Episode #29

Is Chiropractic Integration Healthy For The Profession?

Today we have a very special guest and we’re going to be talking about chiropractic integration into a medical based case management or medical team. This one may irritate the holy heck out of the straight chiropractors that preach being separate and distinct but I think evidence-based practitioners will find some good stuff here. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

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

Before we get started, 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 and it’s just nice of you. 

Also, I’m alway offering myself up for speaking opportunities or to be a guest on YOUR podcast.  Just send me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and we will connect. I always appreciate hearing from my brothers and sisters out there in the profession. 

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. That’s a tall order but that is the goal and I’ve never shy-ed away from big goals. You shouldn’t either!

You have tip toed ninja style into Episode #29

But first, my week …..I have to say that we started off slow at the start of this Summer season but, now that everyone is settling into the heat, it’s starting to get busy busy and that’s nothing but good good. What are the most effective means you’ve found to get your message out to your communities? Email me and I may just share you suggestions in future episodes. 

This week, I want to welcome a friend of mine and a brother in arms in our battle for Chiropractic here in Texas to come and speak with me about chiropractic integration. He has been involved deeply on the state level leadership for years at this point and has held several posts including the biggest one. Yes, he is currently the big cheese, the head honcho, the el jefe of the Texas Chiropractic Association. Until June of 2019, he will sit as the President of the TCA and we’re honored to have him with us on the Chiropractic Forward Podcast today. 

– I want to welcome Dr. Devin Pettiet of Tomball, TX. Dr. Pettiet, thanks for being here and letting us pick your brain a little today. 

  • When I was coming up with this week’s topic, chiropractic integration, I really couldn’t think of anyone better than you to talk about chiropractic integration with. I know you pretty darn well but our listeners probably do not. Tell us a little bit about your practice. 
  • What originally got you involved in service to your profession? Was there a single incident or experience that flipped a switch in you?

I don’t want to speak for you but, for myself, I’m certainly on the evidence-based aspect of the chiropractic spectrum here. We would like for our thoughts and opinions to be separate from the TCA’s stance on different matters and we should state from the start that our thoughts and opinions are our own and not representative of the TCA. At the same time though, we are the kind of people that want to go to bat for everyone practicing as long as they are within the scope mandated by the State of Texas. 

Now, How do you feel we chiropractors can start making headways into the medical field as spine specialists and….keeping the straights in mind….is it healthy for our profession to seek those avenues for ourselves? Is chiropractic integration a good idea basically?

We know it’s not a lack of research validating our profession but, with your years in practice and with your years of service in the TCA, what things come to mind as the biggest obstacles to chiropractic care fully integrating into medical referral programs or treatment protocols?

Over the years, have you seen any changes in the opinions of chiropractors from those in the medical community or in the way you interact with them?

Let’s go over a couple of papers and you just play Troy Aikman to my Joe Buck and provide commentary wherever you see fit. 

This one is from February 2018 and is called, “Integration of Doctors of Chiropractic Into Private Sector Health Care Facilities in the United States: A Descriptive Survey.” It was written by S Salsbury, et. al. and I see Dr. Goertz listed as an author as well. She has really been a star for the chiropractic profession(Salsbury S 2018). 

Why They Did It

The purpose of this study was to describe the demographic, facility, and practice characteristics of doctors of chiropractic working in private sector health care settings in the United States.

How They Did It

  • The authors did an online, cross-sectional survey. 
  • They were looking for chiropractors already working in integrated health care facilities 
  • They collected demographic details, facility details, and the characteristics of the practice
  • Using descriptive statistics, they analyzed all of the data they collected. 
  • The response rate was 76% which is odd because my email open rate when I email for TCA stuff is like 10%….
  • Most respondents were male with the mean years of experience being 21 years. 

