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LasVegasLLasVegas Posts: 95
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Alternative Treatments
For those familiar, is it customary that a chiropractor "rack and crack" a patient without 1st reading Xray and/or MRI results of a whiplash car accident patient?


  • I plead the fifth on this one. I don't think a chiropractor is the place to start for any injury. Once you have a diagnosis your doctor might recommend specific procedures that a chiro can preform safely.
  • Not knowing if you have spinal cord compression or nerve compression, having a chiropractor manipulate you could be a very bad choice.

    I have nothing against chiros and know they can help in many ways, but spineys have to be especially careful of chiropractic treatment until they know exactly what's happening with their spine.

  • I've only had 2 different Chiropractors over my life, and BOTH of them did a full set of X-Rays before they did any treatments on me. As was said, by not doing an assessment with such a tool, could cause you further damage. Good luck.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks for your replies, the reason I ask this question is because I was rear ended in a car accident 2 months ago and suffer from whiplash (neck stiffness, limited rotation and pain) and also lumbar spine pain. Hired a personal injury atty who referred me to a chiro for treatment.

    While I was in the ER room the day of the car accident, they took xrays which showed no fractures. I showed the written xray report to the chiro and he said "this report is good enough for me, time to rack you and crack you". He cracked my neck and lower spine (both my injured areas) and left his office in worse pain than when I initially walked into his office. I was not pleased with several things with this chiro office and told them I would not be returning for treatment.

    The chiro referred me to a pain mgmt dr who ordered an MRI. The MRI showed bulging discs, narrowing, etc and was recommended for facet injections to my neck C3--C5 and epidural injections to my lumbar L4--L5.

    My thoughts are that the chiro should've recommended a referral to an MRI prior to him "racking and cracking me" causing additional pain. The MRI obviously shows serious issues that the xray does not. Anybody with thoughts on this?
  • LasVegas,

    My favorite (hubby still goes to him) Chiropractor kept me tuned up for the longest time. Then when my neck pain started to radiate painfully down my arm and into my index finger, my Chiro sent me for an MRI. What mine did initially was front and side x-rays that included extension and flexing. He then marks the x-rays to show disk height, (spacing), alignment etc. He then put me under TENS treatment with heat. Once done with that, he would adjust me. But it was him and me being straight with what I was feeling that made him feel (correctly) that time for an MRI had come.

    So I guess in all this, if you are showing radicular symptoms, that is when they switch from "bone cracker" to further diagnoses mode. Once he saw that I had hernia issues, he stopped manipulating my spine for fear of causing further/more damage. Hope that helps.

    Ps.. My chiro is very 'anti-surgery' as well. So that was a flip to see him refer me to Neurology and surgery.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I strongly believe after researching spine/neck info, that the chiro should've NOT "racked and cracked" me until after seeing an MRI, in addition to the Xray I shared with his office.

    Needless to say, this chiro office is not a place I will return for treatment. Guess I will never know if the chiro who "racked and cracked me" caused worse damage than the initial pain.

    Now my trust is with the pain mgmt dr who did an MRI showing many problems in both my neck and lumbar, requiring facet and epidural injections ( I received yesterday) and will also pursue a consultation with an ortho
  • Chiro is so variable. I am with Kris, I would never go to a Chiro with an injury until I had been cleared to by an ortho.

    I have been to chiros who were very doctor-like and professional, and chiros who seemed like they were from another planet. Only one took x-rays. He promised he could fix something that he really didn't understand, but thought he did (a severe scoliotic curvature that was caused by muscle spasms which were caused by a herniation, the last of which he didn't know about so he made up other reasons).

    And I've just never had an adjustment give me the miracle relief that others swear I will.

    So I gave it up. If I have to use alternative medicine for pain management, I will use acupuncture or massage. My spine can remain uncracked.
  • LV let me add this. The day after my car accident I found out that my orthopedist was on vaca for a week. I didn't know what to do and the lawyer I hired sent me to an office that was supposed to be "sports medicine". Well I found out at that one visit that they were in fact chiropracter who were running an insurance scam business. They took xrays on the oldest equipment I have seen in a long long time. Then told me to come back the next week. No answers, no meds, nothing. As we were waiting at the checkout desk my husband and I both noticed the revolving door of patients. They came in, signed in, went to the back and came back out in under 5 minutes. That was a treatment.

    Now there are two reasons for this. One the office makes a fortune billing the insurance companies for treatments they aren't doing. ANd two it establishes care for the patient. That way the lawyer can show that Joe needed months of PT and Chiro. And you can be sure the referring lawyer gets a nice Christmas present from the Chiropractor.

    My personal feeling on Chiro is this...any medical professional who takes describes his treatment as rack em and crack em is not a professional at all.
  • I don't blame you for wanting to wait now until the verdict is in with your x-rays and MRI results. Have you seen a spine specialist yet? Neurologist or Orthopedists that specialize in our spines know more than most PM's. Just a thought...

