Answers to Questions about Chiropractic:
How Do You Justify Offering Advice to
Patients You Have Not Examined?

Samuel Homola, D.C.

Question

How do you justify providing recommendations for care to people you have never met? How is it ethical for you to recommend treatment protocol for people whom you yourself have never examined? Getting more input is never a bad idea. I take issue, however, with you advising people when to seek chiropractic care and when to cease such care when you are clearly unaware of their physical exam findings and their history, etc, etc. That kind of advice is clearly unprofessional. You are not their chiropractor, yet you give specific instructions to follow.

Despite you obvious bias, I find your behavior inexcusable. Please act as the professional you are and do not diagnose or treat people over the internet

Answer

Any advice I offer is designed to help people distinguish sense from nonsense while seeking appropriate care for their problems. When people have been barraged with subluxation nonsense and their symptoms worsen after a few weeks of treatment, no additional information is necessary to conclude that tthey should discontinue such treatment.

Most of the questions I receive come from patients who have had a bad chiropractic experience. When a patient's symptoms worsen or are not relieved after a reasonable length of time, I always recommend obtaining a second opinion. Since it is difficult to find a properly-limited chiropractor who uses manipulation appropriately, it is not feasible to simply advise trying another chiropractor and risking another bad experience. Most orthopedists can provide a second opinion and recommend a suitable practittioner if further chiropractic services are needed.

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Dr. Homola is a second-generation chiropractor who has dedicated himself to defining the proper limits on chiropractic and to educating consumers and professionals about the field. His 1963 book Bonesetting, Chiropractic, and Cultism supported the appropriate use of spinal manipulation but renounced chiropractic dogma. His 1999 book Inside Chiropractic: A Patient's Guide provides an incisive look at chiropractic's history, benefits, and shortcomings. Now retired after 43 years of practice, he lives in Panama City, Florida.

This article was posted on January 22, 2004.