What They Found

  • Doctors of Chiropractic working in hospitals were 40%
  • Multispecialty offices = 21%
  • Ambulatory clinics = 16%
  • Other health care settings = 21%
  • 68% were employees and received a salary
  • Most DCs used the same health record as the medical staff and worked in teh same clinical setting. 
  • Over 60% reported co-management of patients with medical professionals. 
  • In many clinics, the DCs were exclusive providers of spinal manipulation (43%) but most of the clinics saw the DCs receiving and making referrals to the primary, the PT, or to pain and ortho docs. 

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded by saying, “Doctors of chiropractic are working in diverse medical settings within the private sector, in close proximity and collaboration with many provider types, suggesting a diverse role for chiropractors within conventional health care facilities.”

Here’s another by Paskowski et. al.(Paskowski I 2011) Called “A hospital-based standardized spine care pathway: report of multidisciplinary, evidence-based process.”

There were 518 patients and they developed a Spine Care Pathway protocol for their treatment. These patients underwent chiropractic care and physical therapy. 

What They Found

Those that went to a Doctor of Chiropractic treated for about 5.2 visits costing an average of $302.

The pain was 6.2 on intake and 1.9 on exit. 

95% that saw a chiropractic rated their care as excellent. 

Then there’s this one from the Ontario Ministry of Health-commissioned report called The Manga Report which was a comprehensive review of all of the published literature on low back pain(Manga P 1993). 

Some of the things this government-commissioned study had to say are just outstanding. 

  • There was an overwhelming amount of evidence showing the effectiveness of chiropractic in regards to the treatment of low back pain and complaint.
  • They found that it is more cost-effective than traditional medical treatment and management
  • Found that many of the traditional medical therapies used in low back pain are considered questionable invalidity and, although some are very safe, some can lead to other problems being suffered by the patient.
  • They showed that chiropractic is clearly more cost-effective and that there would be highly significant savings if more low back pain management were controlled by chiropractors rather than the medical physicians.
  • The study stated that chiropractic services should be fully insured.
  • The study stated that services should be fully integrated into the overall healthcare system due to the high cost of low back pain and the cost-effectiveness and physical effectiveness of chiropractic.
  • They also stated that a good case could be made for making chiropractors the entry point into the healthcare system for musculoskeletal complaints that presented to hospitals.

They concluded the paper by saying, “Chiropractic should be the treatment of choice for low back pain, even excluding traditional medical care altogether.”

There are a ton of reasons for chiropractic integration into medical protocols that, if we tried to cover them all, we’d be sitting here for a very long time. The point here is that, when you consider these studies, when you consider the low back series in The Lancet that we covered in episodes 16, 17, and 18, when you read the recommendations from the American College of Physicians for acute and chronic low back pain, and you see the recent article in JAMA from Dr. Goertz on Vets and low back pain that we covered in episode 

Dr. Pettiet, where do you see everything going on this??

How do we do our part to ensure chiropractic integration of our profession and move from the fringe toward the center?

Can we do that while still maintaining our identity as chiropractors?

Is the TCA doing anything that we can talk about publicly toward chiropractic integration?

This week, I want you to go forward understanding that you have been and are doing the best thing there is out there for headaches, neck pain, and back pain. There is no other profession with the juice behind them that we have. Be smart, be responsible, and we may just be able to not just have our foot in the door, but to actually knock it down and burst in like a superhero. 

I want you to know with 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.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience show that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic when compared to usual medical care. It’s safe, less expensive, decreases chances of surgery and disability. Chiropractors do it conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. And, if the patient has a “preventative” mindset going forward, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of 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.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world. 

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. 

CF 015: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 3 of 3)

CF 011: With Dr. Tyce Hergert: It’s Here. New Guides For Low Back Pain That Medical Doctors Are Ignoring

CF 020: Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?





Paskowski I, e. a. (2011). “A hospital-based standardized spine care pathway: report of multidisciplinary, evidence-based process.” J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 34(2): 98-106.

Salsbury S (2018). “Integration of Doctors of Chiropractic Into Private Sector Health Care Facilities in the United States: A Descriptive Survey.” J Manipulative Physiol Ther 41(2): 149-155.

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