Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chiropractic Revisited

Just recently I received emails from fervent supporters of Chiropractors - oddly, it is never people who support the possibly beneficial components of Chiropractic.  They are almost always the dogmatic followers of the century old failed idea of innate intelligence. 

An email in my inbox on Monday morning was from a lady who claimed that she "wouldn't dare let a doctor inject her child with toxins", has "never had the flu shot and never got the flu", is "the healthiest (she's) ever been" and has "taken my(her) kid to a chiropractor since he was 12 weeks old". 

Without getting into the "fear mongering" that is attempted when someone says "toxins" as it relates to things like vaccines, I thought it appropriate for me to respond to her specific statements.  To the not vaccinating statements, I said, "You owe me and a great percentage of the population a lot of thanks.  Without us, you'd be putting your child at much greater risk.  Choosing not to educate yourself does not allow you to abdicate your responsibility for your children.

Sadly I had to address the vaccination point because many Chiropractors advise their patients to avoid vaccines - and that probably made sense when Chiropractic was invented (prior to effective vaccines).  Chiropractors, I sometimes must restate, are not Doctors.  They are definitely not trained in infectious disease and they should not be (I know, many do) making diagnoses.

Chiropractic may be bad for your life (insurance)
On Monday night, only about 12 hours after reading the obnoxious rant from an, obviously, ignorant woman, I get a call from my insurance company - I'm changing my life insurance so they start the process with a phone interview about previous medical history, high risk behaviour and the like.

One of the questions that I was asked went something like this:
"Do you use the services of a chiropractor or alternative health practitioner?"

Based on the majority of emails I get to my account, I thought the correct answer was "Yes, Yes, I use an alternative health practitioner - science based medicine."  Like most of the questions asked during my phone call, I was able to answer "No".  I paused for a second and then asked (and I paraphrase because I was definitely not expecting a question like that!), "If I did, would that affect my insurability?" to which she answered "Do you use an alternative health practitioner?"  I reassured her that I did not to which she explained that it would not make me uninsurable but it could affect my premiums.  With further questioning she told me that she does not think that seeing a chiropractor has ever lowered insurance premiums. 

I'm certain that some will argue/suggest the insurance companies are simply conspiring to destroy chiropractic and that there is no basis for them changing insurance premiums based on someone seeing an alternative health practitioner.  Get over it, there is no conspiracy.

Life insurance is based on a calculated risk as much as it can be.  The only reason that life insurance could justify raising or lowering premiums is if the risk was real or if the potential risk was reduced.  Following that, logically, there must be reason for insurance underwriters to consider chiropractic patients (and other users of alternative health practitioners) at higher risk of dying (or dying sooner - since, we are all going to die).

Chiropractic has very little science to support their services and, where they do, the services they provide are often available from other (licenced, regulated and OHIP covered in some instances) service providers (ie. Physiotherapists).  If you see a Chiropractor, you owe it to yourself to be informed; see a Chiropractor that works hand-in-hand with your Orthopaedist and avoid any Chiropractor who suggests that they can cure anything (thick wallet syndrome excepted).

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