Opinion: Chiropractic’s Future In Manitoba

Brian Barkley Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, MB. — Thousands of Manitobans go regularly to chiropractors for subsidized care but that may change soon as a media reports have attacked the profession with one sided reports. There is no doubt there are rare cases of damage done by chiropractic treatments and that some chiropractors are inexcusably anti immunization in their views but to use those cases as reasons to drop the province’s subsidy to chiropractic is ludicrous. To use that logic would mean no coverage for any medical care if things go wrong. Things do go wrong, sometimes terribly, in all kinds of medical care…alternative or non-alternative..

While I see cases of harm being used in recent reports I’ve seen no cases of good results from chiropractic. In situations such as these I sometimes rely on personal experience. I’ve been going to a chiropractor occasionally for most of my adult life. A couple of circumstances come to mind. There was a vacation road trip many years ago in the southern U.S. where I was hit, without warning, by severe back pain. My mother in law said she knew of a chiropractor who had a practice in a rural area of Arkansas. We drove there the next day and after one treatment I was fully back to normal and our vacation continued with no further pain for me. I was surprised because of the quick results but also because this chiropractor was operating in a backwoods area.

A more modern situation arose for me about 5 years ago when I suddenly developed back issues that made walking very difficult and also resulted in me falling down unexpectedly on a number of occasions. I could sit and drive and I could sit for eating or  watching TV but any walking was a challenge. I went to my regular chiropractor for a number of treatments with no change. I went to one more chiropractor and I also went to a physiotherapist for a number of sessions with no results. I saw my family doctor for a number of appointments and was advised surgery was my most likely option but was also advised it would be risky. I started the protocol and had X-Rays and a CAT scan to see more of what the problem was. At that time my daughter, who worked at a chiropractor’s office, recommended I try another chiropractor as she had seen some extraordinary results from her. I took her advice, saw the lady, and within two weeks my issues were resolved completely and have not recurred. I cancelled my imminent MRI test and said I didn’t need risky surgery. It’s interesting too that I have recommended this lady to other folks who enquired. A number of those have let me know they had positive outcomes to very serious situations as well.

I’ve continued seeing this chiropractor regularly. I know not all situations end as well or as quickly as mine. But the same can be said for non-alternative medicine. Not everything can be resolved. But I also learned persistence is vital. Chiropractic is an important part of Manitoba’s health care system. I hope it continues to be supported by Manitoba’s government.

—Brian Barkley, MyToba News

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  • Brian Thompson says:

    Chiropractor care is the same as going to see a Regular Doctor. If it wasn’t for a Chiropractor my father would have been in a wheel chair over a bad back. Great option against an operation. Coverage should stay the same as it is today.

  • Allie Mowbray says:

    I have been under a chiropractors care since I was 6 years old & I wouldn’t be walking today if it wasn’t for them. I am now 67.

  • Roger Leamington says:

    I depend on Chiropractic after collision with a drunk driver way back in 1981, my neck and back were literally out of place I was in agony, medical pills did nothing I couldn’t work, nothing, my Mother advised me to see at the time this alternate life saving treatment. Brian B it has been a lifetime challenge of flare ups that need treatment but some joints are just that badly damaged and after time they get spurs growing in them nothing I can do but seek a week or three worth of comfort from an adjustment. Yes I pay dearly $$$ but to remove these 12 visits for people who are easily treatable is an attack on Front Line services. The minimum cost paid to a Chiropractor I believe is 12 visits @ $12.10? Take that away and a kid at 13 with a Sports injury is going to be put on pills and told to go about there way. This is a very valuable service Premier Pallister, don’t cut Front Lines Services. (A Huge P.C. Member)

  • Colleen says:

    My question is whether chiropractic care is based on a base of scientific evidence. There are other health services (treatment for anxiety from a clinical psychologist in private practice) that are evidence-based (many studies demonstrate the benefit of cognitive behaviour therapy) but are not subsidized. Personally, I would much rather see the province subsidize evidence based mental health treatments by registered psychologists than subsidizing chiropractic care. In my mind, chiropractors are similar to naturopaths, but with a more limited scope of practice, and naturopathic treatment is not subsidized.

  • Mike Simone says:

    Is chiropractic “evidenced based”? That is a great question as the profession is made of 2 factions–evidenced based and subluxation based. The evidenced based faction comprises about 80% of the profession in the US and Canada. These doctors not only provide spinal manipulation but also may provide other treatments similar to physiotherapy. Subluxation based chiropractors often don’t perform an adequate examination and spinal manipulation is generally their only form of treatment. How do you find an evidence based chiropractor? Generally they belong to their national association (Canadian or American Chiropractic Association) where they are held to higher ethical standards. The subluxation based chiropractors mostly practice on the fringes–often focusing on money vs their patients’ health as a motivator. Check out the doctors’ websites–if they use the term “vertebral subluxation complex” that is a red flag. If when you see them they try to have you sign up for multiple visits with a “discount” for payment up front–that is a red flag. Most evidenced based chiropractors will treat 3-4 visits and reevaluate and if nothing has changed will recommend another type of treatment–possibly in their office or by referral to another doctor or physiotherapist.