Off Label Chiropractic

[originally published in KCN, November  2010]

Every day in the practice of medicine doctors prescribe their patients “off label” medications.  And while some might confuse the term “off label” with “generic,” it really is quite different.  In fact, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, as many as one-fifth of all drugs are prescribed off label.

Basically, what this means is that the doctor has found a use for the medication other than its “on label,” or intended, purpose.  Examples of this include antiseizure medications to treat migraines, antidepressants to treat certain types of pain, and antianxiety medications to treat nausea.  A classic example of off label drug use is that of Rogaine.  Many are unaware that Rogaine is actually a blood pressure medication — a blood pressure medication that doctors (and their patients) soon found had an interesting side effect:  hair growth in balding men.

As common as the practice of off label prescribing is in medicine, it’s my contention that something very similar is practiced in chiropractic.  And while “off label chiropractic” isn’t actually a term… it should be.

You see, mainstream chiropractic has fallen into a deadly, insidious snare in its attempts to be “liked” by insurance companies — a trap that has forced us to sell our birthright in exchange for third party reimbursement.  By medicalizing chiropractic and focusing on the effectiveness of spinal manipulation for musculoskeletal aches and pains, we have diverted our focus from the intended purpose of the chiropractic adjustment.

Listen to Dr. Lamar's Podcast on this subject!

Chiropractic is not about back pain.  It’s not about neck pain or headaches.  And it’s not about sickness and disease.  Those are all “off label” uses of chiropractic — and, truth be told, effective uses.  But chiropractic, in its true and pure form — in its intended form — is about health and wellness.  It’s a lifestyle.  By allowing the nervous system to function at its optimum potential, the body simply works better.  And when the body works better, amazing things happen:  symptoms go away and the body becomes energized.

The irony in “off label health care” is that insurance companies often balk at paying for medications prescribed for off label purposes and instead restrict their reimbursement to intended purposes only.  In chiropractic, however, the opposite is true.  Off label purposes are paid for, and the on label, intended purpose of chiropractic, is not.  In fact, there is not an insurance company on this planet that would ever align themselves with the intended purpose of chiropractic, because, insurance companies are not about health and wellness; they are about sickness and disease.  I think we as a society are all coming to realize that.

A wise chiropractor I recently met summed it up like this:  “When you are 97, do you want to be driving a wheelchair or a Ferrari?  My goal is to get you in the Ferrari.  And the way to that is by maintaining your health over a lifetime.  It’s a process — not trying to fix it every time it breaks down.”

You see, true chiropractic — unlike its allopathic counterpart — is not about avoiding death, it’s about encouraging life!

Ready to find those Ferrari keys and try some “on label” — on purpose — chiropractic?


Source used for this article:

Radley, et al.  Off-label prescribing among office-based physicians. Archives of Internal Medicine. 166 (9): 1021-1026. 2006.

Explore posts in the same categories: adjustment, chiropractic 101, healthy living, podcast, subluxation, whole body health

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