This Rejected Chiropractor Is "Sorry You Don't Take Your Health Seriously"

The excellent blog, Passive Aggressive Notes has a submission from a reader who rejected his chiropractor. Clay decided not to go back after the doctor refused to show him his x-rays unless Clay attended a seminar about payment plans and treatment options. A few days later he got a note that said:

Dear Clay,

Thank you for taking the time to chat with my office staff the other day regarding your care here at [redacted] Chiropractic.

I am sorry that you do not take your health seriously. When you decide to make your health a priority, please know we are available to help you.

I urge you to take good care of your health and contact us immediately if you run into any problems. It’s been a pleasure to be of service to you.

Oh, no! He’s not taking it seriously!

Spinal Manipulation [Passive Aggressive Notes]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rippleeffect says:

    Payment Plants?

  2. Actually, isn’t NOT going to a chiropractic taking your health seriously? Go see a licensed physical therapist who doesn’t believe in the hokum of chiropractic.

  3. MPHinPgh says:

    @Rippleeffect: Apparently money DOES grow on trees…

  4. Underpants Gnome says:

    But if you don’t go to a chiro, who’s going to charge you for your bi-weekly “adjustments” for many many years to come?

  5. blue_duck says:

    My former chiropractor sucked all of my money with multiple appointments a week for months only to tell me, “I honestly don’t know what to do.”

  6. blue_duck says:

    @Rippleeffect: I’d attend that seminar…

  7. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Rippleeffect: Oh yes. You see even in Maintenance, where you’re healthy and have no problems with your back, they’ll tell you that you should be going in once a month. I imagine most insurance companies won’t pay for monthly visits to any doctor if you don’t have a condition to treat.

  8. Deivion says:

    Do you have to pay for those seminars about payment plans?

  9. mgy says:

    I know a few people who take their toddlers to chiropractors. There can’t be much worse than some guy making cracking noises with your child’s growing spine.

  10. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Rippleeffect: Dang, I totally missed that it was ‘plants’ and not ‘plans’ in both places.

  11. kpfeif says:

    Quackery. Nothing but quackery.

  12. akede2001 says:

    @blue_duck: And yet.. you kept going.

  13. apotheosis says:

    Dear Dr. Quacky McQuack, D.C., F.I.A.M.A.:

    Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule of selling snake oil, aligning chakras, and grounding elemental energies to make snide observations about customers’ decision-making abilities.

    Rev. Apotheosis, G.T.F.O., F.O.A.D., esq.

  14. donkeyjote says:

    @Rippleeffect: It’s like medicinal marijuana, except instead of a sense of relaxation, it gives you an overwhelming sense of fiscal responsibility…

  15. The_IT_Crone says:

    @mgy: …I was smiling at some of the funny comments until I read that. I’m horrified beyond the capacity of humorous typing.

  16. blue_duck says:

    @akede2001: I was under the impression I was being treated because my back was starting to feel better. She dropped the “I f***ed you out of your hard earned money so I can go home and have lobster for dinner” bomb at the very end. That was the last time I went.

  17. zentex says:

    @Rippleeffect: Tree’s that grow money so you can cover your payments apparently.

  18. MissPeacock says:

    My first job out of college was as a medical adjuster for a car insurance company. The worst people to deal with, without a doubt, were chiropractors. You would not believe how many sessions they would schedule for people who had been in minor accidents. And they were the absolute rudest people I have ever had the misfortune to speak to on the phone. We had doctors (MDs) in our office telling us that these adjustments were not medically necessary and to cut them off, and nearly every chiro would threaten to sue us if we did. I have no love for chiropractors.

  19. Montaigne says:

    I received multiply phone messages from mine saying that I have not been in for a while and to schedule an appointment. My copay is up to 20.00 now and they wanted me to come three times a week. I wish I could, but that money adds up. It was almost harassment and I had to tell them to stop calling me. I would call them to setup an appointment when I have the time! lol.

  20. SaveMeJeebus says:

    So where exactly do you get the seeds grow a payment plant? Please don’t tell me Home Depot or Wal-Mart

  21. Kali Mama says:

    @apotheosis: Excuse me, subluxations.

    Dear doctor Quack, I’m sorry you do not take Evidence based medicine seriously.

  22. battra92 says:

    Seriously, he should go to a real doctor. Heck even acupuncture is more legit than this nostrum.

  23. Speak says:

    @Git Em SteveDave thinks a friend with weed is better, @kpfeif: I’d always thought too that chiropractice was sort of a sham, though I don’t even remember where I got that impression. Looked at just now and saw that “chiropractic and spinal manipulation” is considered a “complementary and alternative medicine.” Wouldn’t think it from the above response. Can you imagine someone’s yoga teacher sending them such a threatening letter?!

  24. Gev says:

    @Speak: It completely mystifies me how this “practice” has gained such legitimacy in the past several years.

    Sometimes I fear for the future of common sense.

  25. darkryd says:

    What a dick!

  26. donkeyjote says:

    @battra92: That’s like saying a placebo is better then actual vitamins.

  27. apotheosis says:

    “Vitamin” sounds boring. “Placebo” sounds like an exotic casino game. Like baccarat.

    Image, baby.

