There have been many myths circulating about various aspects of chiropractic care but all of them can be proven false with an understanding of how chiropractic care works, who it can help and how affordable it is.
Could you dispel the myth that chiropractic care is unsafe and dangerous?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Wow. That is so important, because I think 90% of the people, when they hear about chiropractic, and they’re hearing it from usually a lay person, some people get a lot of different ideas. And the biggest thing about dispelling the myth about chiropractic safety or it being dangerous is really very simple. I always quote and talk about malpractice insurance rates. Malpractice insurance rates are set and based on how dangerous the service you perform is, and malpractice rates for chiropractors are very low. I pay $2,300 a year to insure my practice. It costs just a little more to insure my car than it does to ensure my practice. Now, those rates would not be so low if chiropractors were hurting people. As a matter of fact, if chiropractors were hurting people, it would probably be on the front page of the New York Times, and the medical profession and everyone else would try and shut us down and it would be a big deal.
But it never happens like that. Chiropractors do not hurt people. I always hear these stories, it’s like, “My mother’s brother’s cousin’s sister’s aunt was paralyzed by a chiropractor.” But that never happens like that. Chiropractic is extremely safe, it’s not dangerous at all. And why would our malpractice rates be so low? When you look at a medical doctor, their malpractice is tens of thousands of dollars and a surgeon can be close to 100. OB-GYNs pay close to $100,000. What they do, there’s a lot more risk because they’re cutting people open, there’s higher risk of infection, there’s a lot more that can go wrong.
Chiropractic is gentle, safe, and effective. And really, I hang my hat on the fact that my malpractice insurance is very low, and there’s no way these insurance companies would allow us to pay a very low rate if what we did was risky. It’s just that simple. And you never hear these stories, chiropractors are not paralyzing people, they’re not hurting people. It just doesn’t happen. What we do is simple, gentle, effective. It even works on infants and children, and it’s 100% safe.
People think chiropractors only treat back pain. What are some other conditions chiropractors treat?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: You know, we’ve spoken about this a few times on some different blogs. And in chiropractic we really like to get away from the term treatment. And let’s move away from that for a little while. Chiropractors really do one thing that’s very simple. We detect and correct the vertebral subluxation. Now, the vertebral subluxation usually results from stress, and different types of stress. There’s physical stress, chemical stress, emotional stress and then we have tension, poor posture, accidents, falls, and all these things contribute to deteriorating the spine. They create misalignments and then the bones don’t move smoothly, and then they rub on each other, and then we start to see degenerative changes like arthritis. When the bones are out of alignment, they irritate the nerves, which then creates communication problems in the body. So, it’s really not just about treating specific conditions. It’s about optimizing the function of your nerve system, making sure your spine stays healthy for your entire life.
Because, when you look at the dental model, you brush your teeth whether they hurt or not. You go to the dentist a couple of times a year whether your teeth hurt or not. No one ever wakes up on the morning of a dental appointment and says, “Hey, I’m going to cancel it because my teeth don’t hurt.” You go because if you take care of your teeth a little bit at a time, they’re going to last you a lifetime. And since the spine is made of the same stuff and deteriorates in a similar fashion, if it’s not cared for it will degenerate and deteriorate.
So, it’s not really just about treatment. It’s truly about maintaining a healthy spine, making sure your spine lasts for a lifetime, and that it does its primary functions, which affords us mobility, protects your central nervous system, and really holds you upright. It’s this beautifully designed spine with these three curves that’s designed to balance and afford us that mobility and flexibility. So, it’s just about maintaining the health of your spine and your nerve system. And that nerve system is paramount to your health, because the better your nerve system works, the better you work. And you’ve heard me say that 100 times.
There is a myth that chiropractic is only for adults. We know this is not true for your practice, but what should people know about the importance of chiropractic for all ages?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: You know, the principles of chiropractic are simple and they apply to the newborn and to the 90-year-old. It doesn’t really matter. We all have a spine and nerve system, and our spine and nerve systems do specific functions, like I said before. The function of your spine is to hold you upright, afford you mobility, and protect that central nervous system. Because if that nervous system is irritated by a misaligned spine, that’s when the body runs into trouble. And it irritates the functions and it has more difficulty running and regulating the body. And when we think about all our nerve system does to run and regulate our body, we don’t even think about it. It’s all controlled innately or by this inherent wisdom or the inherent recuperative power of the body. So, it controls and coordinates all of your body’s healing through that nerve system.
A child has a nerve system that runs every stage of growth and development. If a child falls, the healing process is exactly the same as in an adult. The nerve system determines where the problem is, send all the cells and tissues that do the tissue repair and everything that it needs. And the healing and running and regulating is all coordinated through that nerve system. So, it doesn’t matter how old you are, the process is the same. Having a healthy spine and a healthy nerve system is important. Kids fall even more than adults. They’re more active in sports. So, their spine gets out of alignment just as well as an adult’s would.
Making sure that everyone gets checked for those vertebral subluxations and keeping pressure off the nerve is paramount in the chiropractor’s mind. And it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can benefit from chiropractic care and benefit from having a healthy nerve system basically, as we joke around, from the womb to the tomb. So, it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s not just for adults, it’s for children, the elderly, it doesn’t matter. Anyone who has a nerve system is going to benefit from that running and working better. It’s just that simple.
Another myth is that other doctors do not trust chiropractors. Could you talk a little bit about the support and referrals that you as a chiropractor have received from other doctors and medical professionals?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. With our practice, and we have a little bit more of a focus on pediatric, maternity and family care, so we work a lot with midwives and doulas and even some OB/GYNs, because that’s the focus of our practice. But we get referrals from medical doctors all the time, and we always respond with a thank-you note and we send them an initial report of everything that we saw and what our plan of care is. And they appreciate that and often will keep referring to our office, because when they get the result, they’re pretty happy.
Over the past 30 years in practice we’ve built a lot of trust and relationships with many medical professionals. But this wasn’t always the case. There is a history that goes pretty far back with medical doctors not really loving chiropractors. And a lot of people don’t know that the chiropractic profession won an antitrust lawsuit against the AMA, the American Medical Association, for instructing their doctors not to refer to chiropractors. And we uncovered this whole pretty elaborate plot that was attempting to defame and disparage people from going to chiropractors. And for that reason, the AMA really got sanctioned and they had to issue this big apology and whatnot, but no one really saw it. But really what it stems from is competition, right? Because chiropractors always talk about, try the natural thing first, no drugs, no surgery. But the AMA is primarily funded by big pharma, and big pharma doesn’t want people going around and saying, “Hey, don’t use drugs, don’t do this.” It it’s really important because we are not in favor of trying drugs first, and the medical profession created this whole opioid crisis by doling out all these medications and drugs.
But really it was just economics. They were concerned that chiropractors were having success on what I call the medical rejects, the people who went to every medical doctor and couldn’t get help. All of a sudden, they show up at a chiropractor and they get some help and they’re telling their doctors, and they just didn’t like it. And so, there was always that kind of negative connotation thrown at the chiropractors, that they were quacks or they were charlatans and they weren’t scientific. So that’s been coming down a long time, but most of the newer doctors, once they really learn and understand what we do, have a lot more cooperation and respect for the chiropractic profession now than they did before. There are still some holdouts that say things. But what I’ve really found, and honestly most of the people who talk negatively about chiropractic have never been and never even experienced it. And they don’t have a right to, because if you came to a chiropractor and had a bad experience, I’m fine with that. You can say chiropractic isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. But if you’ve never been or never experienced it, you really shouldn’t be talking about things you don’t know about.
In general, the relationships are much less strained now, and I have great relationships with orthopedists and we refer back and forth. But it’s important to have those relationships because you can get your people taken care of when they’re out of your scope. So I’m really glad that things have changed over the years and that we have great relationships with physical therapists, medical doctors, orthopedists, and neurologists that we can always get help from when we think something’s out of the scope of our practice, or some cases actually do need surgery. So, we make sure they get to the right places.
A big myth is that chiropractic is too expensive. How would you respond to people who don’t even consider chiropractic for fear of the cost?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Again, I think that their education is missing somewhere in a gap, because it’s really not true. Chiropractic is covered by insurance. And by most plans in New York state where I practice, if it’s a group plan, by law chiropractic has to be included at some level. There might be limits to how many visits you have or the copays might be in the $40 to $50 range. But in reality, the fee for my adjustment in my office is $59 and the initial examination is anywhere from $100 to $150. And that’s pretty reasonable, and we’re in midtown Manhattan, one of the most expensive areas in the world. So, the fact that people think chiropractic is too expensive, I think that’s unreasonable. if you’re paying out of your own pocket $59 to improve your health, it doesn’t seem like a lot to me.
But it’s really about the perceived value in the service. I know some moms, when they bring in their kids, if I told them it was $1,000, they would do anything for their kids. So, it’s really about the perceived value and what you know about it. But if you just sit there and say, “Oh, it’s too much money,” when someone comes to me and I outline a plan for them and they say, “Oh, that’s too expensive,” I always answer, “Compared to what?” Because that’s what I want to know. It’s expensive to compare it to what? Expensive to having surgery? Surgery costs like $20,000 just for the surgeon alone, and then all the hospital bills and all those other things could be much more expensive. Trying a natural method first, before you go into the more expensive and more invasive procedures, it just makes sense to try chiropractic first. It’s not really expensive, and it’s just really about where you put your value and where you want to spend your money.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call (212) 977-7094 to schedule an appointment.
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