Bone on Bone:
The Biggest Scam in Medicine
The recent LBP review by The Lancet, Low back pain: a call for action, mentioned much of the American spine community remains stuck in “widespread misconceptions” and “outdated models of care and the widespread use of ineffective and harmful care.”
Of course, “widespread misconceptions” includes 1) chirophobia and 2) the fallacy of degenerative disks as a reason for spine fusions. These are two topics the F4CP and the ACA should have jumped on in a massive PR campaign to confront these issues to stop the tsunami of unnecessary disk fusions.
As a chiropractor practicing for nearly 40 years now, by far the main sales pitch for spine fusions I’ve heard is the “bone on bone” diagnosis.
“My doctor says I have ‘bone on bone’ and if I don’t have surgery, I could become paralyzed. He showed me on the x-ray that I have degenerative disc disease,” as if it were an infection that needed to be excised.
Recently I saw a 75-year old patient who has had 3 back fusions. She had no trauma, fractures, cancer or any other Red Flag; as she told me, she was just “all stove up” (stiff and sore) as they say Down South. Take a look at her lumbar spine to see what a mess they made of her. Of course, she’s hurting more now than before the surgeries.
As we can see on this AP Lumbar view, she has a short left leg with a tilted sacrum. It also appears she has a subluxation between L3/4. Her Lateral Lumbar view showed little DDD above the surgical site.
This “bone on bone” misconception must be exposed for what it is as the debunked ‘bad disc’ fallacy. I have a brochure with this Mayo chart to share with new patients who have had a fusion or those who are thinking of having spine surgery. If you’re interested, see the attachment.
What the surgeon never tells his victim is that “bad discs” appear in pain-free people as this Mayo chart shows:
I showed this Mayo chart to this little old lady with 3 failed back surgeries. I pointed out at her age of 75 years old, there is a 93% chance of “bone on bone” disk degeneration, but these patients were asymptomatic!
Her pain was most likely due to lumbar subluxation / joint dysfunction due to misalignment and compression from too much sitting, but not because of her ‘bad discs.’ Plus, she has never had chiropractic adjustments, which to me is equivalent to someone who’s never seen a dentist by her age.
For spine surgeons to use “bone on bone” as a diagnosis is sheer tomfoolery and a deception, but an effective sales pitch, just as we see with the Laser Spine Institute TV ads.
When I asked why she didn’t see a chiropractor beforehand, I heard the typical chirophobic comment from her MD that a chiropractor might hurt her. She was scared to death to be “cracked,” as she said.
“But ma’am, you weren’t afraid of having 3 back surgeries?”
It’s amazing how powerful the fear of chiropractic adjustments has been implanted by the unethical medical curmudgeons, and she’s a good example of a victim of chirophobia.
This is another example of the “widespread misconceptions” we need to confront rather than avoid if we are to increase our market share.
As for those patients like her frightened to be adjusted, I also share with them this Gallup-Palmer chart showing the relative danger of different spine treatments. In fact, there is a greater chance of paralysis if they have medical treatments than chiropractic care:
Sadly, this valuable information will never reach the public as it should to stem the tide of disk fusions as we now see with the Laser Spine Institute TV ads, another marketing scam similar to the My Pillow scam.
If you’re as tired as I am seeing this widespread misconceptions and outdated models of care promoted daily on television, you might share with your patients this information on Bad Disk Scam.