  28. Only a chiropractor hurting for business would make such an insinuation. I’d love to write this man back with a letter:

    Dear Mr. Chiropractor, D.C., F.I.A.M.A,

    Thank you so much for pointing out the obvious, I was completely mistaken on my approach. I SHOULD be taking my health seriously! I’m such a fool for coming to your establishment for services… I should of be seeing a REAL Doctor! (you know, the ones that go to school for 7 years and have that pesky M.D. next to their name) I applaud you for your complete honesty with patients, and I’ll make sure the word spreads around on the internet. You are an INSPIRATION for chiropractors everywhere. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

    It’s been a pleasure taking business away from you, Clay.

  29. ganzhimself says:

    I’d have to say that after I seriously hurt my back going a few times to a chiro did help, but then after I felt better they wanted me to keep coming twice a week for two months, then once a week for a few months, etc… I believe I ended up with a co-pay bill for over $1000. Decided to call it quits when I went in for my “maintenance” back crack session with a cold and they sold me a $20 bottle of Vitamin C pills that I could have bought at Walgreens for $2.50. Not to mention they tried to convince me that by having my spine properly aligned that I would digest food better, my kidneys would work better, etc… Yeah, and if I take this homeopathic remedy all my ailments will go away. Thanks, but I’ll stick to proven medicine for now on.

  30. humphrmi says:

    Heh, so Chiro’s have been fighting for years to be accepted as “legitimate” medical care providers, then this jagoff sends a letter like that.

    Way to put your profession back 20 years, doctor quack.

  31. Benny Gesserit says:

    @Rippleeffect: Any good chiropractic “doctor” will accept plants as payment – chickens and other small mammels too.

    Recycle the letter and move on. Life’s too short to deal with passive-agressive *ssholes.

  32. I went to a chiropractor for months. he made it so every time i go for a jog, my tailbone completely pops. Awesome. Thanks for that.

    Anyway, I stopped going to the chiropractor, and read The Mindbody Prescription by Dr. john Sarno, and I never needed to even think about going to a chiropractor ever again.

  33. buyer5 says:

    Chiropractors = modern day witch doctor

  34. Mr_Human says:

    @donkeyjote: Actually acupuncture does work for aches and pains:

    National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a consensus statement on acupuncture that concluded that

    there is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.[5]

    The statement was not a policy statement of the NIH but is the considered assessment of a panel convened by the NIH.

    The NIH consensus statement said that

    the data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies

    and added that

    there is clear evidence that needle acupuncture is efficacious for adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and probably for the nausea of pregnancy… There is reasonable evidence of efficacy for postoperative dental pain… reasonable studies (although sometimes only single studies) showing relief of pain with acupuncture on diverse pain conditions such as menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, and fibromyalgia…

    I can vouch for acu working on tennis elbow

  35. GearheadGeek says:

    There are some chiropractors who aren’t quacks… who realize that chiropractic manipulation can be good for some conditions but they’re not going to cure the common cold with it. I think those are few and far between (they are in my experience at least.)

    Another alternative is an osteopath. A modern Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is basically an MD with training in musculoskeletal manipulation (Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine) that’s used in conjunction with other therapy where appropriate. They realize that OMM is applicable when some part of your body is out of alignment (not just your spine) but won’t tell you that you need to come back 2x/week until you feel 20 again, and once a month to keep feeling 20.

  36. johnva says:

    I’m pleasantly surprised at how many people are critical of chiropractic here. They are essentially massage therapists who are trying to claim they are “doctors”.

    @Mr_Human: Other studies have shown that “fake” acupuncture also works just as well. You see, the big problem behind a lot of these “alternative” therapies isn’t whether or not they might work (some conceivably might, like acupuncture, while others definitely cannot, like homeopathy). It’s the quack alternative theories of medicine and disease behind them. Sticking needles in someone might work. But “chi” or whatever is nonsense.

  37. kc2idf says:

    Chiropractic is a legitimate practise. Unfortunately, the field is flooded with quacks who work like cult leaders to get and keep their patients.

    I have seen one chiropractor work wonders, and another enslave a friend of mine for years.

    OTOH, if you get to “I really don’t know” then it is time to try getting advice from another field. If you find the Chiropractor does not make you feel better, then you should see your GP.

    Yes, PTs and DOs can also do adjustments, but they are far, far more expensive, and should be reserved for when they are needed, even if your insurance covers it (because we all pay for inflated fees).

  38. johnva says:

    @GearheadGeek: DO’s are certainly more reliable than chiros, definitely. And I’ll acknowledge that chiropractic might “work” for some problems with the back or muscles (though I highly doubt it works for anything more systemic). But I am very skeptical that it’s much better than a good massage therapist or physical therapist.

  39. This should really be sent to a local TV station. The shaming is well deserved. That wasn’t even subtle.

  40. donkeyjote says:

    @Mr_Human: No doubt, acupuncture has its uses (as does the placebo), but acupuncture as a placebo has a higher “healing” rate then as an actual fix.

  41. Morgan says:

    It’s interesting to me that everyone thinks chiropractors are quacks; I’ve never been to one myself, but there was one in the next city over to the town I grew up in that was, by all accounts, very good. I had a friend who missed months of school because she got very ill; a half dozen MDs that she went to couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. After a while, a friend of the family suggested the chiropractor. He looked over her x-rays, spotted a place where her vertebrae were pinching a nerve, and fixed the problem in about 5 minutes. While I’m sure there are quack chiropractors out there, I’d be more careful about claiming they all are.

  42. HeartBurnKid says:

    @GearheadGeek: Definitely. I got one of the good ones, and even he admits that you have to be careful with chiropractors (though he thinks that even most of the bad ones have good intentions, they just overreach). I’m on maintenance with mine right now, because, while I’m in generally good health, I do have some back problems that can relapse. He sees me once every three weeks, charges me $60 a visit (well worth it), and not only does he give a discount if I pay a year in advance, but that also entitles me to free visits between my scheduled ones if I want them — and sometimes, like after I moved my mom to her new apartment, I want those free visits more than anything in the world, let me tell you.

    Not to mention that he actually explained to me what a “subluxation” is — it’s a minor dislocation of the vertebrae, not large enough to be thought of as actual damage to the spine, but enough to put pressure on the nerves (thus causing pain) and give the possibility of developing into something worse in the future. It’s a bit of jargon, but what field doesn’t have jargon?

    Oh, and he did my initial exam, x-rays, followup consultation and all that for free. He only started charging me once he started actually treating me.

    He’s one of the good ones, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.

  43. Youthier says:

    I’ve worked for a good one and a bad one…

    Here’s the easiest test: They say “One of your legs is longer than the other. That’s part of the problem.” Almost EVERYONE has one leg slightly longer than the other one. It’s totally normal. It is not a reason for chiropractic treatment.

    The good chiropractor I worked for was honestly someone devoted to making people’s lives better. I think it works because it kept me out of a scoliosis brace during my teen years.

    I honestly see a lot of chiropractors and dentists running similar practices – you have the ones with the glossy brochures and all the “late$t” treatment options and you have the ones that actually care about people.

  44. dragonfire1481 says:

    If he wasn’t taking his health seriously, he’d have never gone to a chiropractor in the first place.

    Let me run that letter through my BS to English translator:

    “Unfortunately it does not appear I can make enough money off you to make it worth my time to treat you. Therefore you will have seek help elsewhere.”

  45. AaronZ says:

    What’s with all the chiropractic hate?

    I’ve had back problems my whole life, and was always worried about re-injuring myself. My doctors, surgeons and even Physical Therepists never explained what was wrong and what I could/couldn’t do.

    My chiropractor was the first person in 15 years to take the time to clearly explain what was wrong with me, what caused the pain, and what I could do to maintain a healthy back.
    I am forever grateful to him for his time and help. (above and beyond paying him for it.)

  46. Mr_Human says:

    @johnva: Agreed: I don’t buy the “chi” crap about acupuncture. All I know is that when I had tennis elbow, my doctor gave me some pills (anti-inflamatories, I guess), and the pain went away until I ran out of pills. On a friend’s recommendation (he’d had the same issue), I went to an acupuncturist. He used needles with an electric assist. In four sessions the pain went away. Ditto a few years later, when I had some neck pain from repetitive stress, I think. There’s something there; it could use more research.

  47. packetsniffer says:

    Agreed! I had a back injury when I was younger in which my only option was to turn to a chiropractor. Three weeks of slowly working my back into its proper position (my spine was 20% out of alignment) and I was good as new. I’ve never gone back.

    This business of calling it a snake oil voodoo practice is only because of dishonest chiropractors; it’s true that it’s hard to find a good one, but they are out there.

  48. Saboth says:


    I believe it comes from the whole spinal manipulation thing. I equate a chiropractor to getting a good massage (no, I’ve never been). I am sure they know all about spines and whatnot, but…no one is going to crack my spine.

  49. Sasha_Pie says:

    Hey, let’s leave acupuncture out of this…. I know what the skeptics say, but there’s no way that the placebo effect can explain why I stopped chronically bleeding after only one informal acupuncture treatment, which, initially, I was completely unimpressed by and had zero expectation that it would do anything.

    On the other hand, a friend of mine went religiously to her chiropractor.. until he worked on a new part of her spine for no reason and the next day she was crippled with debilitating pain in her lower back and had to go to the emergency room. She couldn’t return to work for months after that.

    The chiropractor visited her at home for a few days and was totally at a loss for what happened.

    *shivers* Gives me the willies. Everyone can just stay away from my spine thank you very much.

  50. HeartBurnKid says:

    @Youthier: Actually, this is true, but in some cases it can be a sign of a bigger problem. I know that, when my mom was having severe back issues, one leg seemed to be a full inch or so shorter than the other. The reason being that her back was so messed up that it took her pelvis off-axis. That was one of the many problems our chiropractor corrected over the course of her treatment, and she has a much better, less stressful posture now (she can actually walk several blocks again!)

    Again, a good one will take this as a possible “warning sign” and do some lower-back x-rays and other tests to determine the cause. A bad one will just make it an excuse for more visits.

  51. patodonnell39 says:

    That is the most childish letter I’ve ever seen by a “professional.” Great stuff…

  52. celestebai says:

    When I missed a well-child checkup for my son and called a month later to schedule it, the receptionist asked why I had missed it. I told her we’d just been busy and it got away from us. She replied, “So you don’t put your child’s health as a priority in our life?” I was so mad, I answered, “Apperantly not.” Then hung up. Never went back.

