TALKING POINTS FOR JC SMITH, MA, DC, and AUTHOR OF
“THE MEDICAL WAR AGAINST CHIROPRACTORS.”
Dr. JC Smith has practiced in Warner Robins, Georgia for the past 33 years. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he sustained his first spinal injury while playing football that led him to chiropractic care. He later graduated from Life University in Atlanta, and he has written five books dealing with the practice and politics of chiropractic health care.
His latest book, “The Medical War Against Chiropractors from Persecution to Vindication,” has gotten rave reviews including one from the president of Palmer Chiropractic College in San Jose who said this book was “eye-opening and jaw-dropping.”
There’s no question the medical profession has been at war with the chiropractic profession, but no one has ever explained how this war began and why it continues today. Dr. Smith’s 262-page book has 752 footnote references to support his viewpoint, and it can be found on Amazon.com for those interested in this fascinating story.
Hello Dr. Smith:
1) How did the medical war actually begin?
- Indeed, it is a fascinating and troubling story that few people understand. Whereas sexism and racism have unknown origins, the medical war can be traced by to one man, Morris Fishbein, who was dubbed the “Medical Mussolini” because of his tyrannical leadership. He was the AMA’s executive director from 1924 to 1949 and he was the voice and face of the AMA on Capitol Hill for 25 years.
- He set the tone of this war when he stated “Scientific medicine absorbs from them that which is good, if there is any good, and then they die.” And Fishbein tried his best to kill off chiropractors. Most people don’t realize that during the first half of the 20th century, over 12,000 chiropractors were arrested over 15,000 times on charges of practicing medicine without a license, which was a bogus charge because chiropractors never prescribed drugs or did surgery. Fishbein’s real goal, of course, was to eliminate all competitors by any means possible, a goal he almost achieved.
2) I don’t think people realize the early chiropractors were so mistreated.
- Actually the early chiropractors were among the first civil rights activists. To place this medical war into historical perspective, America was still in the throes of civil injustice in many arenas when the medical war began. Residual racism from the Civil War was still rampant with the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow mindset prevalent in many communities; women had not yet achieved voting rights; anti-Semitism was brewing internationally; and the power of an emerging medical monarchy in American was taking hold. Fishbein simply inflamed the medical bigotry with his tyranny to eliminate all competition and chiropractors were his main target.
3) What was the next battle chiropractors faced in the medical war?
- The next stage of the medical war crystallized in 1962 when the AMA formed its Committee on Quackery whose goal was “to contain and eliminate chiropractors.” They were quite blatant about this goal. Even the AMA’s attorney called for “the complete elimination of the chiropractic profession,” he demonized chiropractors as “rabid dogs” and “killers.” He offered no proof of his accusations, but no one ever accused the AMA of being fair in this war.
5) It’s hard to imagine the medical profession spoke so ugly about chiropractors when they had no proof. What was the next battle in this war?
- The illegal activities of the Committee on Quackery led to the next stage of the medical war—the famous Wilk v. AMA antitrust trial that began in 1976. The crux of this trial focused on the boycott of chiropractors in public hospitals.
- Despite the AMA’s claims that chiropractic was “unscientific and dangerous,” the AMA offered no proof whatsoever. Actually, the trial evidence from workers’ comp studies submitted by the chiropractors’ attorney George McAndrews showed that chiropractic care had a 2:1 superiority rating over medical care for low back pain. Even MD witnesses were praising chiropractors in court; one MD worked in 2 hospitals and he testified the one that had chiropractors got people out in half the time.
6) What was the outcome of this antitrust trial?
- Judge Susan Getzendanner found in favor of the chiropractor-plaintiffs. She also stated in her Opinion that “The AMA has never made any attempt to publicly repair the damage the boycott did to chiropractors’ reputations.”
- Now you can understand why the image of chiropractors is poor after nearly a century of medical bigotry, an illegal boycott, and defamation of chiropractors in the mass media. Even Ann Landers, the famous syndicated newspaper journalist, admitted she was paid by the AMA to disseminate anti-chiropractic propaganda in her columns.
- No other industry has seen such unfair competition. Now it is no longer legal to keep a chiropractor out of a public hospital solely because he or she is a chiropractor. Hopefully patients now may have a freedom of choice to their back pain treatments.
7) In your book, you spoke of the Call for Reform by medical experts in spine care. Please elaborate on this new research.
- Yes, indeed, the present stage of the medical war has been more favorable to chiropractors with new research that vindicates chiropractic care for the epidemic of back pain.
- The research phase of the medical war has shown the basic premise of back surgery—the abnormal disc theory—to be unreliable.
- This began in 1990 by Dr. Scott Boden @ Emory Univ. who found abnormal discs in people with and without back pain. Now spine experts admit they are trivial and harmless and some experts jokingly refer to them as “incidentalomas.” Disc degeneration is a part of the normal aging process, but thousands of unnecessary spine fusions are done each year, only to leave a wake of disability behind. All of us know people who’ve had back surgeries that failed because most back pain is due to joint dysfunction, not disc problems.
- What the public needs to learn is that you don’t slip discs as much as you do slip joints. FYI: there are 313 joints in and about the spine column and pelvis. Joint dysfunction explains why spinal manipulation, massage, and stretching exercises work so well.
- Now many researchers recognize the value of chiropractic care for this epidemic of back pain, including the North American Spine Society that admitted fusion should be a last resort and recommended spinal manipulation should be considered before surgery. Unfortunately, few spine surgeons follow this advice or tell their patients to see a chiropractor first.
8) That’s quite a recommendation from the very people who have waged this war against chiropractors. Unfortunately, I doubt the public realizes this change in policy.
- You’re right about that—but the times are finally changing. For example, Anthony Rosner, PhD, 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.”
- I urge anyone with back or neck pain to have a thorough spinal exam done by the preeminent spine care providers—doctors of chiropractic.
9) Thank you, Dr. Smith, and to read more of this fascinating story of the medical war against chiropractic, you can find Dr. Smith’s book at amazon.com.