“Medical Doctors Don’t Like Chiropractors” – TRUE or FALSE

By · Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

When I sit down and consult with patient in my Rancho Cucamonga or Pasadena office the question commonly comes up “Don’t Medical Doctors not like chiropractors?”

I laugh because its still a very common thought that people hold in their mind.  So much so that I’d like to address it here.

But first, here’s a little history lesson…

The American Medical Association’s opposition to chiropractic was at its strongest in the 1940s under the leadership of Morris Fishbein.  Fishbein called chiropractors “rabid dogs” and referred to them as “playful and cute, but killers.” He tried to portray chiropractors as members of an unscientific cult, caring about noting but taking their patients money.  Up to the late 1970s and early 1980s, the medical establishment purposely conspired to try to destroy the profession of chiropractic.  In fact, in a landmark lawsuit in the 1980s the Federal Supreme Court found that the American Medical Association was guilty of conspiracy and was ordered to pay restitution.

In the 30 years since, the position of most medical doctors has changed; mostly because of several major studies that showed the superiority of chiropractic in treating a host of conditions, coupled with a better understanding among medical doctors about what chiropractors actually do and the excellent track record of patient satisfaction.  Many hospitals across the country now have chiropractors on staff and many chiropractic offices have medical doctors on staff.  Chiropractors and medical doctors are now much more comfortable working together in cases where medical care is necessary as an adjunct to chiropractic care and vice versa.

Having said that, I’m sure there are many Medical Doctors out there that still do not like chiropractors.  Why is that?  Its like anything… people don’t like what they don’t understand.

Having said that, I’ll even go as far as to say that Medical Doctors don’t like CERTAIN TYPES of chiropractors.  That certain type being the one that does not take responsibility to know and understand the health of a patient, only wanting to manipulate the spine while blinding themselves to all other health issues and conditions the patient holds.  Heck, I too am not a fan of that level of care.

You know, you may find that there are more Chiropractors out there that don’t like Medical Doctors than Medical Doctors that don’t like Chiropractors.  Why is that?  The reasons very but I’d say that the biggest complaint is that Medical Doctors will commonly treat back pain with medication.

Why is this a problem?

Well, simple… just like Medical Doctors don’t like those Chiropractors that ignore the condition of a patient, Chiropractors don’t like when Medical Doctors ignore the state of a patients spine by treating symptoms rather than the underlying cause of the pain.

I hope this little blog has helped you to better understand the dynamics of co-treatment.  Dr. Porterfield and I believe that all professionals need be on the same page – putting ego aside and keeping patient-focused care first.

Troy Don, DC QME


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