Chiropractic Doctors-5 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know About Them

posted by me and SOURCE: PH&W Magazine December 2008
By Dennis Bertoli

There are a few things that you may not know about D.C.’s, which surprised us, included the mounting research.

1.   Their education is equal to their medical colleagues …and might be better in some areas. [1]

This might be difficult to accept, but chiropractic students spend markedly more hours in the classroom than medical students, especially in the areas of anatomy, physiology, orthopedics, and x-ray. [2] Of course, their training is different since “Chiros” concentrate on muscles, bones, joints, and nerves. Their education only touches on medication, emergency situations, etc. Many are beginning to think this gives them a better background in physical rehab.

A study of the curriculum of North American chiropractic and medical colleges found “Considerable commonality exists between chiropractic and medical programs. Regarding the basic sciences, these programs are more similar than dissimilar.” [2]

Even more interesting was a test given to both chiropractic and medical students. Chiropractic students scored higher than medical students did on the musculoskeletal (bones, joints, and muscles) portion of the exam, while the medical students faired slightly better in other areas. [1]

In another study, chiropractors and chiropractic students tested “significantly higher” in reading X-Rays when compared with their medical colleagues in a study at the University of California Medical Center. [3]

2.   They do more than crunch backs and necks

While chiros are known for treating back and neck problems with joint manipulation, most are well versed and board certified to perform physical therapies. They are also licensed to function as primary care physicians. [4] Based on their education many use nutrition as a form of treatment.

3.   It’s safe

Even though ghost stories of adjustments gone wrong are common, the actual risk of injury from chiropractic treatment is rare. [5] Generally, the malpractice insurance that doctors have to pay is based, among other things, on their field. Chiropractors as a group pay the less for malpractice insurance than any other type of physician. Why? Lawsuits claiming injuries or negligence are less common against chiropractors.

In the past there was concern that there was an increased risk of stroke could upper neck manipulation treatments. However a 7-year study organized by The United Nations and the World Health Organization just found that there is no association with chiropractic treatment and stroke. [6]

4.   They took the AMA to court … and won … twice

For decades chiropractors were campaigned by the AMA (American Medical Association) as not being “real doctors” and met fierce resistance from medical organizations. Chiropractors claimed the AMA was trying to snuff out the competition with fear tactics and bogus research.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with them (chiros) in 1987… and again in 1990. It was found that the AMA was guilty of illegal antitrust activities against the chiropractic profession, ordered an injunction on their activity, and forcing them to print the courts findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

5.   M.D.’s and D.C.’s are now working together

It’s becoming more common to find integrated offices, where M.D.’s, D.O.’s, and D.C.’s are working side-by-side. Many medical offices now try to provide multi-specialty approaches to treatment. With natural forms of treatment becoming more popular, drugless forms of treatment have become preferred by many over pain-medication.

One survey of 266 medical students at Georgetown University revealed more than 75% felt that alternative medicine techniques should be included in their curriculum. [7] Chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and nutritional supplements were the most desired areas of interest. PH&W

The views expressed in this editorial are solely those of PH&W Magazine and do not reflect the opinion of any contributing parties or advertisers.

Sidebar:  In a basic test designed by orthopedic residency professors to test the knowledge of medical residents vs. chiropractic students, 82% of medical school graduates failed the examination. [8] Four years later the test was simplified and, once again, 78% of the examinees failed to demonstrate basic competency in musculoskeletal medicine. [9] When this test was given to final quarter chiropractic students 70% of them passed the same exam! [10]

References:

1.   Assessment of knowledge of primary care activities in a sample of medical and chiropractic students J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005 (Jun); 28 (5): 336-44
http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/ABSTRACTS/Assessment_of_Knowledge_of_Primary_Care_Activities.shtml

2.   A Comparative Study of Chiropractic and Medical Education Altern Ther Health Med. 1998 (Sep); 4 (5): 64 75 http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/ABSTRACTS/Comparison.shtml 

3.   Interpretation of abnormal lumbosacral spine radiographs. A test comparing students, clinicians, radiology residents, and radiologists in medicine and chiropractic Spine. 1995 May 15;20(10):1147-53; discussion 1154 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7638657

4.   Chiropractic: a profession at the crossroads of mainstream and alternative medicine Ann Intern Med 136 (3): 216–27 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11827498

5.   Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey

Spine. 2007 Oct 1;32(21):2375-8; discussion 2379
http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/ABSTRACTSSafety_of_Chiropractic_Manipulation.shtml 

6.   Bone and Joint Decade Task Force Press Release: “Seven-Year Neck Pain Study Sheds Light on Best Care.”
February 2008
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2008/15/c2658.html

7.   A large-sample survey of first- and second-year medical student attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine in the curriculum and in practice Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):30-5
http://www.chiro.org/alt_med_abstracts/ABSTRACTS/A_Large_sample_Survey.shtml

8.   Adequacy of Medical School Education in Musculoskeletal Medicine Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1998 (Oct); 80-A (10): 1421–1427
http://www.chiro.org/ChiroZine/ABSTRACTS/Adequacy.shtml

9.   Educational Deficiencies in Musculoskeletal Medicine Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 2002 (Apr); 84–A (4): 604–608
http://www.chiro.org/ChiroZine/ABSTRACTS/Educational_Deficiencies.shtml

10.   A Comparison of Chiropractic Student Knowledge Versus Medical Residents Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic Congress 2001 Pgs. 255
http://www.chiro.org/ChiroZine/ABSTRACTS/A_Comparison_of_Chiropractic_Student_Knowledge.shtml

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