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Dynamic Chiropractic – January 29, 2010, Vol. 28, Issue 03

Cracked Up on YouTube

By John Hanks, DC

When I was in college in the '60s, I bought a Super 8 mm camera. I was 19 years old. Being 19 with a movie camera was, of course, a dangerous combination. I took films of parties, some of which showed guys displaying their derrieres, and coeds (that means "college girls" in today's vernacular) getting sick after too many rum and cokes.

On occasion, I dreamed up a funny scenario and directed my mostly inebriated and willing peers in a lampoon of some TV game show or deodorant commercial.

Now, there is YouTube, the popular Web site that brings the fun and annoyance of home movies to all of us. One stormy night, I started browsing through YouTube for chiropractic videos. What I discovered was an underground dimension of chiropractic energy ranging from sincere to bizarre. The inventory of videos seems endless. Browsing food recipe sites could not be any more challenging.

Those entering the chiropractic video arcade will find an abundance of DCs explaining why they are good doctors. The strategies often seem to include telling the chiropractic "story." If all the aboriginal and ancient tribal tales of the beginning of the universe were added up, they would pale when compared with the different ways of how each chiropractor likes to tell the chiropractic "story." These videos are meant to educate, but they probably end up just confusing the public.

The next category of chiro education seems to be showing what an adjustment looks like. This is very popular right now. It appears that many DCs think that a demonstration of their technique will attract patients to their office. This may be true, but I have never thought that demonstrating a traditional cervical spine manipulation in public would ever start a wild telethon of calls for appointments. However, that has not stopped many of our colleagues, since there is a whole lot of neck cracking going on out there.

One video shows a tall, burly male chiropractor adjusting the neck of a petite young girl, using a vigorous technique he labeled "hard core." The patient's neck seems to bend during the thrust, like a sapling in a wind storm, which is probably not attractive to the average osteoporotic octogenarian female.

Anyone who has seen the grainy film footage of the famous B.J. Palmer "toggling" the atlas vertebrae of patients kneeling on a rickety "knee-chest" bench might agree that the drama is impressive only to other chiropractors. The casual observer could easily compare the fast, recoil adjustment to the neck to the falling of a guillotine during the French Revolution. B.J. looks like some kind of ninja assassin in a video game, with his long hair flying and his bolo tie bouncing off his forehead. (This video, by the way, is also available on YouTube.)

There are chiropractors in videos warning about cracking your own neck and back. One DC in Irvine, Calif., soberly explains in his dialogue why this is not a good thing. Yet these cautionary videos do not seem to have had much effect. Simply type "back crack" in the YouTube search engine and hold on tight to your laptop. Endless videos of people cracking their backs will appear. Some folks are sharing their morning routine of limbering up, while others are trying to "gross out" viewers, at least according to some titles, like the girl who cracks her neck during the soliloquy concerning her bladder weakness. (Who could make this up?)

The most entertaining "crack-fest" videos are the ones in which someone is popping the back of someone else. Many of the scenes are from parties, and most of the participants are young and predominately female. Usually there is a self-styled cracking champion who is thrusting away on the mid-backs of friends and family while they are face down on the floor or bed. After viewing many of these videos, I noticed one additional factor that seemed common with the participants: They're drunk. "Drunk back-cracking after midnight" could be the title for many of these movies.

I have a few favorite videos, either because they are unique or funny, or just because they are bizarre. There is the young woman who lets her boyfriend crack her neck by pulling her ponytail down fast and hard. Then there is the religiously inspired chiropractor who gives a long explanation of why subluxations of the spine are more common among the most sinful people. Another popular flick is the attractive blonde female DC, giving her version of an exam technique. But the cameraman seems more intent on filming her torso rather than her technique. Not surprisingly, this video has received over 45,000 clicks!

But enough is enough. Read a book. Go to bed. Because tomorrow, there will be more videos on YouTube. If you think you are wasting your time on this site, go to one that has redeeming value and cultural allure. Like Facebook?


Click here for more information about John Hanks, DC.

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