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Why Logan College of Chiropractic is a GREAT School

I had a patient come in for an evaluation.  She was dissatisfied with her current chiropractor, who persuaded her to pay close to $3000 up front for 80 visits, “a year’s worth” of treatment in his office.  (That will be discussed in a whole new blog — entitled “Why most people think Chiropractors are Quacks”)  As I was examining her, she asked where I went to Chiropractic College, and I replied “Logan, in St. Louis.”  She then told me that the other doctor told her that he went to Logan, but it’s a terrible school because it’s “too medical.”

Let me explain this for those of you who aren’t intimately familiar with chiropractic.  Some chiropractic colleges teach mostly “chiropractic philosophy,” and teach as little as possible about the human body, disease, and such.  They don’t like research because that is too much like the “medical model” of health care.  They don’t want to know how to do a full physical exam on a patient, because they don’t diagnose “medical problems,”  they only diagnose “vertebral subluxations.”  They don’t “treat back pain,” they only adjust the spine, and so on.

Well, the truth is this.  Most people who go to a chiropractor have some kind of back pain.  And guess what . . . there are MANY different causes of back pain, not just vertebral subluxations.

This week, a patient that I hadn’t seen in awhile came in with a new complaint.  She had severe pain in her neck and right arm.  I examined her.  When I examine a patient, I do neurological, orthopedic, and chiropractic testing.  With this patient, I didn’t even get to the chiropractic component of the exam because my neurological tests told me that this patient was dealing with something that I do not treat in my office, and that’s metastatic lung cancer.  She had no reflexes in the right upper limb.  Skin sensation was decreased in some parts of the limb, and increased in other parts.  The slightest pressure placed on the lower neck was very painful.  She was holding her right arm against her chest with her left arm because it was very weak.  Her health history revealed a 40+ year history of smoking at least a pack per day.

Almost immediately, I could hear Dr. Kettner, Dr. Geubert, Dr. Kuhn, Dr. Bub, Dr. Huber, Dr. Mannello, and others . . . their voices are permanently lodged in my head, reminding me of things to look for, what certain symptoms and signs might point to, other tests that may be applicable in helping to DIAGNOSE THE LESION!!  This time I remembered Dr. Kettner and Dr. Geubert talking ad nauseum about Pancoast Syndrome, which is related to a metastatic tumor in the upper part of a lung.  That was my diagnosis, and I sent her to the ER for immediate CT scans and bone scan.  Sure enough, that was the correct diagnosis, (unfortunately, in this case).  In fact, the ER doctor called me — she was impressed that I could diagnose that without ANY imaging, just history and physical exam.  The patient called me from her hospital room a day later and thanked me for catching the tumor and sending her to the ER, because it gives her a chance to “get things in order”  (unfortunately, the cancer had spread throughout her body, and she will probably not be with us for much longer).

So, Logan is a GREAT school.  They teach you all of the things you NEED TO KNOW so that your diagnostic skills will be on par with (and sometimes better than) the practitioners in main-stream medicine.  Chiropractic philosophy is important too, but a DOCTOR of chiropractic has the responsibility of knowing when the problem is NOT just another vertebral subluxation.

By on October 17th, 2009 | Tagged with: | 3 Comments