    Doctors (chiro’s included) should be there as a medical advisor, not as a guilt trip and a dictator for what’s best for my family’s health.

  53. Sockatume says:

    Anyone else think this sounds a bit like a mob threat?

    “Sorry you don’t take your health seriously, it could be useful if you were in, say, a car crash, while you were driving on the highway late at night.

    See you soon!



  54. rodeo40 says:

    My wife and I went to a consultation and he gave us a slide show that ended with:
    “If you don’t choose chiropractic you are gambling with your health”

    “Uh…honey…let’s go”

  55. ELC says:

    @Git Em SteveDave thinks a friend with weed is better: oh please, not the “chiropractic is fake medicine.” Tell that to the millions who visit them for relief from pain that they can get no other way.

  56. BrotherMonk says:

    Wow… look at the chiropractic hatred…

    So we are clear I am a chiropractor. Well, I was before I went to law school. I was a damned good chiropractor who made a business out of helping people who had legitimate issues. The irony is that I did not ascribe to the “you have to come into my office fifteen times this month” school of thought. I treated what I found, was honest with my patients, and did not attempt to practice outside of what I was taught in school.

    The end result of so many DCs flooding the market with their questionable brand of healthcare (like the DC in the article)? I could no longer make an honest living. In the end I was $100,000 in debt with student loans, had a professional degree that was worthless outside my field of study, and I could not find work. All because I had this foolish idea that I could actually help people without the use of dangerous pharmaceuticals.

    And for those that think chiropractors are not “real doctors” I challenge you to look at the curriculum of an accredited school. If you think that getting a DC is easy, you are SADLY mistaken. The four years I spent in chiropractic school made law school look like a walk in the park. I have never struggled with a more rigorous academic challenge in my life, including completing my BS in Chemistry while working full time.

    There are many chiropractors out there who do great work. There are tens of thousands of people who would not be able to get out of bed each day without the good work their DCs have done. You are all casting a rather accusatory net over all chiropractors, and I would bet that the vast majority of you have never set foot in a chiropractor’s office. You’re just buying into the hype that the allopathic medical establishment has fed you (ie “there is no problem out there that cannot be solved with the broad application of drugs”).

    The real problem with chiropractic is the management companies who train these DCs to be “better business people”. This includes high pressure tactics to get more visits out of people and ways to subvert the already shrinking insurance companies for more money. I have never agreed with that logic and left the profession for that exact reason. But that does not belittle the fact that chiropractic care works for many people.

    We have an expression in the legal field that applies equally to chiropractic – “everybody hates a lawyer until they NEED one.” Chiropractic bashing is not new, and will likely never go away so long as there are DCs out there not properly educating the public and not putting their patients before their Mercedes payments. I saw more than my share of people who came to my office with tears in their eyes when they walked in our front door and a smile on their face when they left.

    I can assure you that the next time you twist and lift a garbage can full of lawn clippings and feel your back pop you will understand what I mean… and when your DO tries to inject lidocaine into your back or your MD gives you Vicodin and muscle relaxers instead of treating the SOURCE of the problem, you will begin to see the light.

  57. endless says:

    I like how so many people are talking about M.D.s being “real” doctors.

    apparently, there are no bad M.D.s and they don’t want to just pump you full of whatever is the latest new drug they are getting spiffed for….

    not to say there aren’t alot of good doctors…. but thats the undertone i was picking up on here…

  58. Bix says:

    There are plenty of chiropractors who are good people who charge reasonable prices and don’t promise to fix everything. The problem is that the chiropractors who act in the opposite way are very loud, as well as chiropractors who don’t promise the moon to patients but push other agendas separately, like weight loss/cleansing programs.

    As far as osteopaths, in my experience, nowadays a lot of them don’t practice tradional osteopathy and just use it as an alternative to an MD.

    Also, acupuncture and Chinese herbs really do work. As with everything else, you just need the right practitioner.

  59. CPC24 says:

    It seems like 90% of people who think chiropractors are quacks have never been to one. They always know a “friend of a friend” whose chiropractor is a quack. I’m sure there are some out there, like this stupid guy.

    I didn’t think much of it, until my back locked up and I couldn’t stand up straight. I went to one and he showed me my x-rays right away. It turned out I have scoliosis and no M.D. had ever found it.

    He didn’t say he could cure it, or anything else, but he could ease the pain. After a few visits it was much better. I didn’t have to go again for years. By then, I’d moved to another city and found another one. He also hasn’t scammed me. I only have to go maybe once a year.

    My wife also had a back problem she didn’t know about, until one day she was in major pain. It was so bad she couldn’t walk, so she went to an M.D. All he did was give her two or three prescriptions for strong painkillers and told her to wait until it got better.

    She went to my chiropractor, and he actually helped her. She has one leg longer than the other, and no M.D. had ever noticed it. She hasn’t had to go back in a year, either.

  60. SacraBos says:

    I had a TrueGreen ChemLawn guy tell me I must not care about my landscaping because I didn’t take their offer on some tree fertilization. Suddenly, I stopped caring about TrueGreen Chemlawn, completely.

