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The Future of Chiropractic?

Dear Editor:

I sit here in 2008, in a mild state of shock. I recall talking with my partner in 1989 about the future of chiropractic following the failure of organized medicine to destroy us by propaganda, etc., as seen from the Wilk trial. (Sadly, I don't think most younger DCs appreciate or have even heard of that historic anti-trust case.) Our discussion at the time was in reference to several factors we thought would affect the future of chiropractors following our legal "victory."

We talked about the financial squeeze we expected and the watering down of chiropractic philosophy (X-rays, etc.). We talked about how the entire system would be subtly attacked via many directions; how the faculty at colleges would increase in medically trained practitioners (MDs, DOs, PTs) who would then bring in their medical philosophy instead of core health curriculums. We discussed how they would chip away at the roots of chiropractic, year by year, eventually eliminating any need for our philosophy at all. We laughed at the idea of MDs comprising the majority of chiropractic college faculty one day.

We saw managed care come into existence, introduced as a "savior" for future financial security with the insurance industry. The first promised that for $1,000 up front, we would be on their list and all their patients would come to us! (We even talked about how the idea of managed care could be a twisted script from the "Godfather" movie: "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse!")

Then there was the "watering down" of philosophy - which brought up that ugly word: subluxation. We talked about the fact that X-rays do show subluxations, in spite of what most insurance company "chiropractic claims reviewers" say. I speak to chiropractors frequently who deny the existence of subluxations on X-ray findings and who, in fact, deny that subluxations relate whatsoever to a patient's diagnosis or treatment.

Having had more than 20 associate doctors in the past 25 years, I also know the ones who could never actually show any improvements on post-treatment X-rays were the ones to deny their value first. This is a whole other topic rarely, if ever, addressed within our profession: Some chiropractors are very poor adjusters. Simply put. I've never met a DC who would admit they can't move a joint. The "art" of chiropractic is difficult to teach. I seriously believe either you have it or you don't. For the most part, the ones who don't are the ones to tell you X-rays are of little value - and I can't really blame them, because if you never can fix it, why keep looking? So sad.

Then there's the denial-of-care scenario; everyone's a victim of it, but no one will stand up and fight for it. Where are our state and national associations? Hot/cold packs: deny; physical modalities: not necessary; too many adjustments - watch out, you might be past the "best doctors" 2.5 visit nationwide averages (determined by a panel of highly ethical and moral DCs), "proven" to correct any patient case.

I could go on for hours, but let me summarize by saying this: In my opinion, our profession is being loaded onto the railroad cars!

Submitted via e-mail

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