ACA Completely Abandons Vertebral Subluxation in Public Campaign

News Staff
ACA Completely Abandons Vertebral Subluxation in Public Campaign

Adopts the Stuck Joint Model as the Profession's Reason To Be

The American Chiropractic Association just unveiled a new website intended to educate the public that chiropractic is the treatment of back pain by unsticking stuck joints.

The website that uses the tag line "Hands Down Better" is filled with images and text that re-define chiropractic solely as the treat of various musculoskeletal pain syndromes. In addition, the site focuses on movement and motion similar to the way the physical therapy profession has positioned itself.

In the unveiling of the website, the ACA joins the controlling chiropractic trade organizations and regulatory boards around the world that have abandoned the model of chiropractic focused on vertebral subluxation and its broad body implications of reducing and correcting its related neurological components.

Instead, the focus is on simple joint movement which reduces the practice of chiropractic to palpating for taut and tender fibers and then thrusting in order to cause cavitation of those stuck joints.

According to the ACA's public education website:

"Chiropractic services are used most often to treat common musculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches."

The ACA also conflates "spinal manipulation" with "adjustment" keeping in line with the various researchers who have sold out the chiropractic profession by conflating those terms in their published research.

Sadly, these researchers who have purposely called such terms as "articular dysfunction" and "subluxation" synonyms, have strangely been embraced by those within the profession who practice in a vitalistic, salutogenic model. They apparently do so without understanding that this completely undermines their practice objective. These researchers even go so far as to create marketing pieces based off their research that swap out the non chiropractic terms in their actual research and replace them with subluxation friendly terms in an effort to dupe practicing chiropractors who don't read the actual research papers.

Dr. Christopher Kent, President of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation has written on the dangers of such semantic pathology and related practices - CLICK HERE for more on that issue

Here is how the ACA defines what chiropractors do on their new public website:

What is Spinal Manipulation?

One of the most common and well known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment”). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.

The fact is that spinal manipulation is a common domain procedure performed by a host of other providers including osteopaths, physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists and others.

The adoption of a common domain procedure performed by a host of other professions in the ACA's marketing campaign fails to recognize the unique non-duplicating nature of specific analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation. The ACA's approach ignores chiropractic's strategic competitive advantage and instead lumps itself in with numerous other purveyors of back cracking who, unlike chiropractic, enjoy cultural authority.

The promotion of chiropractors as back crackers by the ACA follows on the heels of the ACA's adoption of the Choosing Wisely x-ray guidelines that do not allow for the taking of x-rays to characterize vertebral subluxation or for follow-up films to assess outcomes related to management.

CLICK HERE for more on Choosing Wisely

According to ACA President Robert C. Jones, DC:

“People need to know they have options in health care, particularly when it comes to pain relief and non-drug alternatives such as chiropractic services" Jones continued: “ is a reliable source for information from the American Chiropractic Association, an organization that supports evidence-based care and collaboration with other healthcare providers.”

Despite Jones claim that the practice of cavitating joints to relieve musculoskeletal pain is "evidence based" there is actually less evidence to support that practice then there is for the management of vertebral subluxation.

The ACA along with other chiropractic trade organizations including the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) are banking on these types of marketing campaigns to drive patients into chiropractic offices using the opioid epidemic as a launching point.

Even the ACA admits in its press release that at best only 10% of the US population sees a chiropractor every year. Despite numerous efforts over decades the profession has failed to increase the utilization rate beyond this number.

Organizations such as the ACA that have abandoned vertebral subluxation as the reason to be of the chiropractic profession have placed all their bets on the simple minded theory that promotion of vertebral subluxation management is the reason for the profession's lack of cultural authority. They somehow reason that abandoning the concept and focusing on back pain will change that.

Other trade organizations who have adopted this tactic such as the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) have even taken it a step further and embraced public health initiatives such as mandatory vaccinations calling them "safe and effective" in an effort to be accepted.

CLICK HERE for that story

In their press release announcing the new website and on the website itself, the ACA claims to be the largest trade organization representing the chiropractic profession the reality is much more nuanced since the majority of chiropractors don't belong to any trade organization.

Making matters worse is the ACA has been caught in the past lying about its membership numbers.

At a Council on Chiropractic Education Stakeholders meeting in Scottsdale Arizona a few years ago the ACA stated they represented 15,000 members, 3,500 of which were students.

ACA’s claimed membership numbers are in doubt and many believe that the ACA provided false testimony on this to National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity during hearings on the renewal of recognition of the CCE.

According to the ACA's most recent IRS documents they earned just over $3 million dollars from membership dues in 2018 ($3,252,591.00). At about $600 per year for a membership this puts them at about 5000 dues paying members.

This is hardly a mandate from the profession.

Further evidence for this are reports by Dr. Gerry Clum, Past President of the World Federation of Chiropractic that the membership dues in the WFC are based on membership numbers and this is consistent with about 5000 members in the ACA.

There is also discussion occurring amongst the conservative faction of the profession regarding reports that some chiropractic institutions provide automatic membership in the ACA for their students which leads to inflated membership numbers. Beyond the ethical issues such practices raise, others have further questioned the legal nature of this if Federal student loan money is being used for this purpose. Organizations opposed to the Chiropractic Cartel have asked the ACA to provide proof of their membership numbers but this has not been forthcoming.

CLICK HERE for more on the ACA's membership claims

McCoy Press