Is it Still Possible to go to Jail for Chiropractic?


jailchiroThere has been a lot of news lately about what might happen to non-medical health care if the controversial Codex Alimentarius regulations are enacted in the U.S. Many critics are concerned that the Codex Guidelines are a serious threat to continued free access to dietary supplements of choice. They envision a world where people are forced to get a prescription for a bottle of vitamin E, or alternative health care practitioners are fined—or even arrested—for providing herbal or dietary advice or supplements.

While it may seem like a far-fetched sci-fi premise, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the concerns. There is a global effort underway to stem the tide away from the “drugs and surgery” approach to health care. Spearheaded by the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry, the drug and medical industries are continuing their battle to maintain a health care monopoly. That battle is becoming more desperate as the public learns of the failures and risks inherent in many medical procedures—and adopts an entirely new mindset about wellness.

We, as chiropractors, face an even more subtle threat than Codex. The attacks on chiropractic are coming from many different directions.

Our opponents continue to harp on the stroke issue, despite ample evidence that claiming chiropractic causes strokes is ludicrous. Their bottom line goal is to make chiropractic as restrictive as possible, and to make it impossible—and even illegal—for DC’s to provide chiropractic care:

• to children,
• to asymptomatic patients,
• for subluxation correction,
• to address non-back pain issues.

This isn’t a mere war of words, either. Our enemies are taking us to court, pressuring the media into running anti-chiropractic articles, convincing insurance companies to deny claims, and using the Internet to disseminate damaging misinformation about chiropractic. They put up “Chiropractic Adjustments Can Kill or Permanently Disable You” billboards, continually push for gatekeeper restrictions in public chiropractic programs, and publish books like Chiropractic: the Greatest Hoax of the Century? or At Your Own Risk: The Case Against Chiropractic.

They would love nothing more than to see all of us either behind bars or so restricted that we couldn’t survive in practice.

And right now, their biggest weapon against us is the perceived lack of scientific evidence to convincingly prove that chiropractic is safe and effective and that subluxation correction is a key to overall health and wellness. They’re hitting us over the head with it like a club. Even the RAND study (which DC’s love to quote) says that: “The lack of high-quality studies reported in the medical literature makes it difficult to arrive at comprehensive conclusions about the value of chiropractic care.” Newsweek magazine put it succinctly, when they said the problem with chiropractic was a “dearth of good research to prove efficacy.”

That’s become the mantra of our enemies. No research. No proof.

That puts chiropractic in the “experimental” category, which is precisely how many insurance companies are labeling chiropractic for children (and their excuse not to pay for chiropractic pediatric services).

How many people are going to want to go to a DC for “experimental” health care? How many people are going to walk into your office for help if we can’t provide them with persuasive research to show them what benefits they might expect to get from our care?

Right now, we’re serving a mere five percent of the population and, without that research, we may very well lose ground in the future. With fewer patients and more statutory restrictions, more DC’s will be in precarious financial situations and many will leave for other jobs. Those who stay in practice will find it increasingly difficult to attract patients. And those who dare to adjust a child or provide wellness care may end up where our chiropractic pioneers did—behind bars.

The answer—the ONLY answer—is research. We must conduct massive research on a global scale that will produce the type of evidence that our critics cannot dismiss or refute. We must have outcomes research that will show direct and long-lasting benefits of subluxation correction, and establish the absolute safety of chiropractic for all patients.

I urge all doctors of chiropractic to act now to support such research if…you envision a future where chiropractic still exists and is available to all people…you hope to still be in practice in five, 10 or even 20 years and not working part time as a technician in an MD’s office or flipping burgers at McDonalds…you dream of a subluxation-free world rather than a drugged up one.

One way to support that research and actually contribute to it is to join Research & Clinical Science (RCS) as an Authorized Clinical Investigator. You’ll recruit hundreds—possibly thousands—of volunteers in your area and enter their data into the global RCS research database, to be analyzed by a world-class International Scientific Advisory panel of researchers. You’ll have the unparrellled opportunity to speak one-on-one with these volunteers about the benefits of chiropractic. You’ll even get assistance writing your own case history research papers, for submission to major peer reviewed journals.

You knew when you first became a doctor of chiropractic that you also needed to be a teacher. Now, you have to accept the fact that—one way or another—you need to be a researcher as well. Fortunately, once you take on that extra role, you’ll find it’s not a burden, but a blessing that will allow you to make an even greater contribution to your profession and your world.

Dr. David A. Jackson is chief executive officer of Research and Clinical Science (RCS). Previously, he served as president of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance and Creating Wellness Alliance and was owner/operator of several private practice offices in California and Idaho that specialized in high volume, family wellness based care. For a no-obligation information packet about chiropractic research and the work of RCS, call 800-909-1354 or 480-303-1694, or visit

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