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Fox News: “When To Visit A Chiropractor”

As a chiropractor, it’s good to see recommend chiropractic. However, their advice leaves something to be desired. But I can’t blame Fox because the advice given is from Dr. Bill Lauretti, who is no less than an associate professor at New York Chiropractic College and the media spokesman for the American Chiropractic Association. The doctor gives 5 situations in which you should enlist the help of a chiropractor. I’m going to list each and provide my own commentary because his advice is questionable.

1. Pain radiating down the back of your legs.

This can be a serious condition, signifying that real damage is occurring. His advice to go to a chiropractor (DC – Doctor of Chiropractic) when you have pain shooting down your legs is like a dentist recommending that you go see your dentist after several of your teeth fell out. A patient would be wiser to seek chiropractic when they first begin feeling pain in their back or a sensation in their legs. Better yet, if you have a spine, it’s best to get it checked semi-regularly to help prevent more serious conditions like pain down the legs. Also, and this is important, if you’re a male, pain down the back of both legs can be caused by a prostate problem. That being said, I’d check with your MD.

2. Weakness or Numbness in your feet or legs.

Again, why close the barn door after the horse is gone? If you have this condition you’re probably either a diabetic or some other serious systemic condition, or you’ve been ignoring your back pain for years. I say “probably” because there’s always exceptions, but in my clinical experience people with weakness or numbness have been suffering with back discomfort considerably longer than with the foot and leg issues. Normally, back problems progress from muscle issues, to joint issues and then finally to nerve problems. Why wait until the nerves are damaged before getting help with chiropractic care?

3. Loss of Control of your bowel or bladder.

Man, this guy is just relentless when it comes to giving bad advice! I’m almost speechless. This is like an end-stage scenario in the world of chiropractic medicine. I’ve been in practice for decades and I don’t remember a single adult patient come to me complaining, “ I can’t stop soiling myself.” I’m actually fine with seeing a patient with these symptoms but only as part of a team and only with a limited treatment time to assess whether the treatment is effective. This patient might very well need surgery. Again, with an ounce of prevention, you might not be wearing that diaper, but Dr. Lauretti is clearly not a touchy feely type.

4. Deep, boring pain at night.

I guess deep, boring pain during the day isn’t a cause for concern for Dr. L but you be your own judge. And like the prostate issue up above, deep, boring pain at night could be a sign of an organic disease process. It’s consistent with a form of cancer of the vertebrae. In fact, I ask new patients if they experience pain when they’re resting at night to screen for this possibility.

5. Difficulty walking more than a block

Even a blind pig finds an acorn. That’s my way of saying that I appreciate his rationale which he explains, “  If you have difficulty walking more than a block, and especially if the pain gets better when you lean forward while walking — you may have spinal stenosis, which is caused by wear and tear of joints around the spinal cord, leading to the growth of bone spurs that push into and squeeze the spinal cord itself.”

Okay, I’ll go with that. I also have some ideas as to when I’d advise the average Joe or Jane to get chiropractic care. Let’s say this for now, if the medical community is checking our pre-teens spines for scoliosis why would a chiropractor advise a person to wait until their good health has been taken before seeking conservative and preventative chiropractic care?