Chiropractic as a brand has the potential to broadly appeal to a very wide segment of the population. Let’s look at what chiropractic represents. Chiropractors are a unique group of licensed health care professionals who look at health as the fullest expression of life within an individual.
Doesn’t that sound like something consumers want for themselves and their families, the fullest expression of life? Health, vitality and a life with less pain, sickness and disease without the use of dangerous drugs and surgery. Again, who would not be interested in that?
But sadly, we have never presented chiropractic to the public in this manner. Individually, in our offices, we make these assertions. And we should. We have the research to back it up.
You and I know that life is expressed though the mental impulses which originate in the brain. Since these mental impulses traverse our nerve system, this is where you focus your energy.
Our philosophy maintains that the innate intelligence that made the body can heal the body of any challenge that may arise, as long as we don’t physically, chemically or emotionally interrupt this natural process.
You find and correct any physical interference to this natural process, maintain that correction long enough for the body to replicate itself normally, building healthy cells instead of sick cells and healing is the natural, expected, inevitable result.
But chemical and emotion factors also interrupt normal, natural functioning of the body at the cellular level including: the American diet, heavy reliance on drugs to treat symptoms and the extreme stress that affects so many.
Chiropractic, the brand, needs to authoritatively address the chemical and emotional aspects of the subluxation in addition to the physical component. We need to speak up and be seen as the authority on all facets of the natural health care model called chiropractic.
We have witnessed first hand how this can thrust chiropractors into the media spotlight with the recent H1N1 vaccine issue. And all of this recent publicity has happened WITHOUT the benefit of professional representation in the media.
In addition to vaccine safety issues, we need to be speaking out on issues of dangerous chemical food additives, the overuse of drugs, the contamination of the water supply, genetically modified food, industrial farming and animal production. And we must speak out in favor of prayer, meditation, personal development, life-long learning and other health promoting lifestyle choices.
In other words, chiropractic needs to reclaim the components of our message which have been usurped by the natural/organic food industry, the supplement industry, the juice industry, the exercise industry, the self-help industry, the yoga industry, the Pilates industry and the diet industry.
And we need to proudly announce to the world that avoiding disease and infirmity by removing physical, chemical and emotional stressors that impede the fullest expression of life has been our message for the past 114 years. We salute these other health promoting industries. We can even support them and can advocate their use. But the big idea is ours.
Currently the “Wellness Revolution” is passing chiropractic by. Instead of leading the way, chiropractors sit on the sideline wondering how to get involved. Reflect back on the list and you will notice one thing. All of these industries have effective marketing and public relations initiatives. How about chiropractic?
The need for a professional Public Relations and Branding campaign like Chiropractic America’s www.YourSpine.com initiative and the associated public relations campaign directed by FK Health/Ogilvy PR Worldwide has never been greater.
The public will never know that the health of the nerve system impacts ever aspect of their life and health, unless you tell them. They will never know that the health of the spine matters, unless you tell them. They will never know that chiropractic is a highly effective method of restoring and maintaining health unless you tell them.
You can continue to do this one patient or small group at a time or we can come together as a group, with thousands of like-minded chiropractors and tell the masses about the amazing, life-enhancing benefits of a healthy spine and a fully functioning nerve system.
The vehicle to do this is built and ready. Beginning in April, 2010, we will be driving hundreds of thousands of Internet users with specific health challenges to the site each month, educating them on the benefits of chiropractic care. The only question is: Will you be the chiropractor that serves these patients in your community? I hope the answer is a resounding YES.
Practicing Chiropractors’ Committee on Radiology Protocols (PCCRP) announced today that the PCCRP Radiographic Guideline was accepted for inclusion at the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC). The NGC is a comprehensive database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines that are accessible via the internet. NGC is an initiative of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Dr. Deed Harrison (Chair of PCCRP), “The PCCRP guideline is the most comprehensive evaluation of the chiropractic and biomedical literature on the topic of the utilization of X-ray in a Chiropractic setting. PCCRP Contains a thorough review of the reliability, validity, clinical utility and risk-benefit ratio of numerous radiographic views, including all standard views and specialty Chiropractic views like the Nasium, Vertex, and Base Posterior.”
