Chiropractic: Spare Us the Philosophy – Just the Science Please


It’s as old as BJ. Chiropractic evolved as an art, a philosophy, and a science. Actually the philosophy came last. Knowing that the world would not necessarily be attracted by a new system of metaphysics, BJ first focused on the science – osteology, neurology, physiology, subluxation. Today his original ideas are recognized and validated by the best orthopedics and best neuroscience.

But that’s not the science people talk about, is it?

With the continuing trend of our non-practicing vocal minority trying to expunge philosophy from the chiropractic profession, one of their routine word tricks is the one about We’d Rather Focus On the Science – you’ve heard it… We’re embarrassed by all this woo-woo philosophy, and we want to be considered real doctors, so let’s just focus on the science.

With this cliche, they then proceed to excuse themselves from any discussion of philosophy and chiropractic. Ever.

But the deception is, they never talk about chiropractic science either, like they promised. If pushed, they’ll talk about medical science. It’s the cheesiest of Bait and Switch.

Here’s the typical scenario:

Oh, so you’re a new graduate and you’d rather focus on the science of chiropractic, because that’s more tangible and respectable than discussions about philosophy, right? OK, that’s fine. So let’s hear some, Dr New Graduate. Give us 5 minutes on The Science.

So they’ll launch off into this rhapsody about the importance of differential diagnosis of this, this, and this, or the difference between gram positive and gram negative bacteria, how do to a George’s Test, so we can make the proper referral, etc, and don’t stray beyond our area… Merck Manual board questions on medical science – signs and symptoms and lab tests for drug therapy. All the endless minutiae that they memorized for Diagnosis class.

But wait a minute. They just changed the subject! What does any of that have to do with chiropractic?

You were supposed to be talking about the science of chiropractic. Remember? You’re the one who said you wanted to focus on it. You don’t get to substitute a presentation of medical science in the place where you were supposed to be discussing the science of chiropractic.

So let’s hear some chiropractic science. How about a few minutes on the science of the subluxation complex? Because after all, you are a DC, right? And you’re a scientifically oriented DC, right? Fine. Just making sure. So tell us a little about the science behind chiropractic.

Ninety five % are gonna go Deer in the Headlights on you, right here. Chiropractic science? What’s that? I thought science came out of Guyton’s. And Merck. And Widman’s.

Time to call them on this cheap trick. Their Trick only works if we don’t call them on it.

Diagnosis is not a substitute, or a better version of chiropractic science. In fact it’s the opposite – diagnosis is the imagined, objective validation for the sale of pharmaceuticals and surgery. That’s the antithesis of chiropractic science.

Chiropractic science? You mean there is such a thing, the new graduate or unanchored DC may ask. Just because you never learned any of the science of chiropractic doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Real DCs already know.

For starters, chiropractic was conceived, invented, developed and clinically proven for a century as an art, a science, and a philosophy, no matter who pretends it wasn’t. All three are well grounded, well elaborated, well referenced after all these decades.

Chiropractic science begins with BJ’s discussion of the subluxation complex: vertebral misalignment with a possible neurological consequence. There’s a prodigious amount of standard science validating BJ’s original notion of subluxation, twice as strong as any Orthopedic theories about Lhermitte’s test or Minor’s sign or the reasons we all need Lipitor.

First of all, the millions of clinical evaluations BJ performed in his lifetime correlating positive X-ray findings with neurological deficits, corrected by treatment. But that just got the ball rolling. In a very short time, all branches of mainstream physical medicine recognized Palmer’s idea of subluxation exactly as he defined it.

This continues down to the present time where virtually any mainstream medical reference will define vertebral subluxation the same way BJ did. Just a few examples, cited in the new Chiropractic Seminar (live and online):

White and Punjabi

Web MD

Free MD

Merck Manual

World Health Organization

But then in addition there’s also a much more profound level of scientific validation from standard orthopedic and neurological texts that have thoroughly characterized Palmer’s idea of subluxation:

Just a few that are covered in the seminar:

Ruth Jackson, MD – The Cervical Syndrome

Sydney Sunderland, MD – subluxation of apophyseal joints

Rene Cailliett, MD

James Cyriax, MD

Frank Painter, DC

Let’s not forget that it took decades for the defined concept of subluxation to be legislated as the legal niche and area of expertise of the DC, in virtually every state. All that work – do we really want to throw it out?

If so inclined, we can take the scientific discussion to the next level of neurology and introduce the work of Bernadette Murphy and Heidi Haavik Taylor, Neil Sivula and Carl DeStefano. The adverse effect of vertebral subluxations on afferent neurology. Not a theory: locked down tight. Altered afferent input causes incorrect cortical architecture to be reinforced in false patterns via neuroplasticity, resulting then in deficient efferent commands constantly being sent out.

Even this is just for starters. How deeply does one want to carry the discussion? I’d say at least as far as it takes to demythologize the lame mantra: “there’s no scientific evidence that subluxation exists…” This is a classic Edward L Bernays rote phrase by which the unlettered hope to disguise their laziness, that roughly translates to: “I don’t read.” And because I’ve never found any mainstream science material that proves subluxation is real during the time I wasn’t reading, therefore none must exist.

This is the New Intellectualism. The prevalence of the Lowest Common Denominator Mongrel / facebook/foxnews mentality of the omniscient permanent media defective. The epistemology of the one-second media blast from Yahoo news or the newsreaders at CNN, conferring the illusion to all and sundry that they know everything worth knowing without any attempt to learn.

When one finally becomes aware of the actual science behind chiropractic, after immersing oneself at least to an introductory level, the true student will then be prepared to be receptive to some basic philosophical ideas which support the science he has just been shown. Not necessary to believe in the philosophical principles, like one believes in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. No, now they are logical and empirical, since they correspond to the science one has already grasped.

This is the subject of the new Chiropractic Seminar, live and online.

So think of this article the next time someone tries to run the I Just Want the Science game on you. Be ready to throw it back in their face. Or at least to agree to disagree, for all you California Tentative Humans.