements by the organization. The Connecticut Chiropractic Association, meanwhile, responded by running an advertisement of its own in the Dec. 13, 2005 issue of the Courant. Titled "Clarifying Chiropractic," the ad promoted the benefits derived from chiropractic care, and touted the profession's "proven safety record and focus on education and patient empowerment."
To date, the profession's efforts against the ChiroStroke group have been mixed. On Dec. 16, 2005, Davis issued a response to the ACA's letter, stating that he found the advertisement "an acceptable communication." He added that the Courant "would likely run it or a similar message in the future" if the Chiropractic Stroke Victims Awareness Group chose to do so. In addition, Lamar Advertising, which owns the billboard near Route 91, has (as of Jan. 9, 2006) refused to remove the ChiroStroke ad.
The CCA and CCC are in the process of developing and implementing a positive public awareness campaign to educate the public about chiropractic and its benefits. In the meantime, both organizations are encouraging DCs, staff, patients and family members to do the following:
- Contact Lamar Advertising at (800) 822-7722 or (860) 246-6546, or via e-mail at , to complain about the billboard and its message.
- E-mail the Chiropractic Stroke Victims Awareness Group ( ) and submit pro-chiropractic messages from patients and family members.
- Contact Kristin Kasabucki, the CCA's executive director, at (800) 966-2225, or Sol Aordkian, DC, of the CCC at (800) 353-3332 to show support and help in the public awareness campaign.