Articles by JCS

Chiro Media Awards

Throw Down the Gauntlet

Chiro Media Awards

By

JCS

While the Oscar award recognizes the most outstanding actors in Hollywood, the Razzies salutes the worst.

In the same regard, the chiropractic profession needs an equivalent award to acknowledge the best and the worst that the mainstream media has to offer each year in regards to chiropractic coverage and the impending spine care revolution.

Therefore, I propose the Chiro Media Awards, dubbed the “Atlas,” for those media events that fall into four different categories:

  • Chicken Little Award for creating mass hysteria over an unproven and paranoid statement. This year’s “Atlas” award goes to physiotherapy lecturer Neil O’Connell of Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK, for his specious opinion aimed to frighten people in the recent article, “Letting chiropractor 'crack' your neck to relieve pain could trigger stroke.” London, Fri, 08 Jun 2012, ANI.
    • An honorary Atlas award goes to Raymond Bellamy, MD, FSU adjunct professor who led a medical mob attack against a chiropractic graduate program the state legislature passed 151-1 and funded $9 million to implement at FSU in 2004. Bellamy and his demagogues at FSU bullied the faculty senate and university board to veto this important legislation.

 

  • This year’s  “Atlas” for the outstanding Cheap Shot Award for a hit-and-run attack at chiropractic goes to a well known medical nemesis, Dr. Harriett Hall.
    • A recent hit-and-run swipe at chiropractors occurred on NPR on February 15, 2012, in a segment on Morning Edition by Blake Farmer that featured an article on military health services,  Military Pokes Holes In Acupuncture Skeptics' Theory, in which Harriett Hall called CAM sciences “'quack-ademic' medicine.”
    • The Most Profitable Small Businesses by Brett Nelson (Forbes, 2-10-2011) also gets recognition for a cheap shot at DCs when he wrote: “Some question the medicinal value of their service. Hard to question their financial performance, though.”

 

  • Before I forget, the next “Atlas” for the Professional Amnesia Award goes to any journalist who writes an article on back pain and somehow forgets to mention chiropractic care. Although there were many nominees for this “Atlas,” we have two forgettable winners this year—Joanne Silberner and Amanda Gengler:
    • A perfect example is another NPR broadcast, “Surgery May Not Be the Answer to an Aching Back,” by Joanne Silberner, (April 6, 2010) when she failed to mention chiropractic as the most viable alternative to surgery, especially considering chiropractic is the third-largest physician-level health profession in the nation.
    • Another recent example was found in Money Magazine (April 18, 2012) article by Amanda Gengler "Things to know about back pain" that also omitted chiropractic care from this discussion.

 

  • The most prestigious “Atlas” is the Warrior Award presented to anyone who speaks up with books, articles, or interviews to tell the truth about the ruse in medical spine care. We have many winners—recent and honorary—in this category, including:
    • Gordon Waddell, MD, orthopedist, author of Back Pain Revolution, for his comment:
      • “Low back pain has been a 20th century health care disaster. Medical care certainly has not solved the everyday symptom of low back pain and even may be reinforcing and exacerbating the problem. It [back surgery] has been accused of leaving more tragic human wreckage in its wake than any other operation in history.”[1]
    • Richard Deyo, MD, MPH, author of Hype or Hope; he coined abnormal discs as “incidentalomas” that has become an instant classic in spine lexicon today; he has long championed the call for reform in spine care:
      • “Prescribing yet more imaging, opioids, injections, and operations is not likely to improve outcomes for patients with chronic back pain. We must rethink chronic back pain at fundamental levels.”[2]  
    • Mark Schoene, editor of The BACKLetter from Georgetown University, has had the courage to print the new research and guidelines;
      • “My immediate reaction to the debate was that the risks and benefits of all common treatments are fair game for medical journals. But, if they are fair game, there should be similar approaches to all common treatments.”
    • Tony Rosner, PhD, coined the term “professional amnesia” in the media; he testified before The Institute of Medicine:
      • “Today, we can argue that chiropractic care, at least for back pain, appears to have vaulted from last to first place as a treatment option.”[3]
    • Pran Manga, PhD, lead researcher in two comparative studies, Manga I & II, has taken heat as well as dolled out the facts in his support of chiropractic care:
      • “…the North American Spine Society, has recently concluded that spinal manipulation, and specifically chiropractic adjustment, is an acceptable and effective treatment for most patients with lumbosacral disorders. This review, when coupled with more thorough analysis by prestigious institutions such as RAND Corporation, adds measurably to the growing credence in spinal manipulation as a therapy of choice for most low back pain.”[4]
    • North American Spine Society for endorsing spinal manipulation before drugs, shots, or surgery in its new guidelines;
      • “Spine care clinicians should discuss the role of SMT as a treatment option for patients with acute LBP who do not find adequate symptomatic relief with self-care and education alone.”[5]
    • Thomas Frieden, MD, director for CDC, suggested that physicians have supplanted street corner drug pushers as the most important suppliers of illicit narcotics.[6]
    • Annals of Internal Medicine published jointly by the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine (1998) noted that “spinal manipulation is the treatment of choice.”
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced in January, 2011, that it would no longer pay for spinal fusion for back pain in the presence of only disc degeneration or disc herniation. This is an enormous policy change that will hopefully have a ripple effect among all state BC/BS and other insurance companies to curtail payment for this epidemic of ineffective spine surgery.
    • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan announced as of January 1, 2012 candidates for spine surgery must include verification that the patient has
      • “tried and failed a 3-month course of conservative management that included physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and medication.”[7]

Not Forgotten Warriors

Lest we forget the 12,000 chiros in America who were arrested over 15,000 times for allegedly practicing “medicine without a license.” These warriors were subjected to the worst public ridicule and legal harassment the AMA could muster allthewhile their only crime was getting sick and disabled patients well without drugs or surgery.

