Chiropractors as family doctors: Once denounced by the mainstream, the profession gains ground
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 08:19 AM

A report in the Bangor Daily News by Michael Noonan reports "I recently read an amazing article by Dr. David Edelberg, a medical internist who practices in Chicago. He recommends using doctors of chiropractic as family doctors. ... and states that partnering with a chiropractic physician was the best decision of his professional career. My jaw dropped as I read the article. I could not imagine an M.D. actually recommending D.C.s as family doctors. This is a huge reversal of attitude."

Dr. Edelberg states that chiropractic training was actually superior to his in musculoskeletal (joint and muscle) problems, as well as related neurological conditions. He then goes on to say that between the ages of 18 and 60, the majority of your health problems will originate from the joints and muscles, so a working knowledge of this system is a big advantage for chiropractic physicians.

He lists additional reasons why doctors of chiropractic make good family doctors:

— There is a shortage of family doctors, due to a combination of low pay, high stress, insurance pressures and most medical graduates going into other specialties. M.D.s who do family medicine tend to be very unhappy with their work; nine out of 10 of them would not recommend a career in medicine.

In contrast, D.C.s have high degrees of job satisfaction and feelings of contribution to society.

— D.C.s are well trained about cases that should be referred out,  are taught to take a thorough history and exam, and to look for any “red flags” the patient might present with.

— Prescription medications, a leading medical treatment, are estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. D.C.s treat patients using only natural means, without the risks associated with drugs. Even better, many patients are able to discontinue some of the most dangerous medications, including painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, after starting chiropractic care.

— Many health problems can be traced back to poor diet. Yet medical training in this area is very limited. An article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition described current medical training in nutrition as “inadequate.” This may explain why we have received so much bad nutrition advice from the medical profession over the years, ranging from recommending hydrogenated fats as “heart healthy” — now known to cause 30,000 to 100,000 deaths a year from heart disease — to artificial sweeteners for weight loss now shown to actually cause weight gain.

— Doctors of chiropractic get very high patient satisfaction ratings. One nationwide study showed 83 percent of patients were satisfied with their chiropractic care. In a survey of thousands of Medicare patients, 87 percent gave their doctor of chiropractic a level of eight or higher on a 10-point scale. What’s more, 56 percent of those patients rated their chiropractor with a 10, the highest possible score.

Patient satisfaction ratings have long been associated with good clinical outcomes. In other words, the more satisfied you are with your doctor’s care, the better your response to their care will likely be.

The idea of using D.C.s as family doctors is not new.  I can imagine a day when our professions work together for the benefit of patients, and it will no longer be a shock to read an M.D. endorse chiropractic physicians as family doctors.