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Not Just Back Talk by Crick and Crack: Medicine and Chiropractic – Part 1

Many of my colleagues became chiropractors because they had a family connection or positive personal experience with chiropractic. Such was not the case with me. In fact, without even being aware of it, while growing up I had a very typical preconceived notion/prejudice toward chiropractic.

This first came to light when I was a junior in high school, walking across the parking with my good friend Chris after school one day. I casually asked him what his father did for work, and he told me he was a chiropractor. My reaction was a very innocent “Really?”. He then asked me if I had a problem with that; my answer was “no, I guess not”, and that for the most part was the end of the discussion. Somewhere in my youth, I had “learned” that chiropractic had a questionable reputation. The reason for that I would come to understand later.

While studying anatomy and physiology in college and searching for a career path, knowing my interest in science another friend suggested that perhaps chiropractic might suit me, as he had been seeing a chiropractic doctor for a neck injury with great success. That moment essentially gave my life the direction it was needing. I did some research on chiropractic, and learned that it had an undeserved reputation as a somewhat illegitimate healing art, but actually had much to offer. I liked the idea of being an underdog, and being on the right side of good argument, and proceeded to steer my academic career toward the goal of obtaining a chiropractic degree. While in school, I studied the history of chiropractic as a profession, and manipulation as a healing modality. During my training, and also in subsequent years of practice, I learned a great deal about the relationship between organized medicine and my chosen profession, and found that historically it was not pretty.

In the next several columns I will talk about the history of chiropractic and manipulation, the relationship between medicine and chiropractic, and lastly, and sadly, what organized medicine covertly did in an attempt to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession. These last facts account not only for my previous unknowing bias, but also for the ongoing prejudice of millions of people in this country, and abroad, toward chiropractic.

To be clear, these articles are not being written from a defensive stance, but from an educational perspective to help correct the wrongdoings of a powerful and organized political machine many years ago.

I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me.

Yours in health,

Crick and Crack

Dr. Thomas Turek grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University and New York Chiropractic College. He has practiced in St. Johnsbury for over 35 years, and lives in Waterford with his wife Dorothy. Dr. Travis Howard grew up in Rantoul, Ill. He was a medic in the Air Force for eight years. He attended University of Maryland European Division, Illinois State University, and Logan College of Chiropractic. He lives with his wife and three sons in Littleton, N.H. To submit a question for the column, email

Not Just Back Talk by Crick and Crack: Medicine and Chiropractic: Part 2

In our last column, I talked about how many people across the country, and indeed across the world, have an unfounded prejudice towards the practice of chiropractic, and how I too fell victim to a conspiracy by organized medicine to denigrate and eliminate, the chiropractic profession.

This resulted in a landmark lawsuit that began in October 1976, initiated by Chester Wilk, a chiropractor, and four colleagues, who filed suit against the American Medical Association, as well as the American Hospital Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Physicians, and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals. The suit claimed that the defendants had participated for years in an illegal conspiracy to destroy chiropractic.

On August 24, 1987, 11 years later, after endless wrangling in the courts, US District Court Judge Susan Getzendanner ruled that the AMA and its officials were guilty, as charged, of attempting to eliminate the chiropractic profession. While the AMA and co-defendants denied many of the charges, they admitted that they had labeled chiropractic as an “unscientific cult,” by claiming that the basis for chiropractic was unscientific and that chiropractic education was insufficient. After the judge’s ruling, the AMA appealed but lost their appeal.

The fact is that manipulation is a well-established healthcare practice/form of treatment. It dates back 4,000-5,000 years. Research shows that cave dwelling wall paintings depict practitioners manipulating their patients. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, treated many of his patients with manipulation, and in fact, said “look first to the spine for the cause of disease,”

Over the centuries, manipulation interventions have fallen in and out of favor with the medical profession. Historically, manipulation can trace its origins from parallel developments in many parts of the world where it was used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including spinal disorders. It is acknowledged that spinal manipulation is and was widely practiced in many cultures and often in remote world communities in Indonesia, Hawaii, Japan, China and India, and Central Asia, and Mexico, as well as in Russia and Norway. Claudius Galen, a noted Roman surgeon, provided evidence of manipulation including acts of standing or walking on the dysfunctional spinal region; he even commented on the works of Hippocrates with many illustrations of his manipulative techniques.