Certainly there are many other chiro warriors who fight in the medical war daily on many levels in many countries, whether it’s fighting ASHN, inhospitable hospitals fighting against chiro staff privileges, fighting for chiropractic research funding, defending our reputation against biased media articles such as these “Atlas” awards illustrate, or helping patients with chiro care on a daily basis to avoid unnecessary drugs, shots, and spine surgery.

Throw Down The Gauntlet

It is past time for all chiros worldwide to realize the medical propaganda will never cease until we confront and win this war of words in the court of public opinion.

We lost another PR battle recently when our latest nemesis, Neil O'Connell, remarked in the lead article, Letting chiropractor 'crack' your neck to relieve pain could trigger stroke.

At first glance, even the use of “crack” in the headline is clearly designed to scare the public, implying that adjustments fracture the spinal vertebrae. We must make it clear that we chiropractors don’t “crack” anything, but we do gently adjust the joints of the spine. Certainly the proper verb, “adjust,” should have been used if this article wanted any semblance of objectivity.

Clearly the intent was to frighten people with another cheeky Chicken Little cheap shot.

Now that the chiropractic profession has suffered another swipe at its image with an additional drive-by media assault triggered by the O'Connell article about chiros causing strokes, methinks it’s past time to throw down the gauntlet and challenge our medical critics to an open debate.

The need is urgent: I’ve already had two patients in the last two days who’ve asked me about this issue after their primary care medical practitioner warned them to not have their necks adjusted for fear of a stroke. After I explain the remote likelihood that hey are more likely to stroke out in a hairdresser’s salon or being hit by lightning, they relax. When I tell them about the comparative malpractice insurance rates for spine surgeons @ $70,000 to $200,000 compared to $1,600 annually for me, they then laugh about this hit-and-run character assassination attempt by the MDs.

Unfortunately, patients unfamiliar with chiropractic care will be scared and bullied by these bias MDs. We cannot let this unwarranted stroke allegation remain a part of the perceived wisdom in the public’s mind that SMT is “dangerous and inadvisable.”

What is truly inadvisable is to let this opportunity to pass with only a few defensive “letter to the editor” remarks in the UK and USA. We need to go on the offense—throw down the gauntlet—and challenge our medical critics to an open debate on national TV. It’s past time for the medical misinformers to face their Waterloo.

With the many recent guidelines on our side, this battle will be fun. Never before have we had such support among the research and guidelines. Indeed, after a century of infamy, it’s time to crow.

Hopefully the medical politically elite who wish to see chiropractic “contained, eliminated, and destroyed” will jump at this chance. In their willful ignorance, they brazenly believe in their own propaganda.  They cannot distinguish from the prejudice of their own medical bigotry the facts that support chiropractic spine care over medical spine care for the vast majority of spine cases.

Methinks there are many medical spokespersons who would love to accept a challenge to take chiropractors down a notch or two if given the chance, especially on television. I would love to see a debate with a chiro panel vs. the Institute of Science in Medicine Fellows moderated by Dr. Gupta on CNN.

What a show that would be billed as the

 “Medical War: MDs v. DCs, Live on CNN.”

Indeed, this debate is a long time coming for the thousands of chiropractors who suffered the inhospitable boycotts, the epithets of medical bigots, and the hurtful comments from medical hate speech parroted in the public and media.

It is past time to confront this last bastion of medical prejudice. Let’s reveal the research to the public and media instead of the listening to the medical hyperbole.

It’s time to tell the truth.

 

 



[1] G Waddell and OB Allan, “A Historical Perspective On Low Back Pain And Disability, “Acta Orthop Scand 60 (suppl 234), (1989)

[2] RA Deyo, SK Mirza, JA Turner, BI Martin, “Overtreating Chronic Back Pain: Time to Back Off?” J Am Board Fam Med.  22/1 (2009):62-68. (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/586950 )

[3] Testimony before The Institute of Medicine: Committee on Use of CAM by the American Public on Feb. 27, 2003.

[4] P Manga,  et al. “The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of chiropractic Management of Lob-Back Pain, “ Ontario Ministry of Health (1993)

[5] MD Freeman and JM Mayer “NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy For Acute Low Back Pain,” The Spine Journal 10/10 (October 2010):918-940

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Press Release, CDC Vital Signs: Overdose of Presription Opioid Pain Relievers—United States, 1999-2008; 2011: www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/t1101_presecription_pain_relievers.html.

[7] Crownfield, Peter W., “Chiropractic Before Spine Surgery for Chronic LBP,” Dynamic Chiropractic, vol. 30, no. 11, May 20, 2012.

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