Have you ever wondered why chiropractors and medical doctors don’t get along? The answer is much deeper rooted in the political world than you think. In this episode, Dr. Frederick Schurger and Dr. Beth Bagley cover some of the political landscape around Chiropractic and some of the common misconceptions that have been going on over the years. It’s high time to put these again to light, as some of these political issues are still ongoing until today. Tune in and learn what’s going on in the political world of medicine and chiropractic.
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The Politics In The Chiropractic World
We are going to go over some interesting ideas and topics. Don’t run away because I’m going to say it. We are recording this about a week after all the elections. We are going to talk a little bit about politics but not be political. It is important. It is something for people to understand a little bit about where chiropractic came from. Your grandfather probably went through some things back in the day.
This goes to the state that our world is going through for whatever reason. People don’t understand why some people are so passionate about where the world needs to go. Let’s back up. Let’s talk a little bit about the politics around chiropractic, going back to the 1910s to 1920s when chiropractors were being persecuted for practicing medicine without a license, even though they weren’t practicing medicine.
I had a patient ask me, “Why do medical doctors and chiropractors not get along?” I was like, “That is an excellent question but the answer is way longer than I have to talk to you about that.” The truth is it is not true anymore but there was a time when that was true. It was about misinformation. There was a campaign of misinformation.
There were multiple levels of this throughout the years. I mentioned it before but there was a time when there were chiropractic schools as far as you could throw a stone from one school to the next sometimes. There were also medical schools available throughout the country. Now, if you have more than about 2 or 3 medical schools in a state, that is a lot. Some states have more than others, certainly. There was a big change in what was being accepted for medicine. We could go back and forth and talk about Rockefeller but I don’t care to. Quite honestly, that is another rabbit hole we don’t have time to get into.
Books have been written on that subject.
Back at the turn of the century, there was a large push for medical doctors to try not to have chiropractors get their sick patients because prior to antibiotics, that was a big thing.
As we go through this, know that we were not attacking a medical doctor in 1918. I’m not attacking them. This is what they were taught to do. They were taught to do this in medical school because of the influences of why you were talking Rockefeller but influences of big pharma. It became big pharma all the way starting back then. That was real.
It became a standardization of things. We talk about what is the difference between chiropractic and medicine. It is a field of study that is even separate from something like osteopathy, although osteopaths and medical doctors look very similar in what they are doing. This continued. There was fighting but it wasn’t bad until about the 1960s when the American Medical Association made a big push to eliminate chiropractic from the landscape.
That is why the schools did a hard push to say, “No, if you are associating with chiropractic, it is a cult. Chiropractors are this side of the devil. If you associate with the chiropractor, we are not going to give you your hospital privileges. You are not going to have good standing in the community.” They would run out of medical doctors who were siblings to a chiropractor. It was a big issue.
As things go, it wasn’t a conspiracy theory. It was real. Wilk suit started in the ‘80s but continued into the ‘90s. My brain says 2001. There was still something going on. It has been a while since I have looked at that but certainly, it started in the ‘80s going into the ‘90s. They had realized there was an active campaign by the American Medical Association to eliminate chiropractic. Thankfully, some people were whistleblowers at that time. For those people who wanted to do a deeper dive, that was Wilk versus the AMA.
The only sad thing is we have a situation where chiropractors and medical doctors still have this. There seems to be this disconnect that is slowly being healed. There is not necessarily an active engagement with chiropractors in medical school unless they reach out from time to time. The flip side of that is even worse. I was talking with a medical doctor who is a patient of mine. She is into functional medicine.
We were talking about the A4M Convention, which is a functional medical meeting that brings all sorts of medical doctors, other doctors and health practitioners into the same room to talk about stuff that is beyond your normal medicine. People don’t understand that when they get their labs done and I have said this in other places I might not have talked about on the show yet but there is a range that people go that you fall into that is the “normal.”
