Evidence-based Chiropractor

CF 044: w/ Dr. Dale Thompson – Why I Like Being An Evidence-Based Chiropractor

CF 044: w/ Dr. Dale Thompson – Why I Like Being An Evidence-Based Chiropractor

Today we’re going to talk about being an evidence-based chiropractor. What does it mean to be practicing evidence-based chiropractic and we’re going to be talking about with Dr. Dale Thompson from Iowa. USA.

Dale Thompson - Evidence-based Chiropractor

Integrating Chiropractors

But first, here’s that bumper music you’ve come to know and love. 

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have mosied Old West style into Episode #44

Now that I have you here, I want to ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. It makes it easier to let you know when the newest episode goes live when someone new signs up it makes my heart leap a little, and in the end, it’s just polite and we’re polite in the South.  

We are really starting to pick some steam. Thank you to you all for tuning in. If you can share us with your network and give us some pretty sweet reviews on iTunes, I’ll be forever grateful.

By now, we all know how the interwebs work. You have to share and participate in a page if you are going to see the posts or if the page will be able to grow. 

My Week

How has your week been? Mine has been great. I attended my third DACO class and this one with the man, the myth, the legend, Dr. James Lehman. And he was excellent. Which isn’t surprising but sort of is and here’s why.

Being the head of the DACO program for the University of Bridgeport Connecticut, Jim was just there to audit the class which was originally to be taught by Dr. Miller who I’m not familiar with just yet. 

Well, we had a huge storm come through the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex that screwed everything up including my drive into town all the way from Amarillo. I literally got dumped on by gallons of water per second for about 4 hours to get there. 

Pure misery Y’all, and that’s not exaggerating. In fact, all of the rivers, lakes, and low lying streets were flooded. The word of the day for the newscasters on TV was the word “Swollen.” All of the bodies of water were quote, Swollen. 

Anyway, the storm made it impossible for Dr. Miller to get to Dallas but, good fortune was shining on the DACO program in Dallas and it’s participants. Dr. Lehman was there to audit his first class in over a year and he was able to simply step in and teach instead of Dr. Miller. 

So, I got some good solid learning from the man himself who, as luck would have it, has agreed to be a future guest on the Chiropractic Forward podcast so just hold onto your britches because we’re going to make it happen. 


We are honored to have you listening. Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall.

I want to start by introducing this week’s guest. You have likely heard me talk all about the Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance Facebook group as well as the Evidence-based Chiropractic Facebook.

I’m pretty fond of the two groups as well as our own Facebook group I’d invite you to called oddly enough the Chiropractic Forward Facebook group. We have a Chiro Forward page where we update everyone on new episodes but we also have the group where we post the research papers and discuss and connect outside of the podcast. 

Getting back to the first two groups I mentioned, Dr. Thompson is a very active member of those two groups….. 

There are a lot of other terms thrown around that mean nothing to others like TORS and medi-practors and all that fun stuff. But, I thought this would be a great time to just sit and talk about the differences. 


Welcome to the show Dr. Thompson. Thank you for joining us today. How’s the Iowa weather this fine Fall Thursday morning?

I already went through your introduction and am wondering, How do you make the leap from embalmer and the mortuary all the way to being an evidence-based chiropractor? Tell me about that. 

Dr. Thompson, can you tell me a bit about your practice? What does it look like?

Have you always been an evidence-based chiropractor?

What initially got you into the research side of things in the profession?

As an evidence-based chiropractor, you post so much research, I’m not sure how you have the opportunity to find it all and go through it all. How in the heck do you do it?

Dr. Thompson, back on September 16th, you posted something for the newer members of the group to read. Your post was called Practicing Chiropractic Wisely: Why I Like Being an Evidence-Based Chiropractor

I thought it would be interesting if we simply spent our time together going through your list together and explaining or expounding where appropriate if you’re OK with that. 