After the Renaissance, many medical texts included treatises on manipulation. By the 19th century, a significant portion of the established medical profession expressed disdain for the “bonesetters” and their practices and did their best to run them out of business. At the same time, however, they couldn’t help but recognize just how popular these bone setters had become to the general populace.

In 1882, Robert Jones, the founder of British orthopedics, wrote “we should mend our ways rather than abuse the unqualified. Dramatic success in their hands should cause us to inquire as to the reason. It is not wise or dignified to waste time denouncing their mistakes, for we cannot hide the fact that their successes are our failures.” It is around this time that both osteopathy, founded by a medical physician, Andrew Taylor Still, and chiropractic, founded by Daniel David Palmer, were both founded. Dr. Still founded osteopathy due to his disenchantment with the results of traditional medicine, which even at this time included the common practice of bloodletting. Daniel David Palmer, credited with treating patients with manipulative of the spine and codifying chiropractic in 1895, started a chiropractic college shortly thereafter.

Next time: the evolution of medical and chiropractic colleges; the Wilk suit begins.

Yours in Health,

Crick and Crack

Dr. Thomas Turek grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University and New York Chiropractic College. He has practiced in St. Johnsbury for over 35 years, and lives in Waterford with his wife Dorothy. Dr. Travis Howard grew up in Rantoul, Ill. He was a medic in the Air Force for eight years. He attended University of Maryland European Division, Illinois State University, and Logan College of Chiropractic. He lives with his wife and three sons in Littleton, N.H. To submit a question for the column, email

Not Just Back Talk by Crick and Crack: Medicine and Chiropractic – Part 3

This is the third part in a series of articles addressing the history of the relationship between medicine and chiropractic. In the first article, we discussed the unconscious bias most people had, and many still have, toward the chiropractic profession, as a result of covert efforts to contain and eliminate it by organized medicine. In Part 2, we discussed the antagonism that existed in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries between medicine and those practitioners of manipulation, often known as bonesetters.

We will now continue with the discussion, leading up to the eventual suit brought by Dr. Chester Wilk, a chiropractor, and three colleagues, against the American Medical Association (AMA) and other medical organization defendants in 1976, hereafter known as Wilk v AMA. In that suit, the plaintiffs charged that the AMA conspired to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession. Important in its defense was the AMA’s claim that chiropractic was unscientific, and its schools substandard. As background, it is important to understand the evolution of both professions.

In an article entitled A History of Manipulative Therapy by Erland Pettman, PT, published in 2007, it stated that medicine in the 18th century was based on the philosophy of “observe and use what helps, avoid what does harm”. Using this logic, in 1796 Benjamin Rush, America’s most prominent physician, concluded that bloodletting was the most logical approach for the treatment of fever. His approach was lauded, and the instrument used, the lancet, was to give its name to the world’s most prestigious medical journal. In 1800, medicine was justifiably called “the withered arm of science”. Throughout the 19th century admission for medical training in American universities was most often the student’s ability to pay, the course often consisted of two 4-month semesters, and a student could fail 40% of his classes and still graduate. An attempt to introduce written exams was protested, as over half of Harvard’s medical students could barely write. After graduation, new doctors often went to Europe to augment their training. The profession of medicine at this time was in disarray and disrepute. It was against this backdrop that osteopathy and chiropractic emerged, both professions founded by men disenchanted with the unpredictable results of practical medicine at the time. In the early 20th century, a standard of medical education was established, and by 1923, two-thirds of all medical schools were forced to close, with only a small remainder left having met the necessary criteria.

At this same time, many chiropractic colleges were being established, with minimal credentialing and standards, much like their earlier medical counterparts. The curricula, however, included the basic sciences of anatomy, chemistry, and physics, but instead of surgery, chiropractic students were trained in manipulation and physical medicine. By the late 1960’s, the maturation of chiropractic colleges paralleled that of medical colleges, and they were accredited by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), the same governmental agency that accredited medical schools. Many schools closed, and the remaining 30% met the required established standard. The irony cannot be ignored here that the AMA accused the chiropractic profession of substandard education, and used this as justification to proceed with clandestine efforts to eliminate it when it was guilty of exactly the same thing a scant 50 years earlier.

