Questions & Answers

By Richard Tyler, DC

Since I've had the honor of working as the associate editor of Dynamic Chiropractic, I've received many letters from my colleagues in the profession. Many have been pretty nice while, as you can imagine, there have been plenty that haven't had anything good to say. This comes with the territory. Anyone who has a strong opinion about something must be ready to defend that position.

In the past I've printed parts of letters with my answers, but that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Naturally, all the letters and comments can't be answered, either personally or through the paper. This being the case, I thought I might respond by answering a good many of the letters as if I were responding to just one person. So here goes.

Q: Just who do you think you are?

A: Richard Harrison Tyler, D.C. -- a chiropractic physician. As I write this, I am working in an office in Vermont.

Q: What gives you the right to dictate to anyone how they should practice?

A: None.

Q: Yeah -- then why do you try?

A: Anyone who is dumb enough to allow anyone to "dictate" how he should think and live and practice doesn't need help from me to be dictated to. My columns are written to reflect my personal opinion. If you or anyone else doesn't agree with what I write, you have every right to send a letter, yell, stamp your feet or just not read anything I write. Seems so simple. "DC" is an eclectic publication and, therefore, allows the expression of all kinds of opinions as can be seen through our columnists' diverse philosophies. As I've said before -- if you don't like what's on a particular page -- turn it.

Q: Why are you always picking on the straights?

A: I'm not. Some of my best friends are straights -- that is, those who respect my right to practice as I wish within the parameters of the law. Since I respect their rights, I expect the same from them. That's fair, isn't it? The ones I "pick" on are only those who try to ram their philosophy into everyone without regard to the intellectual proclivities of the individual. In doing so, they not only insult their students and practicing doctors but try to dictate through the legislatures how everyone else should practice.

Q: But isn't that what you try to do by insisting that everybody be taught such things as physical therapy?

A: Of course not. Being exposed to something only demonstrates the respect you have for the individual to make up his own mind. Philosophical "shielding" is an intellectual crime unworthy of any institution of learning. By allowing such practices, we are doing just the things we claim organized medicine does. We must teach our students everything they might need or want to use in the future. No one is forcing them or telling them how to practice. As a mixer, I wouldn't think of telling someone else how to practice, and I refuse to let anyone do the same to me.

Q: Why do you pick on those who want to restrict chiropractic to musculoskeletal problems?

A: The answer is the same as to the prior question. It's not that I disagree with both extremes, it's just that I don't feel that either side has the right to impose their ideas on others through either philosophical indoctrination or legislation. Expose the student to the panoply of philosophies and then let each individual decide for themselves. One of our biggest problems is our idiotic preoccupation with how the other guy practices. We should mind our own business and concentrate on being the best we can within our own individual practices.

Q: Why are you always knocking the practice improvement seminars?

A: Because, unfortunately, too many go overboard on pandering to greed. At one point they OD'd on gimmicks and someone apparently decided to assuage people's possible guilt by getting religious. You could justify seeing 3,000 people an hour, milking the insurance companies, losing all integrity and acting like a used car salesman in the process because you were doing "God's work" by spreading the good news of chiropractic to as many people as possible. Of course, if you just happened to make a fortune in the process -- gee whiz and amen. It's disgusting and professionally degrading.

Q: Why are you so prejudiced for the motion palpation technique?

A: In the first place, motion palpation is not an adjustive technique. It is just a viable method of locating fixations and should belong to every member of the profession. How you mobilize those fixations is up to the individual doctor. The Motion Palpation Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to extending what should be common knowledge to every member of the profession. This is done in great part through our publication, Dynamic Chiropractic, which is a major organ of communication.

Q: Why are you against research?

A: On the contrary, I believe that well-constructed research is the very life-blood of any maturing profession. What I'm against is research so negatively biased that it fosters intellectual inertia. Because you can't prove everything you do or document your results, doesn't mean you should stop practicing. If proof was the requisite to practice, most people would be selling shoes, and the pharmaceutical companies would be making them. For what it's worth, I personally believe that structure affects function and reserve the right to suggest this hypothesis to my patients -- not as a truth but a viable explanation for the clinical results chiropractic physicians so often achieve. It's my duty as a doctor/teacher to promulgate what I believe is to their benefit.

All of the preceding is what I would say if I had just a few of my critics before me. Who cares what I think? Well, I guess you do or you wouldn't have read this far.

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