T Nation

Doctor of Chiropractic?


Posting for more information/advice:

Recently, my wife and I met a "doctor." He was giving nutritional advice to a group of people. Some of this advice seemed more than a bit kooky to me, but what do I care? I wasn't listening to him.

Well it turns out my wife's friend was. She seems "smitten" by this doctor and very much is into what he is saying. She said things to my wife, who then speaks to me, and now I am trying to figure out what this guy is all about.

Long story-->short, my wife's friend's family has a high rate of breast cancer. They were discussing Angelia Jolie's double mastectomy. From what I understand (story told through my wife's friend, through my wife, to me), the "doctor" was claiming that it was an unnecessary procedure and that proper diet could have alleviated the risk of cancer.

This sounded like some serious BS to me...So I looked him up. I was surprised to learn that this doctor was not an MD, but a "Doctor of Chiropractic." This is apparently a real thing out of the Palmer College in Davenport, IA http://www.palmer.edu/DC/

So, I guess I'm just trying to figure out:

-What, exactly, is a Doctor of Chiropractic?

-Is a Doctor of Chiropractic qualified to give this sort of advice out? What is a D.C. qualified to do?

-I've always thought Chiropractors were "not real doctors"...was I wrong? Is he appropriately labeling himself as "Dr. Smith"?

-Met a "doctor" who is giving advice about breast cancer
-Turns out he is a "Doctor of Chiropractic"
-Question: should this guy be taken seriously?


G_L -

This is my take on DC's. I've had a long history of back and hip (SI) issues. I've been to many chiros over the years and have one in the family. For physically manipulating vertebrae, joints, etc, I have no doubt they have the best training (and D.O's) to alleviate pain, fix curvature issues, etc. If they have a sports background (CSCS, etc) or extended specialized training (ART, kineseotape, deep tissue, etc), like mine does, then they are invaluable for weight lifters and athletes.

Some may have extended training in nutrition etc.

Just like with religion, there is a continuum of how hardcore some are. I draw the line when chiros start telling me that adjustments can cure anything, or when they start wanting to manipulate energy (I had one chiro "throw" energy at me. I walked out.). Some DC's are just into the bone and tissue-- real hands on, and don't get too much into the other stuff (I like those).

You have to remember that there are MD's who think that pills cure everything, too (pills don't adjusts kinks in backs). MD's don't always know nutrition or everything either (read the TRT forums for some good MD incompetence stories). Shit, some "nutritionists" don't even get things right (IMO).

I shop doctors and DC's like I do cars. Before I found my current one, I "interviewed" 3 of them. Same with my family doctor and specialists.

Take everything with a grain of salt. Trust but verify..


You've never heard of a chiropractor? They are a branch of alternative "medicine" that believes that improper alignment, particularly of the spine, is the root cause of a whole host of health problems. Most of the business of a chiropractor comes from chronic joint pain (particularly back and neck pain) visit them regularly for "adjustments".

Not all chiropractors are bad. A lot of the brighter ones are wising up to just how ridiculous their original premise is and have begun to look for alternative routes to improve health. Many chiropractors have sort of tried to position themselves as holistic practitioners, turning to things like diet and nutrition advice. That link to that website you just posted suggests that same thing. At a good school the curriculum is still fairly rigorous. It is certainly not the same degree of rigor as medical school but it's definitely much harder than earning a bachelor's degree.

Chiropractors have always called themselves doctors, even though they are not MDs. It is no different from a phD and professors calling themselves "Dr ______". This is not illegal. Medical Doctors get to put "MD" after their names. Anyone that was not an MD calling themselves an MD and using that as a position of authority would be committing fraud.

I think what leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouths is when a person calls themselves "Dr" in an attempt to piggy back off of the respect and prestige associated with a medical degree, particularly when giving medical advice. It sounds like this is exactly what this chiropractor is doing. Again, this is not illegal, although it is certainly deceptive and I am certain the chiropractor knows he is trying to capitalize off of the credibility of the doctor that the common people give to MDs.

However, even if he was an MD, it would not give him credibility to make such a statement. No one is qualified to make that kind of statement. Not only do MDs have very little nutrition education as part of their curriculum, but we just don't know all the answers. As far as your particular question, only an complete moron or scam artist would make the claim 1 individual's cancer could be alleviated through proper nutrition. No one, not an MD, not anyone can say that.

There are genes and carcinogens and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the development of cancer, but on an individual level, no one knows what causes cancer on a specific case-by-case basis. Angelina Jolie has a gene that is strongly associated with the development of breast cancer. Can proper diet turn off this gene? Maybe, but we don't know. What exactly does proper diet consist of anyway? Is it a particular compound found in a particular food that deactivates this gene? Don't know. No one can make such a statement because no one knows.


Taking nutrition advice from a chiropractor, eh idk. But like the above poster said you have to interview them to understand their level of knowledge. For example I bet their are many out there who know more about nutrition than actual nutritionsits. As for the cancer thing, I have heard people saying that diet is a huge part of cancer in our society.

Someone close to me now is a vegetarian and doesn't eat processed foods because of their belief and research that shows meats and processed foods contribute to cancer. Theres a book called the China Study which talks about stuff like this. I'm not sure if I buy it, and I definately don't avoid meat myself as in my opinion dietary protein from animal products is quite crucial in building muscle and performing as an athlete.