  1. I can go to a conference and know if the speaker is generally telling the truth or is trying to sell a lie. Tell us why this one made your list if you don’t mind.
  2. I know it’s better to say “I don’t know” than to make something up. Do you feel that the philosophical-minded chiros in the crowd tend to make up things on the spot? Or is this more a point that they explain everything with the term subluxation and start pounding down the high spots?
  3. I know the best chiropractic related books were written in the last 10 years… not 100 years ago. I’m guessing this one is aimed at the green books from Palmer as well as the books those spawned over the years?
  4. I can sit down with a layperson or an orthopedic surgeon and explain what I do…and they both get it. It’s possible to tell them what research says about our effectiveness and they’ll get it. For me, I dumb it down. This is imbalanced, weak, or doesn’t move very well. We are going to try to balance, strengthen, and move it. Pretty simple. Maybe too simple. How exactly do you approach it that works best for you?
  5. I can read a research paper and know if it’s good or bad and how it may apply to what I do. What criteria do you use to determine it’s worth? I’m guessing meta-analysis, systematic reviews, and randomized controlled trials are at the top of your list. Sample numbers? Journal impact? What all do you take into account? In this context, I’m assuming you are using it to insinuate that the more philosophical subluxations crowd points to research but you would argue it is not good research. Am I correct in that assumption?
  6. I can take the best evidence and apply it and yet also have the freedom to find novel ways to approach a problem. This reminds me of a previous guest we had on the podcast a few episodes ago. Dr. Brandon Steele. He was making the distinction between evidence-based chiropractor vs. evidence-informed. It sounds like you are describing evidence-informed here. Is that correct?
  7. I have several tools in my tool bag and they will not be exactly the same next year as they are not the same as last year. Can you expand on that for us, Dr. Thompson?
  8. I can take a seemly complex problem and find a simple solution as well as understand the complexity of an apparently simple problem. Explain your intent on this one and the purpose for your including it, please. 
  9. I am more comfortable having questions I can’t answer than having answers I will not let be questioned. Oh, man….if the others weren’t fuel for the subluxation crowd, this one certainly is. Discuss from an evidence-based chiropractor point of view.
  10. I understand my patients want their problems fixed in a cost-effective and within a reasonable time, that they don’t want long-term care. Wouldn’t you agree that you are a terrible chiropractor if you have to see someone 100 times in a year to get them well or keep them well? Evidence-based chiropractors don’t see their patients that often.
  11. I know my clinical strengths and limitations as well as the strengths and limitations of other healthcare professionals. Can you tell me some of the claims you have personally witnessed that leads you to this being on your list? 
  12. I can make a good living without sacrificing patient-centered care to achieve it. “I tell people that I could make a heck of a lot more money but I sleep very well at night. In addition, it’s a point of mine in my practice to never put my staff in a position that, should my ethics or way of practicing ever be called into question for some reason, I’d never want them to feel like they had to, or needed to lie for me.  That’s a bit of a guiding principle for me. As an evidence-based chiropractor, another principle I find myself following daily is that, if I’m giving my patients the same recommendations I would give my mother, brother, father, or sister, then we will always be going in the right direction. Tell me what being patient-centered means to you personally.
  13. I do not have to jump on board the latest health fad but I can, and may, scrutinize it using logic, reasoning and supporting evidence. Fill me in. Where does this one come from? 
  14. I can respect my colleagues desire to practice different than me but I still demand they do so in an evidence-based chiropractor and ethical manner. To play Devil’s Advocate, what if they’re told they ARE actually evidence-based chiropractor? What if they have papers they can point to? What if they have some gurus throwing together research to form a diagram and brain lamp to charge $800 a pop ala Dan Sullivan?  
  15. I can appreciate that sometimes positive and unpredictable changes can occur in other body systems while under my care but I won’t use that to try to lure people in to see me. Examples?
  16. My patients come first, my profession second and I am last. Now THAT is the true definition of a patient-centered practice and I think most would agree that every evidence-based chiropractor. should follow this mantra.  


Switching focus a little bit from evidence-based chiropractors vs. subluxation-based chiropractors, what is your opinion of or how do you deal with people like Stephen Barrett or Edzard Ernst or any of the knuckleheads over at that science-based website? 

It’s my hope that, by hearing from evidence-based chiropractor like you, me, the guys from the DACO program, etc…that they will understand. 

Understand that when sitting through those classes or seminars they’re made to sit through….those classes and talks that make them roll their eyes because they’re all about a philosophically based model….those classes. It’s my hope that they’ll understand they don’t have to practice that way and hopefully they understand there is another way to go about it. 

Also, some chiropractors get out of school not knowing what they believe since they’ve been inundated many times with all kinds of information. Some good and some bad. 

Just saying the words, “not knowing what they believe” sounds silly when we have the research out there in piles and piles. I have patients say, “I believe in Choirpracty” all of the time and I’m clear with each of them that we aren’t part of a church and that Chiropractic isn’t something one has to believe in. 

That goes for chiropractors and students as well.  

Dr. Thompson, I want to thank you for coming on the show today and running through it with us.

Integrating Chiropractors



It is an absolute certainty that, when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment instead of chemical treatments.

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability.

It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Being the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world would be pretty darn cool. 

We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 



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About the author:

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger