Articles by JCS

Medical Voodoo

Medical Voodoo

By

JCS

How many times have your patients been subjected to the medical voodoo diagnosis? I just had another one—if I had a nickel for every case, I’d have a pile of money.

What the unethical surgeons/MDs do is scare the snot out of patients by suggesting:

1.         Chiropractic will paralyze them: “If you’re stupid enough to go to a quack and have him crack your neck, don’t come crawling back to me when you’re paralyzed.”

2.         Misinterpret MRI results: “The MRI clearly shows you have a herniated/degenerated disc, so you need surgery immediately.”

3.         Scare patients into surgery: “If you just turn your neck the wrong way or have another whiplash, you could be paralyzed.”

4. "You better find something you like that you can do from a wheelchair, because that is where you are going to end up in a few years."

5. "All your cartilage is worn down.  It's bone on bone."

6. "If you don't get this back surgery you will be in a wheel chair for the rest of your life". 

 This is clearly unethical since MRI research has clearly shown disc abnormalities are commonplace, and ethical MDs know a disc abnormality is no reason for surgery:

Dr. NM Hadler, UNC med school, author of Last Well Person, recently wrote:

“Whatever we see on the MRI is likely to have been present when the person heals…The discal hypothesis—the idea promulgated seventy years ago that the ‘ruptured disc’ is the culprit—has not withstood scientific scrutiny well. It is largely untenable for axial pain, and marginal for radicular pain.”

Famed spinal researcher, Richard Deyo, MD, also gave his misgivings of MRIs and surgery:

“Early or frequent use of these tests [CT and MRI] is discouraged because disc and other abnormalities are common among asymptomatic adults…Degenerated, bulging, and herniated disks are frequently incidental findings…Detecting a herniated disk on an imaging test therefore proves only one thing conclusively: the patient has a herniated disk.”[1]

 From Norway, we learn: Dr. Brox says that he and his colleagues no longer perform spinal fusion specifically for “degenerative disc disease” because they do not regard it as a clearly diagnosable entity.

 “As a recently retired back surgeon told me some weeks ago, we have to admit that we have been too enthusiastic about fusion in patients with back pain…Today, our departments’ first choice for the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain is a cognitive intervention [to change attitudes and beliefs about back pain] and exercises.

 “Although pain receptors in degenerated discs may produce severe pain, we have gradually recognized that abnormal findings and positive discography  are common even in asymptomatic individuals…The concept of highly selected patients is not evidence-based.

“These surgeons refuse to have fusion surgery or recommend fusion surgery for their family members. So the question is: why should we recommend these procedures for our patients?”[2]

Yet American surgeons continue to predate upon unsuspecting patients doing unnecessary and ineffective fusions at the rate of $50,000 each, including hospitalizations, etc. This adds to the costs of healthcare and to patient suffering unlike any other surgery, yet we DCs stay quiet on this medical masquerade!

Isn’t it time to speak up to help patients and to show America we can lower healthcare costs? It’s time to expose this medical voodoo! Or will we sit back and enable this atrocious behavior to continue? The research supports SMT over fusions, the ethical MDs have spoken out against this predation, so when will we speak out and let the truth be known?



[1] Deyo RA, Weinstein JN. Low back pain. N Engl J Med 2001 Feb 1;344(5):363-70.

[2] Brox JI, Sørensen R, Friis A, et al. Randomized clinical trial of lumbar instrumented fusion and cognitive intervention and exercises in patients with chronic low back pain and disc degeneration. Spine 2003;28:1913–1921.

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