Chiropractic no longer “drug free”

By Terry A. Rondberg

Question: What’s wrong with the statement, “Chiropractic is a safe, effective, drug-free alternative to medical treatment”?

Answer: It’s no longer true.

Doctor thinkingFor the first 100+ years, DCs could all honestly state this was what they offered. Safe. Drug-free. Alternative. Sadly, despite many decades of hard work and devotion to the principles of chiropractic, the profession is becoming nothing more than a bunch of medical technicians doling out prescriptions to treat diseases.

Earlier this month, National University Health Sciences (NUHS) — the school that used to be called National College of Chiropractic — announced with barely contained glee:

“The United States is experiencing a shortage of primary care family doctors. That’s why over the last 8-10 years, chiropractic associations in states with severe shortages of primary care physicians have sought to expand the scope of practice for chiropractic physicians. They seek new laws and regulations that would allow chiropractic physicians to prescribe a limited range of medications in order to help their patients in a more comprehensive manner. These include medications that are common to conditions frequently seen by chiropractic physicians, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs that treat ailments such as osteoporosis and arthritis.”

Naturally, National is jumping on the drug bandwagon and gearing up to teach DCs how to pass out the meds just like the MDs. “NUHS determined that chiropractic physicians would need 90 hours of pharmacology in addition to the prerequisite physiology and biochemistry courses already required by accredited chiropractic education programs. (The DC program at NUHS already provides students with these 90 hours in pharmacology, but such requirements are not representative of all chiropractic institutions.)”

New Mexico has already changed its chiropractic scope to allow “chiropractic physicians with the right licensure and training to prescribe drugs from a limited formulary.” Other states are sure to follow, and National (and no doubt many of our other colleges) will be right there, ready to teach DCs (oops … chiropractic physicians) to grab a prescription pad rather than look to the cause of the problem. Just what we need. MORE doctors handing out drugs.

Coincidentally, the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) also released its proposed revised standards at about the same time, and it removed ALL reference to subluxation from the document, as though the whole concept didn’t exist in chiropractic. PLUS, it removed the phrase “without drugs or surgery” in reference to chiropractic practice. It also re-worded the standards to allow itself to accredit DC or “equivalent” degree offerings. In other words, the CCE appears willing to chuck even the word “chiropractic.”

Whatever happened to the Position Paper and Paradigm developed by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, which was signed and endorsed by ALL college presidents? It stated clearly what chiropractic is:

“Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. … Chiropractic is concerned with the preservation and restoration of health, and focuses particular attention on the subluxation.”

Instead, now we have Dr. James Winterstein, president of NUHS telling us: “Chiropractic physicians are already licensed as primary care doctors in most states. As health care policy-makers wrestle with the scarcity of general practice physicians, expanding the scope of chiropractic care to qualified chiropractic physicians makes good economic and strategic sense. New Mexico’s citizens will undoubtedly benefit from broadening health care delivery by chiropractic physicians, and we anticipate that more states will see the wisdom in this as well.”

Good economic and strategic sense? Is that what’s he’s worried about? What about patient safety? What about safeguarding their right to have access to a drug-free wellness approach? What about protecting the livelihood of chiropractors who don’t want to be medical physicians?

There is no “wisdom” in taking this direction. The future belongs to non-medical wellness care and to an understanding of the effects drug-free approaches (like the “old” chiropractic) have on the neurological AND musculoskeletal systems of the body. It belongs to a recognition of the innate ability of the body to achieve and maintain homeostasis, and of the way chiropractic impacts subtle energy fields. It does NOT belong to drugs and surgery and the treatment of disease.

It won’t be long before Dr. Winterstein’s idea of chiropractic “medicine” goes under, along with the other allopathic treatment modes. It’s going to be the health care equivalent to the Titantic sinking and I don’t plan to be standing next to him when that happens.

About the Author, Terry A. Rondberg, DC
Dr. Terry A. Rondberg has been an advocate and staunch support for drug-free chiropractic since Day One. Learn more by perusing one of his many books, including Chiropractic First and Under the Influence of Modern Medicine, or by visiting the World Chiropractic Alliance online.

3 thoughts on “Chiropractic no longer “drug free””

  1. It is frustrating no doubt, but we chiropractors who stand for the drugless alternative need to fight harder than we ever have to protect. I think with the recent response to the CCE, that has begun. Nice post.

  2. When I first started practicing 25 years ago, I thought that if we could recommend some anti-imflammatory meds and maybe some other ‘safe’ drugs that would be a good idea. I took the Florida board and there was the possiblity to do proprietory meds there. After seriously thinking about it, I came to realize that first giving meds is too easy (it’s a coward’s way out of really finding the cause and fixing it), secondly it would keep me from my continuing search to find better and more effective techniques and thirdly, it is just plainly against teh very founding principles of Chiropractic. In 1998, I went to a sport’s medicine conference in Opatija, Croatia. There was a study presented there by doctors from Sweden, who had demonstrated that using NSAIDs for only a few days would cause an acute injury to become a chronic injury and would lengthen healing time from 6 to 8 weeks to 6 to 9 months! When patients ask me if they should take something for the pain or imflamation this is what I tell them.

  3. And so we go the way of the osteopath. I can think of two reasons why I would like to be able to prescribe drugs. 1. So I can legally take patients off of them. 2. Because the FDA will no doubt find a way to make real food by prescription only.

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