Next time: Wilk v AMA: the facts revealed

Yours in health,

Crick and Crack

Dr. Thomas Turek grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University and New York Chiropractic College. He has practiced in St. Johnsbury for over 35 years, and lives in Waterford with his wife Dorothy. Dr. Travis Howard grew up in Rantoul, Ill. He was a medic in the Air Force for eight years. He attended University of Maryland European Division, Illinois State University, and Logan College of Chiropractic. He lives with his wife and three sons in Littleton, N.H. To submit a question for the column, email

Not Just Back Talk by Crick and Crack: Medicine and Chiropractic, Part 4

This article is the 4th in a series about the relationship between organized medicine and chiropractic, leading up to the facts surrounding the lawsuit brought by Dr. Chester Wilk, and three chiropractic colleagues against the American Medical Association, known as Wilk v AMA. In the first article, we talked about the fact there has been a long-standing prejudice against chiropractors. In the second article, we addressed that there has been discourse between medicine and practitioners of manipulation that dates back to the Renaissance. Last week we talked about the educational standards of medical and chiropractic colleges, and that by the 1960’s they were both accredited by the Department of Education. In today’s article, we will discuss the Wilk suit in detail.

On August 27, 1987, the future of the chiropractic changed when federal court judge Susan Getzendanner found the American Medical Association (AMA) guilty of conspiring to destroy chiropractic. In her findings, the judge cited that the AMA’s plot dated back to 1962. In that year, the Iowa Medical Society adopted a resolution known as the Iowa Plan, which stated specifically “what medicine should do about the chiropractic menace”, which included a section titled “undertake a positive program of containment”, suggesting the ‘containment’ might be pursued along the following lines:

-encourage ethical complaints against doctors of chiropractic

-oppose chiropractic inroads in health insurance

-oppose chiropractic inroads in workers compensation

-oppose chiropractic inroads and labor unions

-oppose chiropractic inroads into hospitals

-contain chiropractic schools

The Iowa Plan, soon thereafter adopted by the AMA as well, stated that such actions taken by the medical profession should be persistent and behind the scenes whenever possible, and that the medical community should never give professional recognition to doctors of chiropractic, and thus a successful program of containment would result in the decline of chiropractic.

NOTE: Evidence of this conspiracy could be found even in our small state of Vermont, where in 1980 a resolution, promulgated by the AMA, was passed by the legislature which allowed for insurance companies to not reimburse for “manipulation of the spine”; the language approved by the Vermont legislature was the exact language given to them by the AMA. It was noted, however, that if a manipulation was performed by physical therapist it would be reimbursed. Through extensive lobbying by chiropractic advocates, this rule was eventually repealed by legislative action in 1998, allowing for a leveling of the reimbursement playing field. Governor Dean, a medical doctor, threatened to veto this legislation, but facing an overwhelming override by the legislature, signed it into law.

The judge further stated that “as early as September 1963, the AMA’s objective was the complete elimination of the chiropractic profession”. Two months later, the AMA formed the Committee on Quackery, and by 1964 its goal was to do away with chiropractic throughout the United States.

The committee was to achieve its goals by: distributing publications critical of chiropractic, assisting others in preparation of anti-chiropractic literature, warning that professional association between medical physicians and chiropractors was unethical, and discouraging colleges, universities and faculty from cooperating with chiropractic schools. In 1966 the AMA adopted a resolution calling chiropractic an “unscientific cult”. Since the AMA’s code of ethics prevented medical doctors from associating with unscientific practitioners, this specific label would prevent medical doctors from associating with chiropractors, including making referrals, accepting referrals, or providing diagnostic, laboratory or radiology services. The judge also stated that one of the AMA’s specific goals was to keep chiropractors out of hospitals, as a way of delegitimizing them. In 1973 the AMA’s lead attorney published an article titled “The Right and Duty of Hospitals to Exclude Chiropractors” in the Journal of the AMA, and warned every hospital attorney that their accreditation might be lost if hospitals dealt with chiropractors.