The "china study" and the book associated with it use very questionable tactics and unfairly manipulate data to prove their point. Even if the science was 100% fine, the problem is that with studies like this, no group is ever cancer or disease free. A certain diet might lower the risk of cancer, maybe cutting rates by 2-3 fold, but it certainly doesn't eliminate the risk entirely. This chiropractor the OP is talking about says you can completely mitigate the need for a preemptive mastectomy through diet. Everyone is different so there is no justification for making such a dangerous extrapolation.


@Challer1, are you very familiar with the China study? I am not, only what this person I know has told me and I largely disagree with its radical approach. If you or anyone on here has information as to why the study isn't legit could you point me in that direction?


Even if he was a medical doctor, why would you be taking nutritional advice from him? I would only take nutritional advice from someone who demonstrates they keep up with current nutritional research.

I also think chiropractors are largely full of shit.


The general gist of it is that animal proteins and western diets cause cancer. There's plenty of criticism of the research used in the book. Google "china study debunked" or something like that and I'm sure you'll get plenty of results.

However, there are some valid points to the book, at least one valid point - there is definitely a link between diet and cancer. I suspect that many of the links between western diets and cancer are coincidentally rather than casual, while the author suggests the diet is causal.

What I mean by this is that most people who eat a western diet are overweight or obese. This is going to increase cancer risks significantly. Most people who eat a western diet do not get enough fiber and suffer from constipation. This is going to increase cancer risks as well. Most people who eat a western diet do not get enough exercise. While too much exercise may actually contribute to cancer as well, the complete lack of activity amongst many in western cultures may suppress the immune system, which in turn may increase cancer risk.

The "China Study" specifically wants to peg the blame for increased cancer risks in western cultures on high amounts of animal protein in the diet. They are more or less saying animal proteins cause cancer. In reality, I (and many others) suspect that it is just a coincidence that the western diet involves a lot of animal protein consumption, and the real problems with the diet are we just eat too many calories in general and do not enough fiber.


Thanks for the posts.

It's not I haven't heard of Chiropractors, it's that I had somewhat scoffed at them and never really looked into it. I guess I had thought of chiropractors as someone with the equivalent of a BS or maybe MS and that by using "Dr." they were being unethical. I honestly had not realized there was a D.C. that was the "reason" they use "Doctor."

I guess I was looking for information as to whether or not this form of respect should be given. In short, I was wondering if I was being too critical, if I was scoffing at something that had a lot of science behind it.

The "holistic" thing seems to be the niche this guy is using. Maybe I'll try to talk to him to see how serious he is...or if he'll "throw energy" at me.

edit: is it really the same as a PhD calling themselves "Doctors"? I had thought that the rigor of study was what accounted for the title... is a D.C. as rigorous as a Ph.D.?


You need a BS and you have to apply to chiropractor school. Chiropractors also have a bad rap not just for the whole "misaligned joints" thing but also because most chiropractors are "medical school rejects" - i.e. people who wanted to get into medical school but didn't have the grades or test scores.

Even if you wanted to stay away from mainstream medicine and be a holistic practitioner, becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine would give you more power and freedom to work with patients, so what real advantage is there to being a chiropractor other than schooling is easier to complete and easier to get into?


Unless is has changed recently, there has not been a single study that shows the effectiveness of Chiropractic (a study that wasn't sponsored/tied to that profession anyway).

They definitely should not be giving nutritional advice, unless they have some sort of training or degree in that. Now, if you want to go to a Chiropractor and get a back rub or your neck cracked and it feels good, go ahead. There is no harm in that. But just remember what they do, and what they do hasn't been proven to do anything.

Think about how your body works. Your spine cannot just get out of alignment, it's attached to all sorts of things. It flexes, bends and twists, but it doesn't move out of place.

And a chiropractor that gives cancer advice....run


LOL at "throw energy at me".

That sounds like my last Saturday night....


My exact words before I left were "Dude, you can't just go around throwing energy at people".



Dude, it's the allure of "ode d'permabulk" cologne you have on.

Next mandingo party you get the energy treatment.


Actually, high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) cervical manipulation (ie, having one's neck cracked) is associated with a small-but-nonzero risk of CVA secondary to vertebrobasilar artery dissection, carotid dissection, or mobilization of carotid plaque:



Well thanks for ruining my day...


Here's a lil tidbit of useless information - here in Kuwait, Chiropractors are illegal. They are classed as "alternative medicine", alongside voodoo and witchcraft.



They aren't illegal here, but you have many people who treat it like religion. I have had friends who are now chiros so while I do not consider them useful for much more "rehab" or accident recovery, I won't discount that some people may "need" what they have to offer...even if it is mostly emotional or mental.


I find Active Release Technique (ART) useful in breaking up scar tissue and working out nagging injuries.

But it's all in the practitioner. The guy I've gotten treatment from works on pro athletes during their offseasons and has competed and coached in bodybuilding (diet for competition coach).


I agree, some of the best pain relief I've had for my myriad back issues was from chiropractors in the UK and when I was in Qatar.
Mixed-sex massages are also illegal here; I've been offered a massage by some ugly chinese chicks, but I don't think they're qualified therapists...