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was told by my neurosurgeon to never go to a chiropractor for my neck. I had a protruding disc and a herniated disc, which he fixed in surgery, bone spurs that he filed down, foraminal stenosis, which he fixed, and part of one vertebrae removed. This was all done throughout levels c4-7, I have moderate to severe degeneration as well in those levels. He only worked on the right side of my neck, didn't do the left, as it was less symptomatic. Anyways, he said that seeing a chiropractor "could most definitely cause more damage" and told me to "never, ever go to one, even if they knew what they were doing" with all the issues I had prior to surgery and have now. Just thought I'd share what my surgeon told me.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Don't feel bad. The Chiropractor I went to for years *and* trusted, had the stones to tell me "Don't worry about your fusions, I can still safely adjust your neck." I don't think so Dr. x - NO one will ever adjust *NY* neck ever again! He just shrugged. Oy Vey!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I quit going to my chiro. When I first started having pain in my back my DO refered me to go there. I did get some relief at first,by going. My main gripe was that I was going 2-3 times a week. I also noticed that I got cracked the same way every visit, reguardless of my area of pain. My PM was the one to tell me to quit going. Funny thing was the chiro referd me to my PM. My PM did not say that it was bad, just that I was waisting my time. To answere the original question, my chiro did not x-ray me before rackin' and crackin'. I have wondered if the chiro damaged my spine, or at least added to the damage. After going for a few years the chiro did take x-rays. I believe that letting him x-ray me was a waste of money as he contiued crackin' my back the same way he always had. I guess if you had no insurance the chiro was the most relief for the least cost. I beleive PT helped more than the chiro. In all the time I used this chiro he never showed me any exercises, whereas PT taught me exercises and stretches that I could do at home.

  • Call me ignorant, I am and am learning much here on this wonderful site, but curious...does an Xray show arthritis, bone spurs, bulging discs, narrowing, etc.? Think it is just bones to view for fractures, please correct me if I am mistaken.

    My gripe is this "rack and crack" chiro chump I saw was comfortable "adjusting" my neck and lumbar spine by just reading the xray report stating no fractures.

    a week later, I went and got an MRI showing bulging discs, narrowing, and arthritis requiring my PM dr to give me facet inj and epidural inj yesterday morning.

    Wondering if this chiro may have caused addtl damage. Negligence? Professional protocol requiring MRI to be viewed prior to "adjustment", etc?

    Not sure if there is an industry professional code of ethics, standard, etc in the chiro industry, but I feel taken advantage of by this so called "doctor" who "racked and cracked" my neck and spine without 1st viewing an MRI report.
  • They will adjust people with bulging disks, etc. I don't know that there is any proof that it worsens those conditions. But, no, they don't tend to diagnose the conditions- x-rays don't show disk material. Some chiros will try to diagnose disk issues based on "reduced disk space," but even those are sketchy.

    The reason they are so popular is that the treatments are considered somewhat effective at best and benign at worst.

    Epidural and facet injections aren't therapeutic procedures, they are pain management procedures- they can relieve the pain at a site, but rarely do they actually improve the condition.
  • I've never actually been to one, due to that perception that if you do go, you'll always have to go to keep getting readjusted. Is there any truth to that?
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • LasVegas said:
    Call me ignorant, I am and am learning much here on this wonderful site, but curious...does an Xray show arthritis, bone spurs, bulging discs, narrowing, etc.? Think it is just bones to view for fractures, please correct me if I am mistaken.
    Ignorant? No, I don't think so. We are *all* learning new things everyday with our conditions. The X-ray can show alignment, spurs, and (disk) the space between the vertebra. If you look real close you can see the shadowing of the disks, but that isn't any real "look" at the status of them. MRI's are much, much better for disk status, even more too for the osteophytes (spurs), arthritis etc. :) Hope that helps.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My Chiro was good in that he listened and did adjust my treatment to focus on the areas that were bothering me the most. He had this couch that had rollers that loosened my back and neck wonderfully! He would use hot and cold therapy, TENS/EMS - wonderful. He also was real good at checking all the way down the spine to see what areas needed attention. My upper lumbar constantly goes out of alignment (maybe the start of mild scoliosis?) and my hips would show the 'tilt.' I don't go anymore now that disk are protruding into nerves. The MRI view of my L2/3/4 is nasty, but the report isn't saying "her back is a mess - run!!"

    Like my neck, when the MRI showed the disks onto nerves or in exit foramina, no more chiro!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I used a chiro for two years. I had MRI to show him and I have to say he seemed very knowledgable. For the time I had treatment from him I did not suffer the "instability" and spasms I had for previous years. He used an ATLAS bench and never "racked and cracked" me, he was very gentle. He released muscles and was very much into alternative therapies and exersises When I had my accident I went in to see him,he would not treat me said I must go to my doctor and insist on full x-rays. The rest (as they say) is history.

    I think with all these practitioners there are bad ones and good ones. Las Vegas, sounds like you had a rubbish one! I think if in doubt don't use a chiro or osteopath. Physio is less "invasive". Chiro's are not well thought of here in the UK, not sure why.

    Las Vegas, all the best to you and take care ;)
  • After speaking with a few "insiders" here in Las Vegas, I have learned that the reason for chiropractor recommendations from personal injury attorneys for ongoing treatment is to show a track record of medical necessity.

    Seems as if the personal injury attorney is only out to help his client (patient) receive a settlement and his own 1/3 contingency, and not receive proper medical care.

    I would think the proper (ethical) recommendation would be for the personal injury attorney to recommend an orthopedic for neck/back pain from car accident.

    Guess chiropractors offer larger "finders fees" than orthopedics.
  • smiley735 said:
    I've never actually been to one, due to that perception that if you do go, you'll always have to go to keep getting readjusted. Is there any truth to that?
    Possibly. Sometimes a joint like the SI can go out and a DC (Doctor of Chiro) can adjust someone and the patient will be fine for months or even years.
    In my case I always needed my SI to be adjusted so I could have gone every week. Then I had Prolotherapy
    injections and now my SI is stable and the leg pain has decreased alot. I don't need DCs anymore.:)
    Another point is that DC's do not pay much liability insurance so I really doubt that they do as much harm as the general public believes.

  • Just like you don't get surgery without an MRI, you don't goto a chiropractor without an x-ray. If your back is broken or something that cannot be observed without an x-ray, then chiropractic treatment can really make things worse.
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