In a particularly outrageous fashion, the AMA went so far as to disseminate to every medical office in the United States an article from a medical journal disparaging chiropractic, and questioning its scientific basis and efficacy. It was discovered in the Wilk trial that the “medical journal” from whence the article came was nonexistent. As someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, the Wilk suit and all that it exposed helped me to understand exactly where the unexplained bias I had against chiropractic in my youth had come from. I, like most of America, had fallen prey to the AMA conspiracy to discredit chiropractic.

In two weeks: The Wilk concludes (and Summer officially begins!)

Yours in Health,

Crick and Crack

Dr. Thomas Turek grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University and New York Chiropractic College. He has practiced in St. Johnsbury for over 35 years, and lives in Waterford with his wife Dorothy. Dr. Travis Howard grew up in Rantoul, Ill. He was a medic in the Air Force for eight years. He attended University of Maryland European Division, Illinois State University, and Logan College of Chiropractic. He lives with his wife and three sons in Littleton, N.H. To submit a question for the column, email

Not Just Back Talk by Crick and Crack: Medicine and Chiropractic – Part 5

This is the fifth article in a series looking at the relationship between the medical and chiropractic professions. As we have discussed, the story dates back to the 1500’s and the Renaissance and eventually resulted in a lawsuit (Wilk v AMA) against the American Medical Association in 1976. Last week we looked at the well-documented plot by the AMA to boycott the chiropractic profession.

On August 27, 1987, Judge Susan Getzendanner found for the plaintiffs Chester Wilk et al, and issued a permanent injunction against the American Medical Association. It ordered the AMA to remove the barriers preventing medical doctors from referring to and receiving referrals from chiropractors, and those preventing medical doctors from teaching in chiropractic colleges, among other things. The court ruled that the purpose of the AMA’s boycott was to eliminate chiropractic and that although the conspiracy ended in 1980, there were lingering effects of the illegal boycott. One example is the Medicare program, which when established attempted to exclude chiropractic. Due to massive lobbying by chiropractic patients in 1973, chiropractic was ultimately included in the Medicare Act, albeit in an extremely limited capacity. However, even now, despite the fact that chiropractors are reimbursed by every other insurance company for a multitude of procedures, Medicare still only reimburses for manipulation of the spine. Though required by Medicare to perform a consultation and examination to determine the need for treatment, ironically this service is not reimbursed by Medicare. In addition, chiropractic x-rays performed in a hospital for Medicare patients are only reimbursed when ordered by a medical physician. This example illustrates the fact that misinformation can, 60 years later, have lingering effects.

The good news is that, because of the Wilk lawsuit and its outcome, things have changed. I graduated from chiropractic college in 1980 and began my practice in St. Johnsbury that same year. I encountered both professional welcome and outright prejudice. Our local hospital was completely agreeable to performing x-rays I ordered, while another nearby hospital refused not only to perform x-rays I requested but even to release x-rays to me, even though they were required to do so by law. An orthopedic surgeon in New Hampshire likewise refused to release x-rays, but within 10 years that same surgeon referred patients to our office for treatment. In my first 10 years of practice I received two medical referrals; at present more than a third of the new patients seen in our office each week are medical referrals, accompanied by introductory letters and office notes.

One of my best friends from high school, valedictorian of his class, went on to attend Georgetown Medical School in 1981. His first month where he attended a class in which the professor began to denigrate chiropractors. He stood up and reminded the professor that as first-year medical students they were an impressionable audience, and advocated for open-mindedness and mutual respect of other professions. 37 years later our clinic now regularly has medical students spend days in our office observing evaluations and treatments as part of their clinical medical rotations with Dr. Joyce Dobbertin. Both doctors in our office have adjunct staff privileges in 6 hospitals, regularly ordering x-rays, blood work, CAT scans, and MRIs. We refer to medical offices and medical specialists within a 75-mile radius.

