Subluxation in Chiropractic: TIC VLOG Episode 5
The chiropractic literature periodically has problems with bias and incorrect facts about history. The profession needs to correct the mistakes. I will be dedicating several TIC VLOGS and blog posts in the coming months to the literature. Please let me know if this is useful to you.
This week’s question comes from Steve Tullius about a paper published in 2014 on professional attitudes in chiropractic. It is based on a survey conducted in Canada on more than 700 chiropractors. That survey is based on an older survey used in McGregor-Triano’s dissertation. The paper itself has several problems apart from the survey.
I applaud their efforts to try to understand chiropractor’s attitudes. I offer this critique with the best intentions. We need to improve the quality of our literature and stop citing old references that have been debunked.
BIG IDEAS FROM THIS EPISODE
- It is time for the literature to start reflecting a more accurate history of subluxation in chiropractic. The literature on subluxation was developed at every school. There are a few papers that reflect this such as Kent, Faye, Good, and Vernon.
- It would be great if papers in the literature would stop repeating the idea that subluxation and philosophy first showed up at the Morikubo trial in 1907. Also, that subluxation and philosophy were based on the work of Solon Langworthy. These myths started in Lerner’s report in 1952, and are based on Lerner’s conjectures from incomplete facts. He wrote his report as though it was true but when you look at his meager sources, his assertions on the topic DO NOT PAN OUT.
- Philosophy and subluxation were certainly used in court to demonstrate that chiropractic was separate and distinct from medicine and osteopathy. However, they were already developed by D.D. Palmer and his students prior to 1907.
- Unfortunately, Lerner’s report is the main source of Rehm’s influential article on the topic. This led to more articles and textbooks that can all be traced to the unsubstantiated claims by Lerner. For those in the profession who care about facts and scientific rigor, this fact should be included in the future literature.
- In 2003, McDonald’s study was published. It demonstrated that 88.1% of chiropractors in the United States felt vertebral subluxation should be retained by the profession. It was also published as a book and later expanded upon with three essays in Chiropractic Peace.
- In 2006, a paper was published based on a planning conference on chiropractic. It was held by academics. They found that only 30% of academic chiropractors wanted to retain subluxation. They compared this to the 90% of chiropractors who want to keep the term.
The 64 Chiropractors at the Heart of the McGregor Study
- One element of the McGregor/Puhl paper that I did not address in the video blog is the original survey. They based the validity of the survey instrument on a previous study conducted in November of 2000. That study examined 64 individuals.
- The survey was handed out at the WFC conference on philosophy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Download WFC’s report here: ChiroReport.)
- The conference itself was a bit surreal. I was there. Perhaps I will dedicate another blog post to it in the future. I got to meet my friend Joe Keating for the first time in person as well as Nell Williams and many other legends.
- A big consensus was forced upon the attendees. It was embraced by the WFC and ACC, which included every school in the United States. The consensus was based on the Coulter paradigm of chiropractic philosophy. It was developed at LACC/SCUHS in the 1990’s and the basis of Coulter’s 1999 text. Every school embraced the tenets that chiropractic is based on “holism, vitalism, naturalism, humanism, and therapeutic conservatism.”
- McGregor even gave a talk on the philosophical basis for condition-centered chiropractic.
- The highlight of the conference for me was John Astin’s paper integrating Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory into a chiropractic framework.
- The McGregor survey was handed out at the conference and was described in her dissertation. The 64 chiropractors included 10 college presidents, 16 practicing chiropractors, 1 student, 23 lecturers or deans at colleges, 7 from various chiropractic organizations, and 7 who were not chiropractors. It is difficult to fathom how this could be considered an accurate picture of what chiropractors think about subluxation!
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* Music written, arranged, and performed by Dan Mills, Mark Goodell, Adam Podd