Why Don’t Medical Doctors Refer to Chiropractors?

November 29, 2022


Most people who suffer from acute or chronic back pain will go to a medical doctor for help.  Yet despite their best efforts, medical doctors fail to help most back pain, sufferers. M.D.s utilize medications as their primary means to help people. Research has shown drugs to be the most effective for acute, self-limiting musculoskeletal pain, not for chronic, ongoing problems.  According to current scientific research, the most effective therapy for chronic back & neck pain is chiropractic adjustments combined with exercise rehabilitation.  Despite all of this, most M.D.s still don’t refer their patients to chiropractors.

Why Don’t M.D.s Refer To Chiropractors?

So why is it that most M.D.s don’t refer their back pain patients to chiropractors?  If they truly care about the best interests of their patients, they would (or should).  Historically, the primary reasons why M.D.s would refuse to refer out to a chiropractor were:

  1. They were forbidden by the American Medical Association (the largest and most powerful political organization which represents the majority of medical doctors).   The AMA exerts vast influence over insurance regulations and reimbursement schedules.
  2. They were taught not to during their medical school training and during their residency.  The basis for this is rooted in ignorance and professional bigotry.
  3. Powerful political and lobbying efforts on the part of pharmaceutical companies tainted their opinions of alternative medicine approaches.

Education of Chiropractors vs. MDs

Historical Background

The chiropractic community has failed to sufficiently educate their medical colleagues about the features and benefits of chiropractic care.   It can be a daunting challenge to meet and educate an M.D. on his turf and attempt to change the way they think about something.  (I personally have done this, and sometimes it feels like talking to a brick wall).

M.D.s can no longer hide behind the excuse that chiropractic isn’t scientific or that it’s not evidence-based enough.  There is an abundance of published research proving that chiropractic works, that it’s safe, and that it’s more cost-effective than drugs or surgery.   M.D.s need to abandon their prejudices and professional bigotry against chiropractic and start accepting and embracing it for the sake of their patient’s health.   Regular referrals to chiropractors should be taught to medical students and practiced from residency through the duration of an M.D.’s career.

The Public Needs To Get Informed

The public needs to get informed about chiropractic.  People need to actively approach their primary care physicians and educate them about their own experiences with chiropractic.  They need to emphasize the value of a drug-free approach to living a pain-free lifestyle.  And if the M.D. still stubbornly refuses to refer to a chiropractor, the patient needs to fire the M.D. and find somebody else who cares more about the well-being of the patient than stubbornly clinging to their own bias.

It’s Time For a Change

The time is now for M.D.s to accept chiropractic care as an acceptable first-line approach to helping people overcome chronic musculoskeletal pain.  There is a time and place for all healing approaches.  For chronic back pain, chiropractic care has the best track record for success.