The beneficiary of all this mutual cooperation between medical and chiropractic physicians is THE PATIENT. Instead of barriers preventing association between practitioners, we now have conduits, including electronic medical records, to facilitate communication between practitioners so that patients can obtain efficacious, cost-effective, and appropriate care. A shining example of this was a recent study performed by the Veterans Administration, the largest of its kind, which analyzed treatment for veterans in two groups: those treated by medical practitioners only, and those treated by a team of medical and chiropractic practitioners. Those in the second group experienced significantly better outcomes, as well as greater satisfaction with care both on the short-term and long-term. As a result, Congress recently passed a law requiring that by 2021 all VA facilities will have chiropractic services available for veterans. None of this would have happened without the Wilk lawsuit.

We hope you enjoyed this 5 part series and found it interesting and informative, and that it helped you, our readers, understand how chiropractic has come to be so widely accepted today.

Have a safe and healthy Summer!

Yours in health,

Crick and Crack

Dr. Thomas Turek grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University and New York Chiropractic College. He has practiced in St. Johnsbury for over 35 years, and lives in Waterford with his wife Dorothy. Dr. Travis Howard grew up in Rantoul, Ill. He was a medic in the Air Force for eight years. He attended University of Maryland European Division, Illinois State University, and Logan College of Chiropractic. He lives with his wife and three sons in Littleton, N.H. To submit a question for the column, email

Did you know chiropractic can help with Allergies?

Combating Allergies

Your immune system protects your body from foreign substances called antigens, by producing antibodies and chemicals to fight them. Usually, the immune system ignores natural substances and fights the dangerous ones like bacteria.

Allergic reactions occur when your immune system reacts abnormally to a substance that is not necessarily harmful. In the case of Hayfever, the immune system overreacts to the pollen, dust, and mold in the air and produces too much histamine. It is the histamine that inflames and irritates the sinuses and eyes. In some cases, the histamines can irritate the lining of the bronchial tubes resulting in asthma. Symptoms associated with pollen related allergies are persistent sneezing, running nose, itchy, tearing eyes, and itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, and throat.

The medical approach to combating allergies includes antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids prescribed as a nasal spray. Many of these can be purchased “over-the-counter”, but may cause some undesirable side effects such as drowsiness or nervousness.

How Chiropractic May Be a Better Option

Chiropractors work to strengthen the immune system by making sure there are no subluxations that are interfering with nerve transmissions to the immune system. Studies show that a healthy nervous system helps your immune system to function better and that chiropractic care plays an important part in maintaining a healthy immune system. This can help minimize the immune system’s need to compensate for the natural antigens in the environment.

Many have found relief from miserable allergy symptoms through chiropractic care. For some, an antihistamine may still be needed during the early phases of care while the spine is being restored to an optimal position. Other lifestyle changes in diet or supplements may be recommended to further strengthen your immune system.

Simple Tips to Provide Relief

  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning to filter out pollen’s and dust. Change the filters regularly. Keep your car windows closed. Use the air conditioner while driving.
  • Limit early morning outdoor activity. (Pollen is heaviest in the air between 5 and 10 am)
  • Replace a feather pillow with synthetic ones. Wash pillows and all bedding in hot water frequently to rid them of dust mites.
  • Do not mow laws or linger around freshly cut grass. (Mowing stirs up Pollen and mold) Likewise, do not rake leaves.
  • Do not hang clothes or sheets out to dry. (mold and pollen can collect on them also)
  • Do not grow too many indoor plants. (Wet dirt causes mold to grow)
  • Wipe the surfaces of humid areas with bleach to kill mold and other unsightly allergens. Use a mixture of one cup bleach to one gallon water.


The Heredity Myth

heredityStop Blaming your condition on your genes and start getting healthy. Being taught to blame your genes on heredity is being taught to take a “victim” mentality instead of being a victor.

Researchers from Sweden studied more than 44,000 pairs of identical twins from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.

They compared the rates of 11 different cancers. By calculating the incidence of the same cancer in both twins, the researchers were able to roughly estimate the role of genetic factors. Identical twins have identical genetic makeup. So, if you believe that your health condition comes from heredity, both twins should have an extremely high chance of having the exact same condition. Instead, what the researchers found was that if one of the pair developed cancer, the odds of the other twin developing the same cancer turned out to be less than 15%.

