What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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“One of the most disturbing complaints I hear comes from chiropractic patients who have paid thousands of dollars in advance for a course of treatment lasting several months─after succumbing to a high-pressure sales pitch involving scare tactics. These patients have usually opted to discontinue treatment because symptoms have either worsened or disappeared. Most have signed a contract, however, that does not allow a refund, even if the treatment regimen was not completed. Some have used a chiropractic ‘health care credit card’ to borrow the advance payment from a loan company, leaving the patient legally bound to repay the loan. It’s never a good idea to pay for chiropractic services in advance. Treatment should be discontinued if symptoms have worsened after one week of treatment or have not improved after two to four weeks of treatment. In many cases of neck or back pain, symptoms will often resolve after a few weeks, eliminating the need for further treatment. Patients who have signed a contract for discounted long-term treatment that involves correction of vertebral subluxations, however, may be told that subluxation-detection instruments indicate that they still have subluxations that need to be corrected to prevent a recurrence of symptoms. Treatment may then be continued as a preventive-maintenance measure, even in the absence of symptoms ─ all in keeping with subluxation theory which proposes that correction of vertebral subluxations will ‘restore and maintain health’. Such unnecessary treatment is a needless expense, and it poses a risk that outweighs benefit, especially in the case of neck manipulation which is potentially dangerous. It is generally considered to be unethical to ask for contracted payment in advance for long-term treatment of a health problem, since such an agreement is tantamount to a guarantee that the treatment will be effective. There is no way to determine if chiropractic treatment might be effective or how many treatments might be needed. I generally advise chiropractic patients to pay for treatment per visit on an as-needed basis and only for treatment of mechanical-type back pain and related problems. A ‘free exam’ or a request for payment in advance should raise a red flag. Few consumers are aware that a diagnosis of ‘subluxations’ in a chiropractor’s office is in itself a red flag.” Samuel Homola DC, Science Based Medicine (17 August 2012)