Why Don’t Medical Doctors Refer To Chiropractors?
I had the unique opportunity to talk to a few new MD graduates from the local medical school. It was enlightening, to say the least.
A common question that many of my patients and the general public ask is why medical doctors don’t like chiropractors or why they don’t refer to chiropractors? It’s a valid question that needs answering. Unfortunately, to answer this question truthfully and in-depth, the facts end up sounding like a conspiracy theory. Why? Well because there “was” literally a conspiracy carried out by the AMA to discredit and destroy the chiropractic profession.
This is nothing new.
It has been going on for years and is no longer under “conspiracy theory” status as the AMA was found guilty in federal court of dishonest and deceitful tactics to train medical students about the “dangers” of chiropractic. This campaign used propaganda in misinformation to indoctrinate the medical students in order to have a preconceived bias against chiropractors. See HERE for more. Why? As with most unethical practices, it always comes back to money.
As a medical healthcare provider, your main education is in treating patients with drugs and surgery. If these patients don’t need your care because they can correct the cause of their back pain, neck pain, headaches, migraines, etc. using a safer and more effective treatment like chiropractic. The results are you, the medical healthcare provider will be without a lot of patients. Which in turn translates to a significant loss of money for the hospital. Even worse a loss of money for the drug company whose drugs you prescribe.
Make no mistake, most medical doctors are very much concerned about the well-being of their patients.
However, when that seed of doubt and distrust for chiropractic is planted it’s very hard to weed out and replace with factual information. Despite the conclusion of the federal trial that ruled in favor of chiropractic and found the AMA guilty, the trend of instructing medical students to be anti-chiropractic is still very much alive.
A recent conversation with some medical doctors who just graduated from medical school shows a perfect case in point.
Me: What do they teach you about chiropractors?
Just graduated MD: Uhhhh not good stuff
Me: What kind of not good stuff?
New MD: Just kind of like, that you’re not really supposed to recommend it or if you do recommend it, recommend it with caution…. Because it’s not really, why are you a chiropractor?
Me: I am a chiropractor. Trust me you’re not going to hurt my feelings. I’ve heard it all before.
New MD: Different physicians have different theories on it. I think some are more open to alternative methods but in general, I’ve kind of heard like you know try a, try medical options first and if not then if you feel like you need to go to a chiropractor, research the chiropractor then like go with caution and like that kind of stuff. But I don’t really know much about it.
Other new MD: We don’t learn a lot about it.
New MD: We actually learn zero.
Notice how the only thing they were taught about chiropractic is that it’s a risky treatment.
That it shouldn’t be recommended or that if it is, it should be done with caution. How can you justify such a negative view towards an entire profession and provide zero evidence or reason for it?
It’s appallingly hypocritical that a profession with numerous studies showing a record of hundreds of thousands of people a year dying due to medical-related adverse events. No such research exists for chiropractors, who provide arguably the safest healthcare treatment in the world, should be utilized “with caution”.
The New York Times reports:
“… [I]nstead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable.”
In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person’s death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury, while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues, such as severe bleeding during surgery.
Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.”
Sad how they were not taught why or what to be cautious of.
The reality is that there is little reason to be cautious of chiropractic. That’s how you indoctrinate someone. You teach them what to think, how to think. When compared to medical treatment, chiropractic is a MASSIVELY safer option and should always be the first option and not last?
The problem is that ignorance is not always one-sided.
Many of my fellow chiropractors fail to or inaccurately describe what chiropractic is and can do. Just like in a marriage, or any relationship, communication is key. Chiropractors often fail miserably in this area. As these new doctors told me they were very confused about chiropractic because of their friend who is a chiropractor and claimed to help get people pregnant. While this may be true in a secondary fashion, it bears explanation, which I provided.
The facts are that chiropractors don’t “get patients pregnant” directly. Chiropractic can, however, help to correct the shape of the spine. When your spine has a shift or you have bad posture then the nerves it protects can be impinged, stretched, compressed, inflamed, etc. When you understand this it’s easy to make the connection that the brain sends information through the spinal cord and nerves. If you restrict that information via cutting, burning, compressing, stretching, inflaming the nerve then the receiving organ will not work properly. If that’s happening to the nerves controlling the uterus or ovaries, it’s common sense to see why that person could be infertile.
A chiropractor has the unique ability to correct the improper motion or shape of the spine that can lead to this kind of neurological impingement. While the chiropractor didn’t directly get the patient pregnant he/she can remove the cause of infertility, assuming the cause is due to improper nerve function caused by an abnormal spine. These kinds of “crazy” or “miraculous” cases are very common in chiropractic. Chiropractors don’t and shouldn’t directly treat infertility or other organic diseases with chiropractic. However, chiropractic care when focused on the abnormal shape and motion of the spine can lead to substantial changes in organ function and disease.
Thankfully there has been a positive trend for many of these new doctors to ask questions about how chiropractic works. In the age of information, you have to intentionally avoid looking for the truth to stay in the dark. I hope to see this trend continue so that we can see more and more medical and chiropractic doctors working together to get patients better.