Also, according to Dr. Harrison, “The extent of evidence contained in the PCCRP (nearly 2000 references) robustly refutes the contention that radiography in the Chiropractic profession should be used for Red Flag conditions only (suspected tumor, infection, fracture, etc).”
Some of the key topics that are reviewed in the PCCRP Guideline include:
- Guidelines for the use of radiography in the assessment of subluxation of adults and children;
- Biomechanical definitions for 6 subluxation displacement categories with supporting evidence from the literature;
- Discussion of the risk benefit ratio associated with the use of radiography in Chiropractic practice, including the radiation hormesis vs. the linear no threshold (LNT) theory;
- Comprehensive reviews of the literature on the reliability and validity of measurement of the biomechanical component of the subluxation through line drawing mensuration, as well as the reproducibility of patient positioning for radiographic views;
- Evidence based foundation for video fluoroscopy and digital motion X-ray;
- Reviews and rates the evidence on post-treatment use of radiography, in addition to follow-up radiography to assess the effectiveness of the Chiropractic methods employed and the long-term stability of the improvements achieved;
- Legal issues of Chiropractic radiography usage as determined by the existing State Law.
The PCCRP serves as a clinical guide, specifically for Chiropractors, on the utilization of X-ray, versus adopting/supporting the guidelines written for the use of X-ray in a medical setting. It is anticipated that the PCCRP document will provide supporting evidence which may assist Chiropractors using methods that rely upon X-ray analysis to determine appropriate management and to assess the effectiveness of the care plan for a variety of patient populations.
Although, the PCCRP is officially a sub-committee of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), the guideline committee members were a diverse group and included individuals such as Dr. Christopher Kent (one of the 5 Principle Investigators) and Dr. Dan Murphy. Of importance, the PCCRP was reviewed and endorsed by numerous Chiropractic political associations, organizations and leaders of Chiropractic Technique Methods:
International Chiropractors Association
World Chiropractic Alliance
Federation of Straight Chiropractors and Organizations (FSCO)
Council on Chiropractic Practice (CCP)
Norway Chiropractic Association,
Ukraine Chiropractic Association
State and Provincial Associations
Arizona Chiropractic Society
Chiropractic Awareness Council of Ontario
Chiropractic Diplomatic Corps
Chiropractic Fellowship of Pennsylvania
Connecticut Chiropractic Council
Massachusetts Chiropractic Society
Michigan Association of Chiropractors (MAC)
Nevada Chiropractic Association
Virginia Society of Chiropractic
Washington State Chiropractic Association
Wyoming Chiropractic Society
If you would like a copy of the PCCRP Guideline you will be able to access these at http://www.ngc.gov/ in the coming weeks or you can contact the ICA at www.chiropractic.org for a printed bound copy.
To learn more about PCCRP, the principle investigators, the esteemed committee members and the international panel of reviewers assembled to guide and facilitate the creation of the guidelines, please visit the PCCRP website at http://www.pccrp.org/.
A Senate inquiry found that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “isn’t keeping track of how drugs are marketed for off-label use, even though marketing for off-label use is illegal and it’s the FDA’s job to enforce that law,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa said in a statement. “As a result, drug makers aren’t being held accountable for promoting unapproved use of medicine and patient safety is diminished.”
The report from the Government Accountability Office delves into a gray area of medical practice and federal oversight: the use of medications to treat conditions other than the ones the drugs were approved for, a practice known as “off-label” prescribing. The Wall Street Journal reports that studies have found off-label use accounted for 40% to 50% of all prescriptions.
