Part Three of three articles.

In a previous Journal article, although medical authorities acknowledge neurological complications may occur as a result of subluxation, classical chiropractic definitions mandate the presence of a neurological component.  Researcher, Charles Lantz, PhD, DC, writes, “Common to all concepts of subluxation are some form of kinesiological dysfunction and some form of neurological involvement.”

Nevertheless, we’re often ignoring that neurological involvement.  As a result, we are known as back-pain doctors and used the same way as aspirin or exercise equipment: to relieve musculoskeletal stiffness and pain.  One reason is we were sold a bill of goods to find a “niche” market. Back pain, we were told, was a lucrative market, with nearly eight of every ten adults suffering from it at one time or another. We thought the medical profession would allow us to treat back pain as long as we did not invade their territory.

It was also less complicated to describe how chiropractic could ease back pain than it was to explain the entire vitalistic philosophy.  It was also easier to advertise.  All we had to do was show a person with red lightning bolts radiating from his or her back or neck and we were in business!

The final reason we ignored the neurological component was that we didn’t have the scientific research to prove what we knew from clinical experience.  As Dr. Davila says, “We need to show a neurological connection to the subluxation so we have the proof we have talked about over the years and then tie that connection to functional improvement.”
Why then is so much of our current research focused on back pain and similar musculoskeletal conditions?  Here, for instance, is the complete list of all the projects funded by FCER last year:

  • “Chiropractic Dosage for Lumbar Stenosis”
  • “Chiropractic and Acute Neck Pain: A Practice-Based Study”
  • “Preventive Care of Chronic Cervical Pain and Disabilities: Comparison of Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Individualized Home Exercise Programs”
  • “Does Chiropractic Care Decrease Fall Risk in Older Adults?”  (The grant description notes that: “It is proposed that balance, the risk factor for falls, is adversely affected by both musculoskeletal function and low back and lower extremity pain — which have been found to be responsive in previous studies to chiropractic intervention.”)

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Do you see the pattern here?  Instead of locking our profession in the miniscule musculoskeletal box, we need to reclaim the missing component of subluxation: neurological involvement. The World Chiropractic Alliance is dedicated to this mission.  We must discuss with our patients and members of the community, integrating it in our patient education programs. It is also necessary to redesign our advertising so we are not reinforcing the old, erroneous idea of back pain doctors. Furthermore, we should demand that our colleges and research institutions stop plucking the low-hanging fruit by examining the connection between chiropractic and back pain! Field doctors need to start using the NeuroInfiniti instrumentation to accurately measure a patient’s neurological response before and after subluxation correction, and learn to document vital information for use not only in research but for the government and all insurance companies.

In the hundred-plus years since DD Palmer discovered chiropractic, we’ve lost much of the spirit and substance of chiropractic. If we lose the neurological component of the subluxation, we will lose our original identity and possibly, our future.

I don’t want to wait until someday for chiropractic validation. Certainly, you do not wish to wait to transform your office into a smooth-running and modern, scientific evidence-based practice, with easy-to-use technology that maximizes your patient outcomes AND your bottom line! However, we do not need to wait until that elusive someday.  We can have it all NOW.

About the Author – Terry A. Rondberg, DC.
As CEO of the World Chiropractic Alliance, Dr. Terry Rondberg is known worldwide as one of the chiropractic profession’s leading proponents. After receiving his Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) Dr. Rondberg began publishing The Chiropractic Journal, a leading publication in the field. In addition to publishing the Journal—which continues to be an authoritative reference for chiropractic practitioners and professionals —Dr. Terry Rondberg has written a number of best-selling books on the subject of chiropractic.