This means that, based on the results of the study, diet, lifestyle, and environment are 85% more important than heredity.
Source:Lichtenstein, P. et al., “Environmental and heritable factors in the causation of cancer”, New England Journal of Medicine, July 13th, 2000, vol. 343 no. 2

The most important thing you can do for your health is to keep the system that controls and coordinates “everything” healthy- The Nerve System. The brain and Nervous system is the master control system of the body. All nerves from this master control system come out of the spine. If the spine gets out of alignment (a subluxation), it dramatically affects the nervous system, having a devastating effect on the health of the entire body and a negative effect on the quality of life of the individual.

Chiropractors remove these subluxations, improving the health,m restoring function, enhancing maximum health potential and increasing the quality of life of every individual under chiropractic care-especially senior citizens.

Can Chiropractic Care Improve Your Body’s Ability to Self Heal?

central-nervous-system-1The human body is continuously striving to maintain health adequate for survival. More than 10,000 disturbances to our cells come from free radicals. Some of the most potent varieties include reactive oxygen species (ROS) which our cells must constantly defend against. Our bodies are equipped with the amazing capability to self-heal by preventing and repairing damage done to the body. One powerful strategy to enhance this ability for our bodies to self-heal is chiropractic care.

The complex network of activity that controls all functions within the body, including healing, is the central nervous system.
Consisting of the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system serves as a signaling pathway to communicate with 75 trillion cells for proper functioning. Part of our physiological makeup needed for the human body to function optimally is a sensory system called proprioception. Proprioception allows the brain to sense information based off of stimuli being inflicted on skin, joints, and muscle receptors.

Healing is affected by Physical Nerve Stress

When the spinal bones are improperly aligned this causes a physical form of nerve stress that adversely impacts the body’s healing potential. The stress hormone cortisol elevates when physical nerve stress creates a deficiency in proprioception. This disrupts brain signaling and therefore disturbs the body’s potential for healing. Read more at 

Daily trauma such as sports activities and common accidents at home or in the car are known as macro traumas. Less noticeable traumas including repetitive motions, improper sleep habits, and bad posture are referred to as micro traumas and also cause spine and nervous system damage. A modern day health epidemic receiving little attention.

6-Day Old Infant getting examined and Adjusted by Dr. Michalski

image-1Most Have Been Damaged Since Birth

Even before the average american baby is born, it is generally subjected to the severely damaging effects of toxic chemicals and drugs taken by its mother. Perhaps a relatively harmless dose for her, but a tragic overdose to an embryo weighing only a few ounces. These toxins cause the embryo to grow in a poisonous enviroment which interferes with its ability to develop normally and naturally.

If the human being makes it to the birth process, and many do not, it is then confronted with what is perhaps the easiest time for even more severe damage to occur.

babyAfter the head of the child appears, the physician grabs it and twists it around in a figure 8 motion, pulling it up to free the lower shoulder and forcing it down to free the upper shoulder. This causes great stress in the cervical spine, a stress forceful enough to severely damage delicate nerve tissues and tiny neck bones. More times than it should, this results in a still birth.

  • In America, more than 50,000 Babies are either stillborn, dead or dying at birth.
  • According to the World Health Organization, The United States has an infant mortality rate worse than 20 other developed countries.
  • More than a million fetal lives are terminated by abortion each year in the United States.
  • Between 10,000 and 25,000 die within the first year from so-called “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome”
  • Of the over 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year:
    • Over 150,000 are physically handicapped
    • Over 100,000 are mentally retarded

Fetal deaths associated with child birth are the 5th major cause of mortality in the United States, and for those infants who live, it is now estimated that one out of 16 has a recognizable mental or physical defect at birth.

Birth trauma, even when not apparent in the early years, has been demonstrated to cause abnormal function, aberrant behavior and premature death. In the vast majority of cases, these consequences do not appear in forty, fifty, or even sixty years. Over 75% are damaged in this way.

(Towbin Study 1968)