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.

Brain power — not will power — a key to weight loss

By Terry A. Rondberg

Increasingly, chiropractors and other wellness professionals are called upon to help patients and clients lose weight. Obesity is a huge problem in our society and the medical approach is not only dangerous, but it doesn’t work.

Brain PowerNeither does will power, according to a recent study led in Australia by the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute (MODI) at Monash University. Researchers were trying to figure out why some people seem to be able to eat anything they want and never gain weight, while others put on the pounds after looking at food.

The answer, they say, is in the way our brains function. “We discovered that a high-fat diet caused brain cells to become insulated from the body, rendering the cells unable to detect signals of fullness to stop eating,” stated MODI director Michael Cowley. Apparently, the “insulation” acts like a fatty “subluxation,” interfering with the signals that tell the body to stop eating and to burn energy from reaching the brain efficiently.

“Secondly, the insulation also created a further complication in that the body was unable to detect signals to increase energy use and burn off calories/kilojoules,” Cowley added.

The research showed that support cells in the brain developed overgrowth in a high-fat diet. This prevented the regular brain cells (the melanocortin system or POMC neurons) from connecting with other neural mechanisms, which determine appetite and energy expenditure.

Professor Cowley said the study findings provide a critical link in addressing the obesity epidemic. “These neuronal circuits regulate eating behaviours and energy expenditure and are a naturally occurring process in the brain. The circuits begin to form early in life so that people may have a tendency towards obesity even before they eat their first meal,” he explained.

Eating a high fat diet causes more “insulation” in the nerve cells, and makes it even harder for the brain to help a person lose weight.

“Obese people are not necessarily lacking willpower. Their brains do not know how full or how much fat they have stored, so the brain does not tell the body to stop refuelling. Subsequently, their body’s ability to lose weight is significantly reduced,” the researcher commented.

What I find particularly interesting about this research is that it confirms that neurobiology is the key factor in obesity (as it is with so many other — and probably ALL other — health issues).

That’s important since other research has shown that we can learn, through techniques such as neurofeedback, to actually control and change our neurobiology. For instance, a 2009 study published in the scientific journal EEG and Clinical Neuroscience demonstrated that neurofeedback can be regarded as an evidence-based treatment for Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

It won’t be long before chiropractors can begin teaching patients how they can monitor and control their own neurological functions and allow the proper brain signals to reach organs and tissues throughout the body. That, coupled with chiropractic adjustments, can propel our profession into the vanguard of the new wellness revolution — and finally allow our patients to enjoy optimal health.

SOURCE: “Synaptic input organization of the melanocortin system predicts diet-induced hypothalamic reactive gliosis and obesity,” Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print August 2, 2010. Abstract

About the Author, Terry A. Rondberg, DC
Dr. Terry A. Rondberg, CEO of the World Chiropractic Alliance, is a nationally known author, speaker and advocate for drug-free wellness and alternative care, especially subluxation-based chiropractic.

6 out of every 10 MDs sued during career

By Terry A. Rondberg

Being the target of a malpractice lawsuit doesn’t necessarily indicate incompetence or unprofessional behavior for any individual practitioner. Too many lawsuits are filed because of ignorance, lack of understanding, inaccurate expectations, unrelated personality conflicts, arguments over billing, and — sadly — greed.

Medical MalpracticeStill, in general, the number of malpractice lawsuits filed against a profession or professional subsection can be roughly equated to the overall safety of that discipline. That’s why a riskier specialty like obstetrics or neurosurgery are associated with higher rates of malpractice lawsuits whereas lower risk approaches like chiropractic and acupuncture enjoy a far lower rate of legal actions.

It’s significant, therefore, to find that by late in their career, nearly two-thirds (61%) of all medical doctors have been sued, according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association.

The study analyzed data from 5,825 physicians who responded to the AMA’s Physician Practice Information survey, which examined costs of medical practice and associated factors from 2007 to 2008. The study revealed that, for the physicians surveyed, there were 95 medical liability claims filed for every 100 physicians — almost one per doctor. Highlights in the report include the following realities:

… Nearly 61% of physicians age 55 and over have been sued.

… Before they reach the age of 40, more than 50% of obstetricians/gynecologists have already been sued.

… 90% of general surgeons age 55 and over have been sued.

The study notes that 65% of the claims are dropped or dismissed, but doesn’t specify what percentage were settled out of court in the plaintiff’s favor. Average defense costs per claim range from a low of more than $22,000 among claims that are dropped or dismissed to a high of over $100,000 for cases that go to trial, the reported noted.

Although exact figures are not available for the chiropractic profession, it’s obviously far, far lower than those seen among even the “safest” of medical specialties. That’s reflected in the malpractice insurance rates as well as in the courts.