    This kind of “if you don’t use us, you don’t care about X” type of threats and insinuation makes me insure I don’t care about that provider of services anymore. That’s one of the fastest ways to lost my business.

    @Sasha_Pie: My grandfather had a Chiro work on him. He’s had severe arthritis for years, and that visit put him in a wheelchair for months. He was always a very self-sufficient person up until that point, and emotionally it crushed him. He’s passed away now, but I have no doubt that chiro took several years off his life, as well as the quality of the time he had left.

  61. johnva says:

    @ericole: Popularity is not proof of efficacy. The problem is that often a lot of the diseases “treated” by chiropractic, alternative medicine, and the like have subjective symptoms. So it’s hard to tell whether it actually helps all those people or if they are just choosing to ascribe relief they subjectively feel to the treatment. You have to do a controlled experiment to determine whether it really works, and it’s hard to do that with something like chiropractice. Like I said, I’m sure it “works” for some people, but I’m not sure that it’s much better than a good massage.

    @BrotherMonk: Chiropracters are not “real doctors” in my mind until they provide a scientifically plausible theory for why their treatments can be used to treat anything beyond muscle and bone pain. And provide evidence that they are better than other similar treatments like massage or physical therapy. I’m not buying into any “hype” the “allopathic” medical community has fed me. I’m just saying that if their stuff works, they should be able to at least provide a theory of how it works that isn’t utter BS when evaluated in the context of scientific biology and medical science.

  62. johnva says:

    @CPC24: Anecdotal, subjective experience is not proof of efficacy, nor do I need to use one to know that a lot of their theories are ludicrous. I know that it will kill me to drink a vial of cyanide, and I don’t need to “experience” that myself to know it.

    Like I said, I’m sure they do help some people feel better. But I’m very skeptical that they do anything a highly experienced massage therapist couldn’t do.

  63. HeartBurnKid says:

    @johnva: My chiropractor has never claimed to be able to treat anything beyond muscle, bone, and nerve problems. Is he a “real” doctor?

  64. HeartBurnKid says:

    @johnva: Oh, and as for the “subjectivity” thing you mentioned… I saw my mom’s “before” and “after” x-rays. There was definitely an objective change.

  65. johnva says:

    @HeartBurnKid: Real doctors are trained in treating a lot more than that. Why are DC’s supposedly so heavily trained in a variety of things (they always like to claim they know as much as MDs do) if they can’t treat anything beyond that?

    I’m not saying that there isn’t some measurable change that takes place. An objective change may result from chiropractic treatment, just like it might from a massage. I was saying that the reason for the POPULARITY of chiropractic is because it treats subjective symptoms that are hard to quantify. So people may “believe” it worked even if their pain relief had nothing to do with the chiropractor.

  66. bleh says:


    Isn’t it illegal to refuse a patient their medical records?

  67. mmstk101 says:

    “Dear Customer,

    We are disappointed to hear that you do in fact care about your financial security and have decided not to bank with Bank of America.”

    now that would be funny.

  68. jdjonsson says:

    Chiros are quacks. Chiro school teaches you more about how to fleece patients than actually fix anything medical.

  69. chrisjames says:

    @SacraBos: Right, as if to tell us there aren’t any alternatives. It just screams “desperation pitch” when they say it. If you’re that desperate for business, you can’t be that good to begin with.

    @donkeyjote: I can’t vouch for acupuncture as a healing solution, because I just don’t believe in it. But it does work for short-term relief, which is usually all it takes when your body is healing itself. The best case I know of is when my father threw out his back right before a cruise. It got worse and worse until he couldn’t walk, and the only relief was an onboard acupuncturist. That at least got him to a point where he could walk around, though still in pain.

    Later on, when he had to go through the bullshit of waiting around for doctors’ appointments to actually get things diagnosed and fixed, he went every now and then to another acupuncturist so he could manage (pain pills weren’t an option, nor should they be the only option). If you consider the “science” behind acupuncture, it’s not really any different from a placebo if all it’s providing is relief, and that’s really the point.

    People who believe it’s healing them, well, that’s a bit of a stretch guys. At least see a doctor or two and have some tests done, even if you think they’re as quackery as alternative medicine.

  70. revmatty says:

    Note there are two kinds of chiropractors: the ones who view their profession as a form of basic physical therapy and the ones who believe in subluxation and that chiro is the cure to all that ails anyone. The former are well worth seeing for the sorts of issues that you would go to any physical therapist for, the latter are witch doctors at best.

  71. johnva says:

    @chrisjames: Well, acupuncture at least has a potentially plausible scientific explanation for why it might provide relief: the needles might stimulate the release of endorphins, which could help with the pain for a short time. So yeah, things that might have scientifically plausible explanations should be investigated. I just don’t buy the non-scientific “theories” behind a lot of this stuff.

  72. johnva says:

    @revmatty: Well, why don’t the supposed “good” chiropractors police their own? They should if they want their profession to be seen as respectable. They could lobby for laws banning chiros from treating diseases for which the only theory behind the treatment is “sublaxation”. Also, if they’re just glorified physical therapists, why do they constantly try to compare themselves to MD’s and call themselves “doctors”?