The problem is all the people that they are doing medical tests on are sick people. You have the standard deviation or that old bell curve they talk about, within two standard deviations of the people in your community who are getting tested for red blood cells. Anyone underneath the standard deviation twice, which is the end of that bell curve, is sick on either side of the spectrum. Everything in the middle is normal. That is a mathematical term that doesn’t translate to what is healthy. Functional medicine looks to a much narrower range that might shift one way or the next that says, “You should be in this range to be functionally well.”
I love this idea. It is great for everyone to understand this better because what is healthy? What are you doing on a day-to-day basis that will make you better? Is it 10,000 steps a day? Is it drinking half your body weight ounces of water? We could go down the list. I love to go to the A4M meeting someday because I’m a numbers geek and I’m fascinated by this stuff.
The problem is we have chiropractors who want to do all of this functional medicine stuff and some of them are doing it well. I hate to say bad things about my colleagues but they don’t know how to adjust. if they knew how to adjust like we know how to adjust and get people, they probably wouldn’t do the functional medicine because they wouldn’t have time.
You and I have both had busy weeks seeing lots of patients. I sat down with one guy at his cholesterol and I said, “Here is your problem with your cholesterol. Retest this in three weeks. It doesn’t take a whole lot. Stop eating the bun at McDonald’s. Stop eating the fries. Get a bunch of burger patties, have a good time with it and you will be fine.” I know that sounds weird with cholesterol but that is a story for another day. I love this stuff but I rather adjust you, get your body working and tell you, “Don’t eat that piece of junk food. It is almost that simple.”
We recorded this back in November 2022, right before Thanksgiving. What does being a chiropractor mean? The things we are trying to protect some of our rights were simply being able to take an X-ray. You are getting your cone beam installed, which is a CT but it is technically an X-ray machine. In some states, they are still a little bit fuzzy on letting us take or utilize a device like this, even though we have been using X-rays since the dawn of the profession.
Even in other countries like Canada, if they are not close to it, they have already taken away X-ray rights in some provinces.
They have had trouble. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen here in the USA. We want to make sure that we can physically take a picture to see what is going on with the person and how they are built because it makes a huge difference in how we need to get them adjusted. I had a patient. Her kids have been under care for a while. She was like, “I don’t like anyone adjusting my neck.”
She has been seeing a regular chiropractor for a while and she is seeing the kids doing great. She was like, “It is my turn. Come on, Doc. Can I get in this week?” I said, “Sure.” She feels better already. The best part about that one is I put her on the balance scale. She was 20 kilograms off. It was a lot. Afterward, she was within 6. She was like, “I feel straighter.”
You measure people in kilograms, for real.
I do and there is an important reason. Beth, how much do you weigh in kilograms? Do you know?
You are saying, “It is because we don’t worry about the weight.” I see what you are saying. You are probably correct. I’m going to try that out. Thank you for that.
Quite honestly, it is because my scales, when they power up, they start up in kilograms. There are two reasons. One, I can be lazy, not have to try to go through it and reset it every time. Two, you don’t have to think about the weight. The difference should only be about 1.4 kilograms.
For someone reading who has no idea why we are doing a bilateral weight scale is because your two feet should carry equal weight on both of them when you are standing straight. What happens is someone’s leg will start pulling up but you can’t stand on a floating leg. What happens is you put more weight on that leg and 20 kilograms is quite a bit.
It was a lot. She was having neck and arm pain but no low back pain at this point. She had it in the past. This wasn’t a thing going on at the time. She had adapted to it. I told her, “With this change, she might have some low back pain on the opposite side coming on.”
It tries to rebalance.
Getting back to politics and where chiropractic starts, I don’t want to infringe upon a medical doctor. I got some supplements here. Half the reason I carry the supplements I do is because I take these supplements. I get a better discount. If people want them, I send them to a place where they can get them online or buy them from me. I like these things and I play in that functional space for my health. I don’t want to infringe upon my medical doctor friends who are going to deep dive. They have the time to spend with a patient to appreciate these things.
