What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Old Willy was right on when it comes to flowers.
I suppose it would apply even to most anything you can easily see, and perhaps even principles if individuals would care to understand them.
However, the act of naming something in a way in which it no longer captures the true nature of the item in question obviously negates that Shakespearian sentiment.
I could hold up a rock and call it a grain of sand, however, my assertion does not make it so no matter how many times my friends publish it for me.
When we participate in society we enter an unspoken agreement to accept the nomenclature agreed upon before our births or adopted in our lifetime. It is certainly not common practice to walk around changing the names of the fauna, flora or fiddles one encounters. If they did, they would become outcasts and ignored.
Perhaps it’s time we did the same in Chiropractic.
Ignorance and Legitimacy
Okay…perhaps the statement above was a bit harsh.
However, it is difficult to refrain from such language when one considers the travesty occurring when chiropractic “experts” advocate the dropping of our unique lexicon for unscientific, non-descriptive terms.
The sad reality of the problem is that the individuals advocating the removal of the term vertebral subluxation and replacing it with another term such as neuro-biomechanical dysfunction, spinal lesion, fixation, or any number of unscientific terms, are simply displaying their ignorance of what this unique clinical entity actually is. Either that, or they have also unscientifically adopted the belief system that the profession must divorce itself from that particular term in order to gain cultural authority.
As if adopting the lexicon of other professions would somehow give them legitimacy.
While on the topic of legitimacy, it seems appropriate to investigate how nations, professions and individuals gain this coveted status.
Tradition, habit, history, and results are four methods of gaining legitimacy in the eyes of the populace. A profession that runs from its raison d’être, one that has produced RESULTS for that population throughout its history, deserves nothing.
The cowards fleeing from its ship deserve worse.
Now I realize that if someone was never provided with an education that described what a vertebral subluxation is and consequently how to identify one or to competently address it, then they can hardly be blamed for their ignorance.
However, in a profession as riddled with contradictory ideas as chiropractic, each chiropractor has a fiduciary duty to personally evaluate the merit of the arguments.
(I know…I just asked for critical thinking to be the norm. Sorry, I can dream can’t I?)
I came out of Los Angeles College of Chiropractic barely able to utter the “S” word. It was laughed at, ridiculed, belittled, when I was in school. We were taught to push on misalignments and stuck joints. How very scientific!
Fortunately I had several mentors who taught me how to adjust the spine and who helped me refine my ability to detect an actual vertebral subluxation and not the misalignments I regularly pushed upon in my early years in practice.
Colleagues opened my eyes to the science of the complicated neurophysiological process behind vertebral subluxation and its correction. I read, and read and keep reading.
Over several years I was able to finally comprehend the seriousness of vertebral subluxation in a scientific, ethical and moral framework, and its global and individual impact. It was the merging of philosophy, art, science, and effective communication that finally allowed me to become a chiropractor.
To my college I owe nothing except the over-priced piece of paper that allowed me to take the equally ineffective National Board Exams. Chiropractic education in its current form is largely a fraud perpetuated on the consuming student and public.
The fact that students come out of “chiropractic” colleges without the knowledge or competency to address vertebral subluxation is disgusting. The fact that many of our “colleges” denounce subluxation, yet encourage their students to take care of Medicare beneficiaries in which subluxation is a required diagnosis, is unethical and potentially illegal.
Now I’m sure quite a few students that have figured everything out will take issue with this. I’m equally sure that their physical therapist administrators parading as chiropractors will also take offense.
A true doctor and scientist would consider that what I am saying could actually be true. Could it be that what you are addressing in practice and research is a different clinical entity? Our literature suggests this is in fact a serious dilemma within the profession.
Chiropractic’s Clinical, not Philosophical, Dilemma
Meanwhile, these lost experts taint our research with their failed paradigms.
How can one possibly study the efficacy and therefore the legitimacy of the Chiropractic profession when they are studying the procedures of other professions?
If we utilize the analytical and technical skills of physical medicine in a study to determine the effectiveness of spinal manipulation on low back pain, have we actually studied the efficacy of chiropractic?
Of course not.
If the intervention was simply manipulating the lower backs of individuals that had low back pain, how could that possibly be effective if the source of their dysfunction was an upper cervical vertebral subluxation?
Let’s assume for a minute that they correctly located the vertebral subluxation. If the authors of the study are using a term besides vertebral subluxation or are indicating that a manipulation was performed, we should have every reason to believe the protocols for bringing about an actual correction are flawed.
Now before everyone gets their feelings and egos hurt, a true lover of science would entertain the possibility of this dilemma and would investigate it further.
However, we are in Chiroland… and politics, not science, and disguises not diligence rule the day.
Steve Tullius, D.C., ACP
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