  73. GearheadGeek says:

    @BrotherMonk: If you go to a DO for the situation you described (wrenching your back while performing an unsafe lift of a bin of yard clippings) and ALL he or she does is inject lidocaine into your back, they didn’t pay much attention in school.

    There are definitely DOs who went to an osteopathic school because that’s where they got in, but there are some who actually learn and use OMM. If you think chiropractors should be evaluated individually and not tarred with the same brush that’s used on the bad ones, you should probably offer the same courtesy to DOs.

  74. chrisjames says:

    @johnva: All medical alternatives–snake oil, prescription medication, herbal medication, surgery, osteopathy, physical therapy, magnet therapy, prayer, etc–deserve investigation. Scientific inquiry into the component parts, no matter how asinine they are, is how the field as a whole is improved. And, just because you can’t investigate the spiritual aspects of an alternative doesn’t outright disprove it scientifically, it’s just unverifiable. Though to me, an unverified practice is as good as a harmful practice when it comes to health.

    On the flipside, I don’t need scientific inquiry to tell me to avoid the spine crackers. Good old common sense and self-preservation are enough.

  75. quail says:

    Here’s what I know from the medical community: Chiropractic works as well as placebos do. If it seems to work for you, then great. Just don’t go broke doing it.

    Acupuncture actually does show signs of providing significant pain relief. Acupuncture seems to cause the body to produce endorphins and such. But it doesn’t always work.

  76. @revmatty: The subluxations ones are known as “straights” and the others who use physical therapy are “mixed”. The problem is that the ones who are mixed do provide a sort of legitimate service. But they provide it for the wrong reason. A physical therapist or Osteopath train to alleviate the pain and attempt to cure. The straights and the mixers train to balance the energies and other hokum, during which their manipulations may alleviate the pain, but it was almost a side effect. So yes, there are ones who do help people.

  77. fermentsindarkness says:

    I bet that the actuaries could tell you who did the most harm. Can anyone compare the malpractice rates of Medical Doctors vs. Chiropractors?

    I have heard stories of MDs being driven out of fields like obstetrics because of malpractice premiums. How much do the chiros pay?

    I grew up in the insurance industry and an actuary can get risks down to what side of the neighborhood you live on, car color you choose, and choice of profession. Whichever person does more harm is probably paying the higher malpractice rates. Does anyone have this information?

  78. bonofasitch says:

    I went to a chiropractor for a couple of weeks. My back was bothering me, probably due to picking up my kids. I knew at the time it was a scam, but I wanted to see if they could help me quickly.

    After about 3 weeks (10 visits), I was feeling much better, I told the receptionist that I did not need to make another appointment, I was cured. Everyone in the office stopped what they were doing and just looked at me. I don’t think they had ever heard someone say that. One of the staff went to get the back cracker, and he came to talk to me immediately. I think he left a lady on the adjustment table.

    I told him that I was cured and felt great. He wanted to discuss an ongoing treatment plan, and I told him that if I ever had problems I would be back.

    Just the look on everyone’s faces when I said I was cured was priceless.

  79. StankGunner says:

    Make sure you actually read the article you are quoting before you quote it. That consenses from the NIH starts out with big red letters

    “This statement is more than five years old and is provided solely for historical purposes. Due to the cumulative nature of medical research, new knowledge has inevitably accumulated in this subject area in the time since the statement was initially prepared. Thus some of the material is likely to be out of date, and at worst simply wrong. For reliable, current information on this and other health topics, we recommend consulting the National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus”


    There are substantial problems with trying to quantify the benefits of acupuncture. “Pain” is extremely subjective and asking someone to rate how they feel before a treatment and to rate how they feel after a treatment on a scale of 1 to 10 can result in utter crap for data. I don’t doubt that people can leave an acupunctureist and feel like it has done wonders for your pain and this might be more than just the placebo effect. What is likely happening is a fare amount of relaxation. I am just kinda making some assumptions on this one, but I would expect that after the initial fear that this needle is going to hurt, the process is likely quite soothing. Also, all throughout the process you are going to have a person with fancy pieces of paper that have his name on them all over the wall telling you that this spot is going to do this.

    Chiropractic HAS been found to have the same benefit for lower back pain as real physical therapy, and it also costs just about the same, but there is a real risk of serious, permanent damage from chiropractic that make physical therapy the obvious choice for treating lower back pain.

    If a chiropractor tells you that he can make your other problems go away (disease, depression, ADHD) they are full of crap. You may feel that alternative medicine is helping you, but studies show that this is a placebo effect and there is no reason to throw your money down the drain for these solutions that are not helping you.

  80. chaos242 says:

    I’m going to chalk this one up to a simple English misuse. Was the chiropractic foreign? English is SUCH a difficult language to master!

  81. Johnyalamo says:

    I too am a chiropractor and could not of said it better myself.

