Network Chiropractic

The Anti-Placebo Effect

Detractors of chiropractic sometimes wonder whether ?the powerful results that patients claim they experience as a result of chiropractic care are the effect of some kind of auto-suggestion, or ?placebo? phenomenon.? The theory goes that fast-talking chiropractors hoodwink their clients into believing they will get better, or are getting better, via some slick marketing tool or vague goals.

Dr. Julieta and I love these claims.? If our office had to rely on fast talk or slick marketing ploys, we never would have made it past our first year!? We like to call the results we accomplish in our office ?the Anti-Placebo Effect?, because not only do many of our patients walk in the door with little faith in our work, many of our most loyal and satisfied patients walked in our door absolutely convinced that our work would have no benefit to them whatsoever.? And we are really terrible salespeople.

Even those patients who come to us with an open mind are nevertheless influenced by the mainstream propaganda of anti-chiropractic medical doctors, school nurses, media outlets, and the occasional misguided blogger.? Mainstream medicine has spent the last 100 years trying to convince the public that chiropractic is worthless (even after losing a Supreme Court decision finding them guilty of illegal anti-trust schemes), and unproven (even though the data supporting the effectiveness of chiropractic care is vast and vigorous).? If an auto-suggestion is at work, it is almost certainly working against the success of chiropractors, not for them.

I can?t tell you how often a husband has come in, almost literally dragged in by his wife, who has insisted he could benefit.? He has only appeared to appease her, and hopefully prove her wrong. Today, after 20 years, we have a healthy community of these husbands, now loyal patients and former skeptics converted not by ?studies? or ?research?, but by something far more important: results.

The simple fact of the matter is that if what we did didn’t work, we would have been out of business before the paint on our sign was dry.? Our 20 years of service to this community is built on one simple fact: we get results, and they are the results that pass the most stringent and unforgiving litmus test of all- those of the patients who are investing their time and money into our care.

And as far as our data go, we pride ourselves on establishing very specific objective clinical parameters for determining successful treatment. A comprehensive spinal examination is performed on every patient with specific data points for determining clinical baselines.? Specific goals are set regarding these clinical parameters, such as spinal range of motion readings, soft tissue tension levels, and biomechanical equilibrium tests. These goals are revisited in the reevaluation visits to ensure that specific objective improvements in spinal functional and structural integrity are being accomplished.? ?In most cases these parameters are easily perceived by the patient.? We also include a health-related quality of life questionnaire that is given in the initial visit and at re-evaluations to determine subjective parameters for improvement.

If a patient, in the face of all the programming, conditioning, misinformation, and simple close-mindedness he or she may be immersed in before and while coming to us, should experience an outcome that is positive enough for them to be convinced that what we do really does work, that is what I call the Anti-Placebo Effect.? It?s the kind of mumbo-jumbo that keeps our doors open!

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