This is where I want to be able to protect my rights as a chiropractor doing what we do, not have somebody else trying to do what I do. Whether it be a PT, MD or osteopath, we all can play a role in improving people’s health because we have to be responsible for ourselves. The other thing is I don’t think people appreciate that they need to be responsible for themselves. They want to give it to somebody else. I was listening to Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand.
Chiropractors like playing in that functional space for health, but they don’t infringe on their medical friends to do the same. This is among a chiropractor’s rights that deserve to be protected.
I watched part of that. I didn’t watch the whole thing.
The fifteen-minute video or the clip that I got was interesting because Jordan Peterson is talking about how Moses took the Israelites into the desert in Exodus. One of the things that people around him, I think it was his father-in-law, noticed how much he was being worn down because all the people were coming to him to solve his problems. He ended up being effectively a mini Pharaoh in the desert. What he did is he said, “You need to make it smaller. People can solve their problems at a smaller and more centralized level instead of these hundreds of thousands of people that he had brought out into the desert.” A group of ten can figure out what they need to do to solve a problem a whole lot better than anything else.
Jordan goes on to say, “What do you need to be responsible for?” He was like, “You need to be responsible to your spouse. You need to be responsible and have a job to make a healthy wage. You need to take care of yourself. You need to stay healthy and fit as part of this. You need to have a family. You need to engage in your civic organizations. Join your business organizations and a political party. All of these things are very important.” This was the point he made that I thought was amazing. He said, “Every bit of social responsibility you abdicate will be vacuumed up by a narcissistic tyrant.”
That is where we are at.
People don’t appreciate this with their healthcare. This is the beautiful thing about us as chiropractors. We will not take responsibility for your health. We will help guide you along this path but it is not your responsibility to make sure that I’m as healthy as possible. If I show up at your office for a seminar, I might say, “Check and adjust me.” We go down and eat a copious amount of McDonald’s. I hate to harp on McDonald’s. Maybe I should harp on Arby’s. It doesn’t matter. Wouldn’t that frosty be awesome?
People don’t appreciate this with their healthcare, but when you abdicate your own health to somebody else, chiropractors will not take responsibility for your health.
No, I can’t imagine. My stomach hurts thinking about it.
It tastes good in the mouth but the rest of the body doesn’t love it. I got at least one frosty right here.
I tell people, “If you have a stomach ache. It might be your body is out of alignment or it could be that you eat Doritos all day long. I can’t adjust away the Dorito habit.” There has to be an aspect of personal responsibility, whether it comes to your healthcare or the world.
The worst part is if you get yourself far down a path, you have to go down the medical route. There is a time and a place for it. If you have to go down that medical route, how much do you trust the hospital system that you are going to get stuck in that is being run not by the medical doctors but by lawyers and bureaucrats that have more interest in their bottom line than your health and wellbeing? It is pretty scary stuff.
One of my goals with my patients is to keep them out of that system. I don’t want you in the system. If you have to be there, I love you and l will pray for you. I will still help you in my office. My goal is to keep as many people out of that system as possible because it leads to one drug, another drug, surgery and another drug where we can solve so much by being in proper alignment, having proper nutrition, enough water and moving our body.
It is great when it is there because I had a patient who had her third child. It was a seventeen-hour labor. Anything longer than about 4 to 6 hours is considered traumatic labor. She had to get induced. They had to give her some Pitocin. She had some additional bleeding afterward. They sewed her up and fixed her up so that she didn’t die because it wasn’t long ago that women would die in childbirth. This is where the medical system is great. That is their job to fix you when you are in that acute situation. She was so happy to get her head on straight. She was like, “Doc, I went through too much. Put my head on straight so I can take care of my baby.”
It is incredible to see that change. We take care of a lot of pregnant people in our office. With these women, I do see better outcomes with their pregnancy than typical. They talk about their sister. The laborers are short. I calmly tell them. I was like, “If you want to have this baby in the hospital, know that being under care, your labor could be shorter than you are used to than your friends are having. It is a good thing but you need to go to the hospital and get checked out first.