    Its true. I went to chiropractic school and it was the hardest thing I ever did. I received a Bachelor’s at a major university and also went to culinary schools that were breezes in comparison. I remember many of my chiropractic classmates that I would not want to be ten feet near their office even today. Chiropractic is like any profession in that there are good ones, bad ones, and very bad ones. Research the reputation and expertise of any chiropractor as you would research a mechanic you are taking your Ferrari in for a fix.
    While it is true that a chiropractic treatment plan may not follow the “logic” of many allopathic treatment plans, thus is often confounding to many MD’s, there are a few warning signs that one should be aware of when considering chiropractic care.
    Don’t ever agree to any “pre-payment” type plan. A good chiropractor will adjust his/her treatment plan according to how the patient is responding to treatment of specific conditions and this is rarely predictable. Even if a chiropractor believes that he/she can cure cancer or something with chiropractic, a good chiropractor will recognize their own scope of practice and not let their ego get in the way of referring or recommending a patient to proper specialist if/when chiropractic alone is not solving the problem. There is a fair amount of research that supports chiropractic care especially when it comes to musculoskeletal injuries and rehab. [] as well as, the ACA at are good sources to begin or review research. The peer reviewed periodical “Spine” often has articles from Orthopods, Osteopaths, PT’s and Chiro’s as well. Unless an MD is a Neurologist, Orthopedist, or PM&R Doctor they have little or absolutely no orthopedic training and even most PM&R Doctors remember little of their rehab training. PT’s, sadly, are at the mercy of whoever the MD is that prescribes Physical therapy and PT’s do not have the ability to diagnose musculoskeletal problems (often a source of frustration with PT’s that I’ve worked with in a hospital setting). Even the AMA acknowledges that an average chiropractor will better diagnose musculoskeletal disorders than an average MD. Being a patient in any doctors’ office today is much different than years ago. A patient must be smarter and more assertive when choosing any doctor as there is currently a flood of physicians in this country and many of the bad doctors be they MD’s, DO’s, or chiropractors are in it just for the money. Buyer Beware.

  82. HeartBurnKid says:

    @johnva: You know, you’re really not worth arguing with at this point. You’re just looking for excuses now. You gripe that chiropractors claim to be able to treat everything, then when I point out that that’s not true of all chiropractors, you claim that the fact that they can’t treat everything is enough to prove they’re quacks.

    Seriously, now, my general practitioner can’t treat a muscle tear. Does that make him a quack?

    A surgeon can’t treat leukemia. Does that make him a quack?

    A proctologist can’t treat tonsilitis. Does that make him a quack?

    Face it, now, you’re just reaching for straws.

  83. johnva says:

    @HeartBurnKid: No, I’m not “reaching for straws”. My point was this: what is the point of going to a chiropractor, as opposed to a physical therapist, if the chiropractor isn’t any better than a PT person? The other chiros that DO claim to be able to do more are worse, because they can’t back up their claims. So chiros are either a superfluous profession or quacks (and the majority are quacks). Either way I can’t see why anyone would go to one.

  84. Johnyalamo says:

    Johnva, to go to a PT you have to be refferred to by an MD who provides the diagnosis thus you are paying twice as much. A PT cannot legally diagnose. A chiroprator has more training than a PT. I worked for a hospital as a PT aid when deciding on chiropractic or PT school. If anything, PT’s are second rate chiropractors whose power in the healthcare profession is neutered and dpendant on the refferals of other doctors. The only bebfit to being a PT is that you may get a little less hassle from insurance companies when you are trying to get your bills paid.

  85. colinjay says:

    My father is a chiropractor and also does acupuncture. I had a pretty bad car accident a few years ago and after some acupuncture treatments that I was highly skeptical of, I got pain relief that even my Oxycontin prescription wasn’t giving. I don’t get adjusted too much as my back normally feels fine as it is, but to me a good Chiropractor is the first person I’d go to if I had a back injury that didn’t require immediate surgery. It helps that my dad did his internship at a large orthopedic surgeon’s practice and knows the limits of his scope of practice.

    The fact of the matter is that like the old joke goes,

    “What do you call the guy who graduates last in medical school?”


    The same is true of the Chiropractic world. For what it’s work my dad was valedictorian of his class. Maybe that’s why I have such a positive view of it.

  86. DoktorGoku says:

    @BrotherMonk: “You’re just buying into the hype that the allopathic medical establishment has fed you (ie “there is no problem out there that cannot be solved with the broad application of drugs”).”

    Really? You mean we’ve been telling patients that there’s no problem that we can’t fix with our drugs? Gee, I guess that orthopedic surgery we do isn’t actually real, see, we’re obviously just giving the patients drugs when they’re out.

    I guess I better tell my MD colleagues in physical medicine that the therapeutic work they do with PTs every day is just part of that “hype” machine, too.

    Thank you so much for enlightening me! My entire profession must be a sham now! I should never have gone for my MD!

    @Johnyalamo: “Even the AMA acknowledges that an average chiropractor will better diagnose musculoskeletal disorders than an average MD.”

    I’d like to see your source. I’ve been a member of the AMA for years, and while I’ve been more involved in the political and community service committees, that sounds like something that would make news.

  87. johnva says:

    @Johnyalamo: I don’t care about that, considering that if I go to a PT, it’s only going to be because my doctor told me to (I actually talk these things through with my doctor). When I did see a PT person, it was because my doctor sent me. I have no interest in getting diagnosed with anything by a PT or chiropractor.

  88. johnva says:

    @Johnyalamo: Oh, and I’m glad that insurance companies hassle chiropractors. Insurance is expensive and unaffordable enough without them paying for a bunch of quack treatments (which is what the majority of chiropractic seems to be). Healthcare dollars should be spent on things that are proven to work, not alternative medicine.

