Chiropractors remind us why new state chiropractic bills should be defeated

Chiropractors remind us why new state chiropractic bills should be defeated

The pace of Legislative Alchemy is picking up, with state legislatures all over the country either already in session or starting in the next few months. Last year, as I reported in detail over on SBM, chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and assorted other "CAM" practitioners had some pretty dismal outcomes. This was despite numerous bills to either get licensed as health care practitioners or, for those already licensed, expand their scope of practice.  

But don't rest easy. The bills are popping up all over, as you can see if you go to the Legislative Updates page. (And I know you will, so you can help defeat these bad bills in your state.) Just this week (and it's only January!) we added eight new bills covering chiropractic and naturopathy. We'll look at the naturopathic bills soon, but for this week we'll focus on chiropractors.

Chiropractors are trying to expand their scope of practice in three states and add some window dressing in another. In Arizona, they want to be able to prescribe muscle relaxants and other pain killers. Chiropractors and veterinarians could be certified in "animal chiropractic" in that state as well. In Nebraska, chiropractors want to perform physical and eye exams for school children and, in Virginia, physical exams for commercial drivers.  In Wyoming, chiropractors don't want to be known as just "chiropractors" anymore, so they got a bill filed to call themselves "chiropractic physicians."  

So it is with gratitude that we should view the actions of the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) and the International Association of Chiropractors (ICA) in the last couple of weeks. Both organizations have done us the favor of adding more evidence with which to argue that none of these bills should pass. (Not that we really need any more, but still.) 


First, the CCE's governing Council voted last week 

to establish a Metacompetency in analyzing and adjusting. For years the schools have been judged by Site Team Visitors on subjects such as record-keeping, chemistry labs, etc., but never on the actual core procedures of chiropractic. This will be a wonderful and welcome change, and is something the ICA has aggressively advocated for several years. In a move in a similar direction, the Council agreed that subluxation was a legitimate differential diagnosis and voted to direct the Standards Review Committee to develop language that clearly differentiates the subluxation itself for incorporation into the all-important Standards document.

There are several problems with this decision.  First, the chiropractic subluxation does not exist, so it can't be a "legitimate" diagnosis.  Second, straight chiropractors tend to see the subluxation as the cause of pretty much everything, including visceral disease, so I'm not sure what other diagnoses they could be ruling out in their "differential diagnosis." And, third and fourth, since chiropractors can't seem agree how to find a subluxation (understandable, since it doesn't exist) or how to treat it (ditto) they really can't diagnose it, and, even if they could, they wouldn't agree what to do with it. 

And I can hardly wait to see the "language that clearly differentiates the subluxation itself."

I couldn't find any of this information on the CCE website.  It comes to us from the ICA, which has been at war with other chiropractic factions over just what chiropractic is and what chiropractors should and shouldn't do as part of their practice.  These other factions don't like the traditional version of the chiropractic subluxation. Not that they've abandoned it, mind you.  They've just redefined it into something so vague and meaningless that none of them can tell you what a subluxation really is either. 

The other bit of news I have to share from the ICA is that it is promoting, as a practitioner "resource guide," a 2014 National Vaccine Information Center publication giving an "overview of why vaccine safety and informed consent protections should be secured in all U.S. vaccine policies and laws." The NVIC is, as David Gorski has aptly described, the National Vaccine Misinformation Center, a source for reliably trumped-up charges against vaccines wearing the disguise of "safety" and "informed choice." 

So, we thank you CCE and ICA, for showing everyone, once again, why chiropractors should never be allowed do the sorts of thing these bills would let them do. Anyone who is anti-vaccination shouldn't be allowed to prescribe drugs or perform physicals, especially for children. For one thing, it demonstrates an alarming lack of understanding of pharmacology and physiology, not to mention infectious diseases and public health. Anyone who believes in the chiropractic subluxation doesn't know enough basic anatomy to see dogs, cats and horses as patients, much less humans.  And certainly no one who is so lacking in education and training should ever be called a "physician."


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