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Top 5 Chiropractic Scam Techniques

Top 5 Chiropractic Scam TechniquesBy Alex Earl, DC DACRB DNSP

This week on the Health Restoration Blog, we are discussing a very important topic. How not to get screwed over by a chiropractor using outdated chiropractic scam techniques. It’s been long overdue and well warranted to provide an essential bit of warning against my own profession’s business tactics. 

(If you missed last week’s article on An Expert Rehab Chiropractor’s Response to Andrew Huberman’s Back Pain Podcast, you can see it here.)

Have you ever wondered if a chiropractor is scamming you? Or have you heard of a friend who got scammed by a chiropractor in your area? If so, today’s article is perfect for you.

Our aim to to help warn the public about these chiropractic scam techniques and methods!

Special shout out to my friend and colleague, Dr. Jace Peters, DC, who also has a similar article on his website sounding the alarm on these chiropractic scam techniques!

Before I go any further, though, I’d like to say that the overwhelming majority of chiropractors do practice ethical billing, ethical sales and treat their patients with the utmost respect and dignity. It should come as no surprise to the public that chiropractors are not absolved from unethical behaviors in their businesses. 

What are Some Chiropractic Scam Techniques?

Chiropractic Scam Techniques #1: Fear-Based Communication

The biggest concern I have for you, if you are dealing with spine related pain, is how the pathway to recovery is communicated to you. Does the chiropractor require X Rays in order to “see the damage”? Does the chiropractor need to see your alignment so he/she knows where to adjust you? 

These are tactics used to get you to see your spine because they cannot convince based on what they say, but based on what you see

When you see your X Ray, usually side-by-side to a “normal spine curvature” you automatically are lead to believe that your spine is out of place, alignment and needs to be corrected. 

This is categorically false. Most spine pain is not pathological (severe or possibly debilitating), but rather normal and responds well to a combination of treatments. However, thats not communicated to patients suffering in pain. What gets communicated is the fear about how bad the current state of the spine and what the chiropractor plans to do in order to “fix it”. 

As a result, when the pain does go away, the chiropractic believes he has had successful treatment. But what happens when the pain returns? Well, more adjustments is what you need! If it worked last time, it will work again, right? 

Except thats not how spine rehab and recovery works. The spine must be challenged with activity, in addition to intentional management of external and internal stressors. These stressors include sleep, stress management, exercise, nutrition, emotions, fears and beliefs about patient’s individual recovery. 

That why at our sports rehab office in Carol Stream, Illinois, we pride ourselves on our positive communication and our default aggressive treatment stances. We don’t guilt anyone for their pain and we certainly don’t use any fear-based communication techniques to get them trapped in lengthy treatment plans based purely on fear of letting us down. 

Chiropractic Scam Techniques #2: No history or Examination Prior to Treatment

This shouldn’t even need to be addressed, but here it goes: Do not go see a chiropractor who doesn’t take the time to assess and evaluate your current painful state. 

This also includes offices that perform “exams” that last 3-5 minutes. I once covered for a doctor at his high-volume office and I had 6 patients waiting on me and a new patient in the exam room. When my exam had just started, the staff knocked on the door and informed me that I was taking too long.

I couldn’t believe it, so I made the staff and the other patients wait for me to finish the exam. When it was over, I now had 12 patients waiting on me. It was very unusual for me but it was very usual for them. I realized that their version of an “exam” was a 2-3 minute conversation with the doctor. That’s it.

What was also eye-opening for me, was that the office admin was the one running the office. It was her schedule that she kept too and if I took too long with a patient, she was upset because it threw “her schedule behind” for the rest of the day.

Since when do admin and front desk staff dictate medical care?

Chiropractic Scam Techniques #3: The Classic “Bait and Switch” 

Those $29 New Patient Special Offers are dead. I believe they have reached market fatigue. You know those billboards, mailings and digital ads that all taut the “New Patient Special – Exam, X Rays and Your First Adjustment for Just $29!

Except, it’s not $29. In my experience, the offices that use these marketing approaches are the ones that actually charge the highest fees for the least amount of time with the provider. In many cases, the patient is placed on decompression tables, roller tables, or massage tables with electric stim for 15-20 minutes. The time spent with the actual doctor is less than 3 minutes.  

These offices want to charge $29 to get you in the door, then sell you a big package of care for thousands of dollars up front.

They proclaim to be affordable, only to show you how “bad” your X Rays were and how long it will take to fix the problem with a small payment of $3,000 (to be paid today, by the way). 

Chiropractic Scam Techniques #4: All of Your Problems Stem From the Joint

I once heard a chiropractor tell a patient, “Do you feel that? Is that tender? That’s the joint. That’s inflammation in the joint. When the joint is tender, it’s inflamed.  As long as that joint is tender, you’ll need to get adjusted.” 

What was interesting is that he was palpating (touching) a patient’s spine in an area of the body that nearly everyone has tenderness – the low back. 

I was floored that he could see inside the patient’s body based on his superior palpation skills to see what the current state of the spinal joint looked like. 

In fact, I realized that the treatment room was often the perfect place for these chiropractor scam techniques to be implemented.

Chiropractic Scam Techniques #5: You Need Maintenance like a Car

I cannot say this nearly enough – Our bodies are not like a car! We are not made of the same substance and we do not respond or adapt to the same stressors. 

Machines are created and fulfill linear problems. Human beings are non-linear. 

As such, we do not respond in the same way to stimuli or stressors like machines! We possess far greater resiliency and adaptability than cars. 

So the whole notion that we need to get “tuned up” like a car is a false narrative that needs to retire. Cars need regular maintenance directly based on the demands of your driving needs. But humans do not. 

Humans actually need a whole host of factors addressed in order to improve our spinal health, optimize our movement and increase our longevity. 

We need to address areas of our life such as sleep, stress management, mobility, strength, endurance and minimize negative lifestyle factors that affect all cause mortality – such as smoking and drinking.

We are not the same thing so we need to stop treating people with the same methods we would cars. 

I would highly recommend you leave your current chiropractor, if they are using this chiropractor scam technique immediately.

So there you have it, the Top 5 Chiropractic Scam Techniques to look out for at the chiropractor’s office.

Do this next!

  1. Share this Article with a Friend or Family member who recently went to a chiropractor and is afraid they have been exposed to one of these chiropractic scam techniques! They need to read this!
  2. Text “DISCOVERY” to our office at (630) 765-0575. We will get you lined up for a complimentary call with one of our expert chiropractic providers to discuss your specific situation. This includes “Second Opinion” calls to establish what all of your options are for your pain, discomfort and/or stiffness.
  3. Keep an eye out for next week’s article!

Interested in becoming a patient at our office? Simply CLICK HERE at this link and pick a time that works for you. We promise not to throw one of these chiropractic scam techniques at you.

Alex Earl

Alex Earl

Alex Earl, DC - Chiropractic Physician - Dr. Earl helps people of all ages remain active, strong and able to participate in the activities they love. Aside from Active Health & Restoration, Alex is a clinical instructor for Midwest Rehabilitation Institute, along with a few other professional educational organizations across the country. He is a Diplomate in Clinical Rehabilitation through the American Chiropractic Board of Rehabilitation (ACRB). Dr. Earl earned his Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from National University of Health Sciences in 2015. He is currently a resident in West Chicago, IL with his beautiful wife, and four (perfect) children. In his spare time, Alex coaches high school soccer.
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