The information on the rate of lawsuits against MDs is good to keep on hand next time a patient or interested member of the public wonders about the safety of chiropractic!

SOURCE: Source: AMA Policy Research Perspectives, “Medical Liability Claim Frequency: A 2007-2008 Snapshot of Physicians,” August 2010 (

About the Author – Terry A. Rondberg, DC
Dr. Terry A. Rondberg is founder of the World Chiropractic Alliance, as well as serving as its CEO. He is an staunch advocate for drug-free chiropractic care, not only for the spine for for the whole body. He traveled the world to speak on the issue of CAM in general — and chiropractice in particular —  and the shortcomings of our current healthcare system.

Pass the chocolate

One of the staff members of the newspaper I founded and publish, The Chiropractic Journal, gave birth to a healthy son last month. We all cheered the occasion, knowing that this child will grow up in a world that has discovered the true meaning of health and wellness.

It’s incredible to think that the work we do now, educating the public about the dangers and risks of drugs and invasive medical procedures, will improve the lives of generations to come. In that infant’s lifetime, we’ll make astounding advancements in what is now being called the “new biology,” and in the field of energy healing.

Most wellness practitioners, including chiropractors, fully understand that stress is the key factor in most — if not all — chronic illnesses, since it effectively shuts down the immune system. In a study appearing in the current online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers concluded (not for the first time) that stress increases the inflammatory activity that is part of our immune system’s natural response to potentially harmful situations. “Frequent or chronic activation of the system may increase risk for a variety of disorders, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even depression,” stated lead researcher George Slavich, a postdoctoral fellow in the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. Also included in the list of diseases that could be triggered by stress were certain types of cancer. (Abstract available online

What many people don’t know — including some doctors — is that the stress levels of pregnant women can affect the health of their unborn babies. In 2007, a study published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, Stress revealed that high stress levels during pregnancy may affect the unborn baby as early as 17 weeks after conception, with potentially harmful effects on brain and development. Another research study linked stress during pregnancy to premature and low-weight births.

Obviously, stress reduction is critical for all people wanting to maintain a high level of health — but it’s even more important for pregnant women. After all, they’re pumping stress hormones for two!

On a lighter note, several research studies have found that eating some types of chocolate (dark and raw chocolate particularly) during pregnancy can be beneficial to the child, partially because it tends to alleviate some of the woman’s stress.

A Yale study published in Epidemiology, May 2008, claimed chocolate during pregnancy reduces the risk of preeclampsia, a major pregnancy complication. Another study — this one published in Early Human Development back in 2004 — found that babies born to women who ate chocolate every day while they were pregnant were more active and “positively reactive” (meaning they smiled and laughed more). They also showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who didn’t indulge their sweet tooth in chocolate!

So, forget the meds … pass the chocolate!

40 percent of malpractice claims are for diagnostic errors

By Terry A. Rondberg, DC

Journal of the AMA - logoA commentary published in the July 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that diagnostic errors are the single largest contributor to medical malpractice claims, accounting for about about 40% of all claims and costing approximately $300,000 per claim.

The authors — Mark Graber, MD, of Stony Brook University Medical Center; and Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, of Baylor College of Medicine — pointed their fingers at everything BUT the practitioners themselves.

“The great majority of diagnostic errors have root causes that derive from the properties of the healthcare setting, organization and practice,” Dr. Graber said. “By working together, cognitive scientists, informaticians, clinicians, and human factors engineers have a unique opportunity to decrease the likelihood of diagnostic error to the extent that the five principles we outline in JAMA can be incorporated into every new medical home.”

The authors discussed a new model of primary care, called the patient-centered medical home, developed and endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association.

The model facilitates partnerships between individual patients, their personal physician, and, when appropriate, the patient’s family. Care is assisted by physician “extenders,” nurse empowerment, information technology, and other means to assure that patients get care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

The medical home model places emphasis on team-based care, and primary care teams could include not only physicians but also nurses, allied health professionals and personnel, the authors explained.

In this model, the medical doctor would be the gatekeeper and decide what role the “allied” health professions would have. “The physician could take a leadership role, while the entire group collectively takes care of the patient,” explained Dr. Singh.

It’s always heartening to see the medical profession recognize and admit the problems inherent in the current disease-oriented system, such as misdiagnoses, prescription errors, unnecessary surgeries, etc.

Still, I’ll continue to work toward the time when we supplant the old paradigm of labeling and treating conditions and symptoms with the new holistic view of the human body as a complex system of energy patterns that responds to non-invasive care such as chiropractic and other “energy medicine” approaches. And I especially look forward to the time when we don’t label all wellness and healing modalities as “medicine!”