I Am Very Disappointed in the Profession I Chose
January 14, 2006
Hi Dr. Barrett:
I'm a licensed chiropractor in Texas and have been practicing for 16 years. I enjoy your website and do check it out occasionally.
I am very disappointed in the profession I chose. I often wish I could go back 20 years and make some different decisions but it's not always possible. I have seen more absurd things and heard more outright bull from chiropractors than I ever thought imaginable.
My first job was in a very busy clinic that did spinal screenings in a large mall. I ended up not having to do many screenings because I wasn't good at selling. I do remember getting my ass chewed one time because I saw a 12-year-old girl who had been seen at a screening and then was brought in by her parents for an exam and x-rays. They were wanting to know about a "hole" they had felt in her spine. The x-rays showed absence of two spinous processes somewhere in her thoracic spine. I explained to her parents that a portion of two of her vertebrae hadn't develop like the others and that there was nothing I could offer them. I thought I was going to get fired over that. They were a large practice that used Gibson Management Consultants, which had you use scripts, tapes, and other materials to sell people on long-term treatment programs. I was just there for a short period before moving on. I was so disillusioned with chiropractic at that time and was disgusted with myself for taking the easy way out and not going to medical or dental school. Shortly after that my wife was expecting again, so making a living and taking care of kids was more important than making some major life changes for the second time.
I was in private practice for a while but it's not easy to have an honest chiropractic practice. I'm not willing to lie and coerce people to receive care when I don't think it's necessary. And much of the chiropractic rationale makes no sense neurologically or anatomically.
I now work for an occupational medical facility. I do most of the physical examinations, treat musculoskeletal injuries, and give an occasional thoracic or lumbar adjustment for acute injuries. The M.D. I work for is a general surgeon as well. I have gotten to do more real doctoring in the past couple of years than I did in the previous 12 years or so. Chiropractic college was woefully inadequate in many areas, especially physical examination.
My profession has really gotten a bad name over the past decade or so, but chiropractors have no one to blame but themselves.
Bryan Lee, D.C.