by | Ask the Doctor

Q: Why do Chiropractors not prescribe drugs?

A: One of the defining characteristics of chiropractic care is that it does not involve drug or surgical therapies. Chiropractic care is based on the theory that when the body is properly aligned and maintained it can heal itself. This theory is very similar to that upon which Osteopathy was founded in the late 1800’s, the same time chiropractic had its birth. In the early years of the 1900’s, the AMA sort of “invited” doctors of osteopathy (D.O.) to prescribe medications in a similar way to their medical colleagues. Over the years, osteopaths have largely taken on the conventional medical model that commonly uses prescriptions for the treatment of almost anything that “ills” a human. Now, only a small percentage of D.O.’s use the spinal and joint mobilization techniques by which their profession made its name. Chiropractors never got that “invitation” to promote and prescribe drugs. Some chiropractors would like to be able to prescribe, but the majority of them want nothing to do with it.

The following statistical analysis is an example of why many chiropractors do not want to use drugs for treatment with their patients. A report issued in July last year by the U.S. Institute of Medicine estimated that some 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year as a result of mistakes made in the prescribing, dispensing and taking of prescription medicines. The errors, the report said, can be both costly—up to $3.5 billion spent each year on treatment for drug-related injury—and fatal, with as many as 7,000 people dying each year as a result of errors related to medication. Errors in giving drugs are so common, the study found, that on average a hospital patient will be subjected to a medication error each day he or she is hospitalized. Leaders in various medical fields have, of course, called for steps to minimize if not eliminate such errors. But the report is a solid argument for seeking care, when possible and advisable, that does not involve taking prescribed drugs.

It is my belief that medication has an important role in healthcare, but is sometimes relied upon too heavily by the patient. I do not feel that there is any single approach to health that fits all people so it is important for each person to become informed of all of their options and decide for themselves which makes the most sense. Unfortunately, that does mean that one literally needs to “shop” around for options and opinions as it is unlikely that any one practitioner has knowledge of all fields of healthcare. Talk to a chiropractor if you think it may be the right option for you. If they are sensible, they will recognize they will not cure everything and can work well with your medical team to create the best outcome for you.

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Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!

Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!