Demand for Correction of Misleading and False Statements About Chiropractic in US Department of Labor Publications sign now

As concerned U.S. citizens, we formally protest the use of misleading and false statements contained in your summary for the Chiropractic profession in the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2002-2003. These errors appeared in both the print and on-line versions.

The summary contains misleading information about the validity and the future occupational prospects for the chiropractic profession. According to the current information in the Handbook, a potential chiropractic student who relies on that information would be poorly advised. Whoever provided the information for this handbook is either not honest, or is badly informed about the future of chiropractic practice in the United States.

In particular, the Handbook fails to mention the fact that chiropractors are not doing as well as in previous years. Their earnings are significantly decreased, and many of their own colleges have had serious financial, and accreditation problems. This is no secret. Why the Handbook avoided this is a shame. Despite the fact that the median salary for chiropractors has decreased by $20,000, based on past versions of the Handbook, your summary states that job prospects should be good.

"Employment of chiropractors is expected to increase faster than average, and job prospects should be good."

"Job prospects are expected to be good"

These statements are contradicted by facts such as: stagnating chiropractic utilization rates, growing numbers of chiropractors relative to those leaving the field, and the proliferation of managed care. All these factors contribute to decreasing job prospects and satisfaction for chiropractors.

In 1997, Michael Pedigo DC, a former president of the International Chiropractic Association and the ACA stated:

Are there too many DC's in today's market? The primary reason we hear more doctors expressing concerns that the colleges are graduating what they consider to be too many doctors is that most practices across the country are seeing fewer patients and being paid less per visit than just a few years ago. I hear figures like the average practice is down 30 to 40\% and income is down 40 to 50\%. Adding to that new doctors graduating with $80,000-$100,000 in student loans and inability to join some managed care groups until they have been in practice for three years, and you have an environment that is even more difficult for these new doctors to succeed. [Pedigo MD. Too many DCs, not enough, what to do? Dynamic Chiropractic 15(12):17, 1997]

One statement made in the Handbook hints at the economic difficulties due to the lack of acceptance of non-evidence based practices, and emphasizes that chiropractors must heavily market themselves because the demand for their services is not strong:

"Increasingly, chiropractors must educate communities about the benefits of chiropractic care in order to establish a successful practice."

The Handbook gives prospective students the false impression that chiropractic treatment is more accepted than it actually is. As a part of alternative medicine, chiropractic does not generally adhere to evidence based guidelines. In fact in many states, state laws prohibit chiropractors from utilizing the tests necessary to render a differential diagnosis. About 50\% of chiropractic institutions do not provide practical experience in their clinical internship. They may actually omit differential diagnosis and their curriculum may be inappropriately sequenced. Because of this, the following statement is misleading.

"Like other health practitioners, chiropractors follow a standard routine to secure the information needed for diagnosis and treatment."

While chiropractic is accepted as a limited treatment for acute musculoskeletal pain, the holistic claims advanced in your Handbook give the false impression that the scope of practice is more legitimate and wider than it actually is. In many states chiropractic practice is strictly limited to the supposed correction of vertebral misalignments with severe restrictions on treating anything other than musculoskeletal conditions. Very often this holistic claim is used to promote quackery by falsely stating that nonmusculoskeletal conditions may be caused by underlying subluxations. This statement has been refuted by scientific research. Likewise, the fact that most chiropractic treatment ignores the advances made in traditional medicine is ignored in your summary. The truth is that chiropractic as taught in most schools and as practiced by most chiropractors is without any scientific foundation. Because of this, the following statement is misleading because it makes these disputed practices seem to be legitimate and accepted by the public.

"Chiropractic care of back, neck, extremities, and other joint damage has become more accepted as a result of recent research and changing attitudes."

In 2002 your organization promised to investigate the discrepancies in earlier editions of the Handbook, but nothing happened. What were the results of your investigation? Again we ask that the Handbook make immediate corrections to the current online publication, and that a public notice of these corrections be clearly posted on your web site. We demand that suitable precautions be taken to ensure the validity, accuracy and objectivity of all information provided by trade related groups and the discontinuation of data collection from inaccurate or misleading sources.

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Javier MorseBy:
International PolicyIn:
Petition target:
U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics


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