Category Archives: Chiropractor

Boy Scout Physicals

BSAThe Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a valuable organization to our country and to the boys that it serves.  Having served in the BSA for years, I can attest to the benefits of the organization.  As with every organization there is always room for improvement.

In 2009 the BSA made a change in its policy regarding what professionals can perform participation physicals for the boys.  For decades prior to this decision Doctors of Chiropractic were performing physicals for Boy Scouts often times free of charge so that they could participate in their summer camps and other physical activities.  These chiropractors were acting in accordance with their licenses in their respective states.  The state of Utah where I practice allows chiropractors to perform participation physicals for schools or for employment.  Despite their license and education the BSA will no longer accept physicals performed by a chiropractor.  There were no complaints or incidents over the 20 years when chiropractors were performing these physicals.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) continues to work on this issue.  They “sent two letters to BSA headquarters supporting the fact that DCs are qualified to perform annual physicals, voicing its concerns about the policy change and requesting that the previous policy be restored to recognize the state-authorized ability of doctors of chiropractic (DC) to provide annual exams to BSA. The group’s decision was not supported by any evidence; in fact, chiropractic physicians performed these evaluations for BSA for more than 22 years prior to the change last year. Furthermore, many DCs are involved with BSA as volunteers, leaders or parents.

If you would like to do something about this issue please visit the American Chiropractic Associations action site here: and follow the suggestions that they have there.



Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is in the category of less common diseases that you may not know that your chiropractor can treat.  Don’t worry, you probably don’t have it.  Recently the topic came up and I promised to create a post to provide some basic information on the topic of AS.

AS RibbonFirst let me cover what it is.  AS is an inflammatory disease and can be classified as a type of arthritis.  It causes pain in joints and bones, particularly in the spine with the most common complaint being the low back.  In the most severe cases it can cause bones to fuse together.  It is much less common than your typical  osteoarthritis and is also harder to diagnose because of the similarity of its symptoms to so many other conditions.  When you walk into a doctor’s office complaining of low back pain, they won’t jump to the conclusion that you have AS.

Your chiropractor can diagnose AS using a combination of your health and family history, blood tests and radiologic tests, but they won’t usually go hunting for this condition.  It is more often found after other things are ruled out or discovered incidentally with X-rays for other conditions.  This is a sexist disease usually affecting men, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t have it.  AS is also not an illness that comes on late in life.  It usually makes its self known before the age of 35.  The cause of AS is unknown still, but is likely genetic, meaning that it runs in families.  As with most diseases whose causes are unknown there is no known cure yet.  There are however treatments.

Most medical treatments for AS focus on management of pain and symptoms, but there are some medications that have been found to slow the progress of the disease.  Your chiropractor should be able to help you manage or reduce your symptoms as well as slow down the progression of the disease without medication.  As always he should also keep in close contact with your other providers that may be treating you, most likely your  rheumatologist, and together they should come up with a plan of action specific to you.

Image by Cienpies Design

Image by Cienpies Design

The treatment with the best results for AS is improving your range of motion and flexibility with exercise, diet, and joint mobilization.  You can do much of it on your own at home with guidance from your provider.  Your chiropractor should already be using these tools to treat any low back pain, but they will be even more important if you have AS.  Your chiropractor may or may not adjust your spine depending on your condition, but managing your care does not require manipulation if you don’t want it.

In the past some practitioners would recommend not seeing a chiropractor for AS because possible risks were unknown.  No studies have found increased risk to people with AS when treated with chiropractic manipulation, and recent research indicated benefits even at the late stages of the disease.  While most of the research is focused on finding a cure to AS here’s a link to an excellent case study of improvement with chiropractic management of AS.

People Looking for More Than Medication

According to our current medical model I am a CAM provider.  I’m not partial to the label.  I’ve found that most people think that CAM treatments are what you try when the traditional western medical model has failed you.  I reject that understanding of the term, and would like to change it.

CAM stands for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  That means that the treatment I provide can be complementary or an alternative to that of your medical doctor, or vise versa.  When I come across a low back that is in such spasm that I cannot adjust it without injuring my patient, I may refer the patient to an MD for muscle relaxants, or a massage therapist.  That prescription or massage compliments my treatment.  When providers from different specialties work together for the benefit of the patient, it is always complementary.

Alternatives are important, and options improve care.  PAR-Q conversations are a tool used after making a differential diagnosis that gives the patient power over their own health.  PAR-Q stands for Procedures, Alternatives, Risks and Questions.  The idea is that a health care provider, after giving a diagnosis, should then explain the procedures they recommend, any alternative treatments (including doing nothing, at times that is less risky than the treatment), and the risks of each option.  They should then answer any questions the patient may have.  After being given all the information a patient may then make an informed decision regarding their care.  Taking the time to explain the alternatives opens the door for discussion, allows better control of negative interactions, and the recognition of new possibilities that may benefit patient care.

72_nccam_charts_1I work with many doctors who understand CAM and take advantage of it.  However, not all doctors know or believe that there may be a complementary treatment or an alternative to their care.  Patients are discovering it whether it be through their doctor or on their own.  The most recent statistics just released show nearly 40% of all adults in the U.S. use some form of CAM.

Chiropractors are the most often used CAM provider.  Licensed to perscribe or utilize most forms of CAM your chiropractor can guide you to the treatment that is best for you.  They may even recommend a medical doctor.