Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MDs Get Chiropractic Technology

I was watching TV last night and came across an infomercial for a new medical device, the DX9000. It seems that the device is designed to treat lumbar and cervical back pain, instead of surgery.

I just started laughing. Isn’t that what Chiropractors have been doing for years?

The even funnier part is that it’s not a device you can buy, as a regular man on the street. You have to be a doctor. The infomercial wasn’t to sell the device to doctors, though, it was to sell patients on the device, and let them know which doctors in their area used it.

Reason with me for a minute. For years, many MD’s and various medical organizations have given Chiropractic lots of heat. They make wild claims that (contrary to many scientific studies and tons of clinical evidence) that chiropractic manipulation (which sometimes includes heat and traction therapy in addition to manual spinal adjustment) doesn’t work, hurts people, and that the only way to treat back and neck pain is through drugs and surgery. They complain chiropractors as scam artists who just want to treat you over and over again, using multiple treatment sessions, in order to get more money.

But now that they have a machine they can capitalize on, the MD’s are okay with something other than drugs and surgery. From what I can see, the DX9000 is an advanced traction machine, designed to provide localized traction of the spine in order to take pressure of the discs, and allow them to realign themselves and heal. From what I can see it may even include an infra-red light source to provide localized heat during treatment. There are two versions of it: one for low back treatments, the other for cervical treatments. According to the infomercial, you need to come back to the doctor’s office (paying for another office visit) to get treatment five times the first week, three times the second week, an then one or two times the third week. It’s effective in 80% of cases. It’s also got a built in DVD player so the patient can watch his favorite movie, or receive instruction about the treatment, while he or she is being treated. Long term use was hinted at as being needed by the patients they interviewed.

What’s even funnier is that the infomercial claimed it was FDA approved. Since when did the FDA get involved with medical devices? Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought they were solely concerned with pharmaceuticals and food.

So here we have a machine that an MD can purchase, strap a patient on, bring that patient back for at least three weeks worth of treatments (nine or ten office visits), and charge up the nose for (gotta pay for the machine, after all), that mimics certain chiropractic techniques.

I have to admit, it is a great alternative to surgery. But tell me, how is this kind of spinal manipulation new? Chiropractors have done it for years and have been considered suspect by MDs and all kinds of media campaigns.

Oh yeah! MD’s can make a buck on it, it must be okay!

(John shakes his head and moves on.)


discovermalls said...

How right you are. Thanks for this post. I am planning on becoming a chiro myself and have seen the DX9000 too. Funny how people may trust that machine over a trained pro because an MD might be using it.

If you want to rate your chiropractor visit my site sometime and tell the world how they do. http://www.rateyourchiropractors.com

Anonymous said...

1. md's have used traction for years and regularly refer patients to pt's for this treatment
2. the fda doesn't regulate medical devices... what?

John Newman said...


You're behind rate your chiropractor? Cool. I've already left a rating for someone, there.

John Newman said...


It's true that MD's have used traction for years, but I've never seen it done in quite this way. I've also never seen it done by modern PTs. Mostly what I've seen these days is pain meds and exercise. The problem with the "exercises" the PTs are prescribing is ineffective. A recent study done in the Netherlands by the VU University Medical Center backs this up.

As for the FDA and medical devices, you got me there. I don't know what I was thinking when I posted that. Still, the "Food and Drug Administration seems like a poor group to judge such things to me. Someone has to do it, though, I guess.

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Dr. Brian Capra said...

This is great. I have seen decompression really help people.