Drug companies are forbidden to promote medications for uses that have not been validated by the FDA on evidence from clinical trials. Doctors, however, can use independent judgment in prescribing medicines. Also, under guidance proposed by the FDA this year, drug companies could distribute to doctors “scientific articles” that suggest new and unapproved uses for medications
The review that Grassley requested by the investigative arm of Congress found that the FDA is ill-equipped to catch even blatant marketing abuses by drug companies. The agency does not have any staff exclusively assigned to monitor whether companies are following the rule against marketing drugs for unapproved uses. Although widely accepted, off-label prescribing can amount to an uncontrolled experiment. Many people have been harmed by unexpected side effects.
The study found that it takes FDA an average of seven months to issue a warning, according to a draft report by congressional investigators. It typically takes four more months for the company to fix the problem. During the ensuing 11 months, a lot of prescriptions can be written.
From 2003-2007, the office issued only 42 notices of possible violations, which usually (but not always) prompted the drug maker to drop its promotional claims.
Why does this matter to me as a chiropractor? One word: Neurontin.
Neurontin is a controversial anti-seizure drug approved for epilepsy, which was widely and illegally promoted by Pfizer for pain. Pfizer also illegally promoted the drug for bi-polar disorder and anxiety disorder.
In 2004, Pfizer pleaded guilty to criminal fraud in the promotion of Neurontin, and agreed to pay $430 million. Neurontin was approved for limited use as a supplemental anti-seizure treatment for epilepsy, but was promoted by Lambert-Warner (now Pfizer) and a consortium of paid physicians who promoted and prescribed the drug for everything from ADHD, mental illnesses to a variety of pain conditions, including migraine headaches. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2004: “use of Neurontin for unapproved uses – estimated to account for 90% of the $2.7 billion in sales last year – continues to rise despite stepped up prosecutorial efforts aimed at curbing the practice. At the same time, studies show that much of the unapproved use of Neurontin isn’t even effective.”
The commercially successful marketing “miracle” of Neurontin was achieved through a collaborative effort of the company and leading physicians who were given financial incentives to encourage their colleagues–under the pretext of providing “continuing medical education”–to prescribe a largely ineffective drug for unapproved, diverse and unrelated conditions. Essentially physicians were “educated” to use their prescribing license to increase profits rather than to improve their patients’ health.
Neurontin and its successor Lyrica work by depressing the central nerve system. They are widely prescribed for “neuropathy”, “peripheral neuropathy” or “nerve pain”. The pharmaceutical answer to the subluxation is as follows: if there is a problem with the signals being transmitted over the nerve system, chemically shut down the transmission network.
The marketing for these chemicals include statements such as: “Peripheral Neuropathy is one of the most common diseases most people have never heard of…and yet, upwards of 20 million Americans have it. Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to your body’s peripheral nerves. This damage disrupts the body’s ability to communicate with its muscles, skin, joints, or internal organs. It is like the body’s wiring system breaking down.” They go on to explain that the nerve interference can be caused by: “compression, drugs and toxins, or of unknown psychological causes”.
Sound familiar to anyone? Improper communication between the brain and the muscles, skin, joints, or internal organs caused by physical, chemical or emotional stressors.
Drugs that chemically shut down the nerve system are raking in billions of dollars for drug companies who are promoting them as the only solution for “neuropathy”, which literally means “changes in the pathology of the nerve”. But wait, it gets worse.
Neurontin has been documented to cause potential side effects of depression, aggression and suicide. There are currently over 100 lawsuits pending in federal court from suicides that are allegedly tied to Neurontin. A researcher involved in the clinical trials that preceded Neurontin’s approval testified last month that the company was aware of the side effects as early as 1995.
In June 2008, the FDA officially announced that Neurontin, Lyrica and nine other epilepsy drugs are associated with a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. They are working, as you read this, on requiring that patients finally be warned of the associated risks with a “black box” warning, the FDA’s strongest safety notice.
In the mean time, millions of unsuspecting consumers are taking these potentially lethal chemicals to treat “nerve interference” causing back pain, neck pain, headaches or any other nerve related pain.
One more thing, Lyrica is the world’s first drug ever approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. The time is now to stand up and have your voice heard. If you don’t do it, who will?