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What is Subluxation? Part 2

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What is a Subluxation? Part 2

by William M. Thomas, D.C., "Dr. T."

Background and Introduction

At the risk of TMI (Too Much Information), for someone who is honestly looking at chiropractic care as an option, I've written this article.  I would hope that this may help those who are seeking out what their options are can utilize the information here to make an educated decision.   Many chiropractors would disagree, and consider me a heretic potentially.  However, I believe in the pursuit of truth, and I believe chiropractic works.  Most skeptics. have never been chiropractic patients themselves, or maybe tried a visit or two, but didn't follow through or communicate well with their doctor.  I love skeptics.  Some skeptics, due to philosophical reasons, reject the adamant stance of chiropractors (some, but not all) that "nerve interference is the cause of all disease" (which I don't believe), and for this reason, make the faulty conclusion that chiropractic care cannot be effective. 

Subluxation Controversy and Nerve Interference

Subluxation is a very controversial topic within chiropractic circles. There are lot of politics, emotions, and philosophies (and financial interests) associated with this definition.  I address this more completely in my article What is Subluxation.  It ranges from interference of "innate" (very new age/vitalistic) which borders on "god" or "life force" to some (not to me), to pseudoscientific definitions, to evidenced-based, purely scientific definitions.  It is my goal by attempting to define this term to clarify and demonstrate differences in the chiropractic profession, as I cannot stress this highly enough that ALL CHIROPRACTORS ARE NOT THE SAME.  That is not to say that going to a chiropractor would not be effective, even if I disagree with their philosophy or technique, it will likely be effective for you.  Although there are some forms of chiropractic and techniques that I believe are very loosely called "chiropractic" and would not be in the same category as treatment that I would do or would consider effective. 

Intellectual Honesty in Chiropractic and Healthcare

I am pursuing intellectual honesty within the profession, and by doing so, attempting to create more credibility within the profession. Chiropractic works, it did for me (a little about me), although I am aware of the criticisms of chiropractic and chiropractors.  Chiropractic care is covered by most insurance companies, it is effective when properly utilized.  Many chiropractors within the profession have, because of their adamant adherence to ideologies, or philosophies that are inconsistent with what we know (science, see below about epistemology) have made chiropractic treatment appear ineffective, unappealing, expensive, or unscientific.  It is my goal as a chiropractor to show it IS effective, appealing, affordable and scientific, as I believe that when properly, ethically and honestly utilized, it is.  Most people are happy with chiropractic care.

The problem is that it is not always properly, ethically, or honestly utilized due to some of the reasons I have listed above in the introduction.  Which is also the reason why the chiropractic profession is so highly criticized by naysayers (sometimes correctly, although it is usually not representative of the entire profession but by a few within the profession.  Again, as I cannot stress highly enough that NOT ALL CHIROPRACTORS ARE THE SAME).  Chiropractic is also very adamantly defended by patients (also correctly, but sometimes defending incorrect mechanisms of how chiropractic works or ideologies about chiropractic and chiropractors) because it is effective. 

Alternative Medicine and Complimentary Medicine

The problem that usually occurs with both traditional medicine and chiropractic is one of intellectual honesty and epistemology we'll address this again later.  Many are flocking to "complimentary medicine" or "alternative medicine" because they are dissatisfied with the medical model and traditional medicine.  There is an unappealing arrogance to both traditional medicine or pure chiropractic that is unsatisfactory to most, including myself, a chiropractor.  I sought out chiropractic care, myself, when I was injured because I thought the medical model for treatment of my injury was lacking.  This lead me to my choice in becoming a chiropractor (about me).  My own recovery was both complete, effective and permanent, although I am left with some residuals as anyone would be after an injury

My View of Chiropractic Vitalism

I also feel that I should address that in regards to Vitalism, it is my belief, though, that life is supernatural, and created by God, cannot be explained by purely scientific means  We are not merely a bunch of atoms, and electrical impulses.  My background is in Biochemistry and I am a Christian (click here for Chiropractic-A Christian Chiropractor's Perspective).  Science cannot completely understand or explain life apart from God, and my definition of the subluxation lies in the middle, but more towards the scientific and evidence-based model.  Some chiropractors may even call me a "Medi-practor", which I would likely agree with this title, though it is meant to be derogatory. 

Definitions of Subluxation

American Chiropractic Association

What is Subluxation by William M. Thomas, D.C., QME

Last updated 05/11/11


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