Chiropractic theory is the brainchild of Daniel David Palmer, a grocer, who in 1895 postulated that the underlying cause of 95% of all diseases was interference with the body’s nerve supply due to subluxated vertebrae (displaced spinal bones). He stated that subluxations interfered with the body’s expression of “Innate Intelligence”—the “Soul, Spirit, or Spark of Life” that controlled the healing process. He proposed to remedy most diseases by manipulating, or adjusting, these problem spinal areas. The definition of vertebral subluxation is, however, controversial. The accepted standard medical definition of this term refers to significant structural displacement that can be visualized by means of imaging techniques such as x-rays. On the other hand, chiropractors often suggest that a poorly functioning segment of the spine, whether objectively displaced or not, should be referred to as a “subluxation,” which leads to altered function of the nerves, which supposedly leads to a variety of seemingly unrelated bodily disorders. Despite these tenuous and somewhat bizarre-sounding concepts, chiropractic has become a significant component of the US health care system, and the largest “alternative” medical profession.

Although the core chiropractic belief remains the concept that the correcting spinal abnormalities will cure numerous diseases, there is not total unanimity within this field. No matter how much they disagree among themselves, however, these practitioners do not adhere to standard scientific methods of diagnosis and treatment, and thus are consigned to the category of “alternative” medical practitioners, (A.KA. quacks). That is not to say that our mainstream medical practitioners sometimes do not stray from acceptable practices and are labeled “quacks,” but the number of such deviants is quite low and their deviancy may result in censure or revocation of licenses to practice medicine.

Relative to the status of chiropractic, we have recently received a report from the Consumer Health Digest, which is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H., and Stephen Barrett, M.D. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports, and often exposes various wrongdoing in topics of health. It is closely associated with the popular and highly regarded website, Quackwatch, which I recommend.

The report states as follows:

Former employees of chiropractic business speak out.

NBC4 News in Los Angeles has aired its sixth I-Team report about the activities of Southern California business Superior Health Centers (previously Optimal Health/Straw Chiropractic) run by Philip Straw, D.C. The report described how dissatisfied patients had paid thousands of dollars for bogus neuropathy and arthritis treatments. [NBC4 Los Angeles, Sept 7, 2021] According to the report:

  • One former employee said: “I was romanced in the beginning with the story of, you know, ‘we really want to help these people,’ but quickly came to realize this is basically the old ‘used car sales, hard close’ type of pitch.” She said that after patients came for examinations after being recruited through, for example, television advertising and marketing dinners, they would be assigned to a case manager who would use a script to try to close a contract worth $10,000 to $18,000. She also said: “I really began to have sleepless nights. Almost on a daily basis, I would hear from people who would say: ‘Hey you guys are using scare tactics.’” She signed a confidentiality agreement but said she needed to warn prospective customers about Superior Health. She added that its absolute goal was making money.
  • Another former employee said: “This company is known for changing its name consistently so that they can cover up what they are doing.”
  • Both former employees said that patients were seduced by testimonials for Superior Health, many of which are available on YouTube.
  • A patient who had lost the use of her left arm and was desperate for a solution was seduced by testimonials offered by Superior Health. She was treated for neuropathy primarily with red lights that did nothing and without realizing that the practitioner who treated her was a chiropractor. The chiropractor was introduced to her as “Dr. . . ” With financing, her bill came to $15,514.52. She later consulted a medical doctor and was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, an incurable, degenerative disease.
  • The parent company of Superior Health and Optimal Health is Neuropathy Solutions, Inc., a name that appears on the same marketing materials used by both companies with only the company names changed.
  • According to the attorney representing Superior Health, Superior Health was not formerly Optimal Health and ‘Superior Health does not practice medicine or chiropractic care, rather it provides management services to professional tenants.’ The attorney provided the I-Team with a written positive testimonial from the patient with ALS that the patient denies writing. The attorney did not respond to follow-up questions.

Each of the five previous I-Team reports on Optimal Health and Superior Health Centers had been summarized in previous issues of Consumer Health Digest: They include the following titles:

1) Chiropractic company’s aggressive marketing scrutinized. Some patients say SoCal chiropractic business has drained their bank accounts and their hope.

2) Home therapy charges scrutinized in chiropractic business investigation. ‘This is what we went through’: More patients come forward after I-Team’s investigation into a SoCal chiropractic business.

3) Patient says chiropractic business won’t let him out of contract for “stem cell” treatments. ‘I’ve been duped’: Disabled veteran says he spent thousands at health center with no improvement

4) Couple suing promoters of chiropractic neuropathy treatments.  Couple accuses SoCal chiropractic business of swindling them out of $18K.

5) Chiropractor tailoring practice-building pitch to pandemicChiropractic company accused of swindling thousands out of customers uses pandemic as selling point.


We do not know how much these examples pervade the entire field of chiropractic treatment, but judging from their founding philosophy and reports that I have seen, I would simply conclude by stating, buyer beware!


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