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Some Notes on Big Ideas Enterprises

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Big Idea Enterprises, of Grapevine, Texas, describes itself as "a Subluxation Based Company that creates educational products to save as many lives as humanly possible, by helping chiropractors educate their patients about chiropractic so they in turn may educate others." Its owner and CEO is Chris W. Burfield, who says he has been a chiopractic assistant since 1997. According to an article on his Web site:

In April of 1998 I received a call from Dr. Jim Strong (my boss) about an article that was just released by JAMA stating that "Adverse Drug Reactions kill 106,000 people annually and injure 2.2 million every year. This means that Adverse Drug Reactions may rank as the 4th single largest cause of death in America." I was appalled. I felt like I had to let people know. So I made up a few hundred flyers that read "4th Leading Cause of Death" at the top and then had an excerpt of the JAMA article below it. I then drove to my local hospital and began to place the flyers on every car in the parking lot. To make a long story short I was soon escorted off the hospital property with threats of pressing charges for solicitation. I was devastated. How was I going to save the lives of those people. So I went home and began to create a patient education product called "Quick Facts". From that point on there was no stopping me. I decided to keep creating other products until finally in January of 2002 Big Idea Enterprises was born. Big Idea Enterprises has THE BIG IDEA. Remember, this is not a profession. It is a CAUSE. Educate to save the world.

The company also claims that "Our products will create an awareness in each patient that Allopathic Medicine is not "Health Care" and that Chiropractic is a way of life, not just a 'one pop stop.'"

Chiropractic's "Big Idea" is the concept promoted byB.J. Palmer (chiropractic's developer) that the body heals itself when interference to the proper functioning of the nervous system is removed. Proponents of this idea refer to the interference as "subluxations" that spinal "adjustments" can correct. To support these notions, Big Idea Enterprises sells prints and posters whose messages include.

"Quick Facts" is a series of seven booklets about chiropractic, medicine, pain relievers, ear infections, ADHD/Ritalin, antidepressants, and vaccines. According to Burfield:

You will see a dramatic shift in patient awareness when they actually see the harmful and deadly effects of allopathic medicines recorded in their own journals. Quick facts have literally saved countless lives with the information contained in each volume, and will show your patients the health benefits chiropractic has to offer. They'll realize that chiropractic is not about "fixing" back pain, but about peak potential and optimum health.

What's wrong with this picture? Plenty. Vertebral "subluxations" are not the underlying cause of ill health; and spinal adjustments do not promote health. Chiropractors who make these claims are unlikely to make proper diagnoses or render approriate treatment. They are also prone to promote unnecessary services. If you encounter any form of "the big idea" in a chiropractic office, head for the nearest exit.

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This page was posted on September 9, 2002.