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What to Do If a Chiropractor "Quacks" You

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Many chiropractors encourage people to have treatment they don't need. Often this is done by telling them they have spinal problems ("subluxations") that, if untreated will cause great difficulties. Many chiropractors try to persuade every person they see—and sometimes whole families—to have weekly or monthly examinations and spinal "adjustments" throughout life. Chiropractors who offer "free" or "discounted" initial evaluations suggest this to nearly everyone they evaluate. Many chiropractors suggest that after patients feel better, they should have prolonged "maintenance care" to prevent future problems. No program of this type has ever been shown to provide any health benefit. In fact, as far as I know, chiropractic has never conducted a study to test its widespread belief that "maintenance care" is useful.

Some chiropractors offer "discounts" to people who sign a contract agreeing to have many "adjustments" over a period of 3 months, 6 months, or a year. Many people who decide to stop before the agreed-upon time period ends find that the chiropractor bills them for services they no longer want or refuses to issue a refund for unused visits. If this happens to you, I suggest that you take the following steps:

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This page was revised on June 26, 2002.