Q: In the United States, why do other doctors dislike chiropractors? Why do they regard them as almost the black sheep of the medical profession?

A: Interesting question. I will address the essence of what the question is about but first I am motivated to address the error within the question itself. Chiropractic and ‘Chiropractors’ are not the ‘black sheep’ or any kind of sheep within the Medical Profession. Chiropractic is NOT within the medical profession AT ALL. Yes, it is ‘part’ of Health Care but all of what is under the category of legal licensed Health Care does not fall under the umbrella of the Medical Profession.

Chiropractic has its own schools, accreditation agency, licensing and regulation boards, and is defined by a written scope of practice in each of the US states that generally says that Chiropractors can do, within the bounds of morals, ethics and safety, open scope patient body contact by hand or approved instrument or machine to help with joint or neurological efficiency,

Spinal manipulation or ‘Adjustment’ has been and continues to be a significant focus of the patient body contact. It has shown significant beneficial contribution, so much so that the Physical Therapy Profession (part of the Medical Profession) is, in numerous states, already including this in practice, and, in numerous other states pushing to have this included in the legal scope of practice.

Chiropractic has been put down and falsely represented by many MD’s (mostly ones who are older) mainly because of Chiropractic’s impact and success as a separate Health Care profession outside of Medicine. I offer that Chiropractic, in the U.S. has been the ONLY separate ‘portal of entry’, non limited body part specialized like Dentistry or Optometry, health care profession that has survived more than 100 years completely separate from Medicine. Chiropractors may focus on the spine but a smaller but significant number of patients come to Chiropractors for more than joint pain problems.

This separate upstart profession inspired Medical groups (spearheaded by the AMA) to try to discredit and eliminate Chiropractic by claiming it was dangerous and scientifically invalid in providing help for people. Prior to 1987 any Medical doctor who associated in any way with a Chiropractor, by referring patients or otherwise, was subject to disciplinary action by Medical Boards. In 1987, as a result of a legal suit that was heard and settled by the US Supreme Court , it was decided that the Medical Profession’s justification for its attack on Chiropractic was inspired by “anti-trust” motivation rather than scientific public protecting validation.

Even today there are many ‘old head’ MD’s who, out of ignorance or malice, spread false information about Chiropractic. I offer, as an example, what I read as the first answer (given by a Medical Doctor) to this question when I clicked on this query.

I quote:

“The origin of chiropractic was based on the misinterpretation of a single event. The founder of chiropractic was blind, and he hit his head. Suddenly he could see. The nerves for vision are entirely within the skull, but Daniel Palmer didn’t know that.”

D. D, Palmer (the founder of Chiropractic) was NOT blind, did NOT hit his head and have his vision restored,

One might offer that the story was about a patient of Palmer that had his hearing restored and that would be true in regard to this narrative. One might say the analogy of the point being offered would be the same and I can agree on the connection. My point however, is that if you are a super educated professional who is relied upon to have a high level of factual accuracy, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!

An additional point, as the majority of my colleagues and thousands upon thousands of Chiropractic patients will verify, is that adjustments to the upper cervical regions of the spine (which surround the brain stem) DO affect symptoms in the cranium. One example is migraine headaches.

I currently have as has been the case throughout my thirty year career, MD’s for patients. The one profession that I have had MORE patients be connected with than any other profession. however, has been Registered Nurses (RN’s).


So, in answer to the essence of the question posed, Why do many in the Medical Profession have negative opinions about Chiropractors…?

Mainly, I believe, out of ignorance, bias, and a sense of ‘know it all’ egocentrics,

Dr. William Carbary, DC