Every now and then, you want the best possible situation in those where you love to have a home birth and no drugs.
That is up to each mom.
Sometimes that works out fine. Other times, you got to go to the hospital. You need that level of healthcare. This is understanding where the different specialties where those of us who are doctors, whether it be a medical doctor, chiropractor, osteopath, peds, gynecologist, you name it, we have roles that we are trying our best to do. We don’t want to cross over those roles. That is the extent of where we should end on the politics side of things.
People need to know that there are different specialties where doctors have different roles, and they don’t want to cross over those roles.
Do you have any case studies or any miracles that have happened in your office? I got one and I want to talk about it.
Why don’t we talk about yours? I have been talking too much.
I saw her for her second appointment. She came in with several years of chronic headaches. Someone referred her in. It is a family member. She got her first adjustment. She said she realized and wondered if this is how normal people feel. I said, “Yes, that is how normal people feel.” She didn’t have a migraine or headache. She felt good. She had energy. She got two littles at home. She was able to take care of them and be the mom she wanted to be.
The simple answer was she needed her head on straight and it wasn’t. I feel incredibly blessed that I was able to help her, give her that chiropractic adjustment, that Blair adjustment and get her back on track with her health. She got checked. She only had 1 of the 2 vertebrae out that I had to adjust. She didn’t need another adjustment but she felt like she did already. She may have overdone it a little bit because she felt good, which I didn’t warn her about. I try to tell people, “If you feel fantastic, still don’t go crazy. It needs time to heal.”
What most people don’t realize is that you can’t just go. Those people who have that miraculous change in the first 24 hours and sometimes even less are the ones who need to take it easy more than everybody else. If they push far too fast, it overwhelms the nervous system. We might talk about my kettlebell training routine another time because it is pertinent.
It is interesting. The Russians have figured out physiology better than the rest of us. All the research going into things like heart rate variability and nervous system, the Russians were doing it years ago, knowing how hard they can push, especially their athletes, which would translate to their soldiers. Neurologically, what they could do and when they had to break, pull back to address things. It is curious.
We may talk about that another time simply because it is interesting to think about how that translates. This translates to how hard I can train for the course of six weeks. At the end of that, what else is going on? How does that translate to someone’s healing ability through their care and what they can and shouldn’t do right off the bat? What we don’t know is, conceptually, what is healing. Is it healing of the physical organ? Is it the body as a whole? How much of it is the nervous system trying to catch up and trying to fix everything else?
We could imagine a home renovator being overwhelmed down in Florida with some of those floods and the hurricanes that have come through and how hard it was for them to clean out a house and rebuild it. They can do that with a road within about 2 or 3 weeks that were decimated. I find that it can happen that fast. If only roads in Illinois got repaired that quickly. Missouri might have some better roads.
They are better. I hate when I’m driving to your office. I’m in Missouri and I’m driving across the bridge.
Hopefully, that is going to get all fixed. They have been working on that forever. Those are the big highlights of this episode.
We covered a lot. We got some good information and some wheels turned in on. People say, “Why haven’t I heard of chiropractic before?” It is because, for years, it was suppressed. I’m glad to bring it up and at least have conversations around that.
The other side of it is for people to understand they need to be responsible for their health. You cannot help them heal and not go down the road to eating all the junk food. It is like you said, “You can’t adjust out of a Dorito habit.” I like that. Dr. Bagley, that is going to call it for us. Here is the crazy thing. You and I are going to see each other after this. We may try to do a recording.
We should do an in-person one.
We will bring some mics. We will see how the audio works out. If people hate it, that is because we are playing things fast and loose with some hardware. We are going to try that with a couple of student doctors that are learning the ropes of this so they can share some of their experiences as well. People appreciate that more.
You can find me @PrecisionChiroSTL. I’m in St. Louis, Missouri.
I’m at KeystoneChiroSPI.com. You can find me in Springfield, Illinois. Thank you so much. We will see you next episode.