I wish to respond to a letter to the editor written by Dr. Tony Ford of Red Deer in response to an editorial I wrote a few weeks back. Ford makes a number of assumptions, misinterpretations and errors.
First, I would like to point out the definition of health, as stated by the Webster’s dictionary. Health is “the state of optimum physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” This means that you can feel fine, think fine, and seem fine but still be unhealthy. Ford seemed to dwell on the idea that doctors treat many mental disorders and that they are a major part of their practice, and I couldn’t agree more. They do that very well and I have never contested that, nor did I comment on that in my editorial. What I did comment on was wellness as it pertains to a person who wants to perform better, even with the lack of a sign or symptom. If an athlete wants to perform to his optimal capability, he will not take more medication prescribed by an MD, but instead may seek out a chiropractor’s care, as many do, to allow his body and nervous system to be free from irritation.
I will point to the Blue Jays game a few weeks back, when they announced the team chiropractor alongside the physiotherapist and medic. Recently Sydney Crosby has been seeing his chiropractor in Atlanta, even with a fractured neck. Every major sports team that I am aware of has a team chiropractor, and I personally treat a number of pro-athletes. I couldn’t agree more with Ford’s comment, “The proof is in the pudding.” Indeed it is, Mr. Ford.
I will stress again that I am speaking of wellness and musculoskeletal conditions when I comment that chiropractors are more successful than any other professional at treating back and neck pain. Mr. Ford should read his own medical journals before commenting on such statements and making accusations. There is a massive amount of medical evidence to support chiropractic. For example, the July 28, 1990 issue of The Lancet (page 220) states that “patients with mechanical low back pain showed a strong and clear improvement with chiropractic care, the difference was seen strongest in patients with chronic pain.” JMPT, the top medical journal for manipulative therapies, states that “60% of patients with sciatica benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they underwent surgery,” (vol. 33, issue 8. Page 576-584). And research shows that chiropractic is 75% more successful than medication in treating headaches and migraines. I am not saying that medicine does not play a role in any of these cases; I am saying that it is logical and ethical to use the least invasive methods that are proven to work, first.
Ford correctly states that chiropractic is based on the belief system of D.D. Palmer. Medicine is based on the belief system of Hippocrates, and was founded without evidence as well. Evidence is built up over many decades, and the chiropractic mountain of evidence is building, and growing more stable, every day.
Ford’s comment on WCB is also wrong. CBI, one of WCB’s main referral physiotherapy clinics, employs chiropractors as part of their teams, including here in Red Deer. I regularly treat WCB patients without any other managed healthcare professionals.
Finally, Ford’s insistence on the “irrefutable germ theory” is simply wrong. Case in point: Masha and Dasha were Russian conjoined twins. Joined at birth they shared organs, blood, and so on, but did not share a central nervous system (brain and cord). They were subjected to a number of tests, and one of the peculiar findings was that when one became ill, the other would not. It was concluded that the nervous systems of the girls determined their susceptibility to disease and infection, not the bacteria or virus present. The germ theory does not hold up, and that’s why it is called germ “theory” and not germ “fact.” More simply put, if you fill a room with 100 people, 10 of whom have the flu, the germ “theory “assumes that all will get sick. But we know this is not the case—only those with a compromised neuroimmunological system will get sick. As a chiropractor it is my job to ensure that your body functions well so that those pesky little germs will have a minimal effect on you.
I will finish by saying that our clinic has a wonderful relationship with most MDs in Red Deer. I refer patients to doctors on a daily basis, and doctors refer to me regularly as well. I have great respect for their work. But I must emphasize that I do not base my treatment on conjecture and hearsay; I practice evidence-based chiropractic from which my patients greatly benefit. Patients benefit from both types of care and I think we should all work together and put our differences aside for the greatest benefit of the patient. I continue to have a wonderful relationship with medical doctors in our community and I look forward to your referrals for spinal care as you should mine for medical-related care.
Dr. Chris Senko