  89. Youthier says:

    @colinjay: You bring up a good point – if you are looking for a good chiropractor, you should probably discuss it with a doctor you trust.

  90. Monoplex says:

    IIRC, The American Medical Association has said that chiropractic treatment can, for many people, be an effective treatment for low back pain.

  91. DoktorGoku says:

    @Monoplex: See, that’s what I remember hearing- not that chiropractors can do a ‘better’ job Dx’ing MSkel disorders than an average MD. I’m still hoping for that link, as mentioned earlier.

  92. pigeonpenelope says:

    ugh. this “doctor” is a joke.

  93. Johann says:

    If only chiropractors took medical science seriously…

  94. Johnyalamo says:

    I believe it was a study 5-6 years ago out of Spine Journal at: [] . But yes, as you regular General Practicioner rarely has any Orthopedic training, and the average chiropractor has far more hours of neurological, ortho, Radiological and anatomical teaching hours in school, the average chiropractor was found to be a better diagnostician when it came strictly to musculoskelatal disorders.
    And Johnva, it would be nice if the lawyers would police the lawyers and the Med doctors would police the med doctors. Hell, the police should police the police.
    But quacks? Come on. Take a look at this: []

  95. BrotherMonk says:

    I had hoped we could all have a civil, intelligent and informed discussion about these issues without resorting to mockery and sarcasm. Always the idealist I suppose…

    GearheadGeek, you are correct in pointing out that my statement did seem to overgeneralize the practice of Osteopaths. That was not my intent, and I apologize if it came across that way. My general practitioner for many years was a DO, and I was very happy with his depth of knowledge and skills as a diagnostician. Your comments are noted and I will try to continue to keep my mind open.

    DoktorGoku, I certainly am not stating for the record that ALL medical doctors utilize pharmaceuticals exclusively to treat their patients. I am not so foolish as to make this kind of blanket statement. But I will say, having worked for several years in a personal injury law practice, that the vast majority of the medical doctors I have dealt with IN MY EXPERIENCE rely on a short list of muscle relaxers and pain medications to treat acute musculoskeletal injuries. Their primary interest is in treating the subjective pain and not always in determining the objective source of the pain. There is rarely talk of PT or rehabilitative work until much later in the process, and then only if their regimen of prescription drugs don’t do the trick.

    On the subject of surgery, I have seen an increasing number of poorly performed surgical procedures that have resulted in patients with life-long complications as a result. In my humble opinion, surgery should be an option of last resort for individuals with musculoskeletal issues. While I am always open to new treatment options for those in pain, it would seem wiser to explore the variety of pain management options available before allowing someone to cut you open.

    What I am amazed by is the simple fact that many people tend to overlook natural means of solving a problem as opposed to the old “magic bullet” idea that a brown plastic bottle full of pills is going to make them better. I was always trained to look at ALL forms of therapy objectively and to keep an eye open to the subjective statements from my patients. I was taught that the driving force behind treatment was always the wellness of your patient, and that included seeking the advice and care of practitioners from all disciplines and walks of life (what is commonly called the Holistic approach). The simple fact is, if a given modality works for a given individual, it cannot and should not be overlooked.

    What amazes me even more is, eight years after I left the arena of chiropractic for the oh-so-glamorous life of an attorney, I STILL find myself defending my former profession.

    An interesting read for those screaming “quackery” is found here

  96. DoktorGoku says:

    @BrotherMonk: “I certainly am not stating for the record that ALL medical doctors utilize pharmaceuticals exclusively to treat their patients. I am not so foolish as to make this kind of blanket statement.”

    Yet, you said earlier: “You’re just buying into the hype that the allopathic medical establishment has fed you (ie “there is no problem out there that cannot be solved with the broad application of drugs“).”

    That sounds like quite the blanket statement to me.

    What you said in your last comment sounds a lot more reasonable, and yet, I’m sure I don’t have to explain that you worked in a personal injury law office, as you mentioned. That would be like somebody in Internal Affairs saying that all the police officers they worked with were corrupt. To quote the vernacular, that gets a screaming “Duh!”

    Also, that last link you’ve posted for “those screaming quackery” isn’t exactly reliable. Not only is some of the stuff there hilarious, but I tend to put more trust in a scientific journal a random-looking 90’s era website.

    @Johnyalamo: I’m still waiting for the actual link/document/etc. that proves what you said. I’m not going to do your research for you, and any decent doctor knows that you have to be able to back up anything you say or quote with direct evidence. Vaguely stating that it might be in a journal doesn’t help one’s case, it hurts it.

  97. DoktorGoku says:

    scientific journal instead of*

  98. revmatty says:

    @StankGunner: Note also the fairly recent study that showed that *fake* acupuncture is about as effective “real” acupuncture, which sort of indicates that maybe you’re seeing placebo effect. See also RSI pain study. As noted above, pain is subjective.

    Quackcast covers this topic in episode 27 nicely and he also discusses the use of brain imaging showing that while the perception of pain is decreased through the use of acupuncture (or placebo) the objective measures (range of motion, flexibility, etc) remain unchanged.