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Interview with Dr. Glenn Drewry

Our Doctor of Chiropractic sheds light on how chiropractors are different than conventional healthcare practitioners.

What is the difference between chiropractors and medical doctors (G.P. or huisarts)?

What is the difference between chiropractic and physical therapy (frysiotherapie)?

Why are there so many different kinds of chiropractors and why do they do so many different things?

Why do some Medical Doctors refer to Doctors of Chiropractic and some do not?

Why are there so many fake news stories on the Internet about chiropractors?

Tell me about Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis and why he’s an important historical figure.

Why is it important to only allow a Doctor of Chiropractic to perform spinal adjustments?

When you are visiting a different country or city and want to find a Doctor of Chiropractic to adjust you, how do you decide where to go?

How do I know if a chiropractor is a real Doctor of Chiropractic?

What is the difference among chiropractic practitioners with a bachelor’s, master’s or a doctorate?

What counties are you credentialed to practice?

As an American practicing in the Netherlands did you have to go through any process?

Do Doctors of Chiropractic have title protection in the Netherlands?

What is the difference between chiropractors and medical doctors (G.P. or huisarts)?

Although there is some overlap between the two professions, medical doctors (G.P. or huisarts) mainly prescribe drugs and refer for surgery. They work more with the chemical energy in the body to try and correct some imbalance. Conversely, chiropractors work more with the electric energy, which is the energy running through your brain and your spinal cord throughout your peripheral nerves.

It is important to understand that Doctors of Chiropractic not only undergo the same type of training as Medical Doctors (G.P. or huisarts), but they have additional training in how to work with the electric energy in your body. The other main difference between chiropractors and huisarts is that chiropractors do hands-on type therapies whereas huisarts give medicine and advice but rarely ever any hands-on care.

What is the difference between chiropractic and physical therapy (frysiotherapie)?

In this country, physical therapists are technicians who usually specialize in one thing or another (e.g. soft tissue). Other physical therapists are trained to do dry needling, which is inserting needles into trigger points. Some physical therapists in the country do exercises, much like a personal trainer. Huisarts are not trained to diagnose musculoskeletal problems. They normally send you undiagnosed to a therapist without knowing what is wrong or what the therapist will do. When a huisarts says go to a physical therapist, they have no idea whether you will end up with someone who does this or that.

There are a lot of great physical therapists in Amsterdam. I work with some of them and will refer patients to them for supportive work, because many times what they do complements what I do.

Why are there so many different kinds of chiropractors and why do they do so many different things?

I was fortunate to attend one of the better chiropractic colleges — Parker College of Chiropractic. There, they taught seven major techniques. Yet there are over 200 different Chiropractic techniques. I was required to learn all seven very well and to test out on all of them. It’s important to remember that all of the techniques essentially do the same thing: bring a patient’s energy back into alignment. There are a lot of different ways to achieve that. That’s why when you go to different chiropractors some use low force and others use high force.
Different types of tables and instruments are also used. Chiropractors usually learn the techniques that they resonate with. If you seem to pick up a certain technique really well and are good at it, then you keep using that one more and more. For example, a chiropractor could be an expert at Applied Kinesiology, Diversified or Activator Methods®. All techniques have the same goal —to bring the nerve system back into balance by removing the interference that is causing problems.

Why do some Medical Doctors refer to Doctors of Chiropractic and some do not?

This is not a simple answer.

First of all, patients in the Netherlands DO NOT need a referral from anyone to see a Doctor of Chiropractic.
Here in the Netherlands, the way the medical system works is almost everyone goes to their huisarts first for every health concern. It’s the traditional way the system works. If, for example, your back or shoulder hurts or if you have some pain in your body the huisarts will usually refer you to a physical therapist. Physical therapy is recommended more often by a huisarts is because this service is direct billed to insurance. If patients go to a chiropractor, they have to pay for the care and get reimbursed by their insurance company. So it’s viewed as easier to go to a physical therapist.

Technically, Dutch medical doctors (G.P. or huisarts) are not allowed to refer to Doctors of Chiropractic because we are outside the traditional medical system of drugs and surgery. They could be potentially be sued if a patient were harmed by a chiropractor.

Nevertheless, several of the medical doctors (G.P. or huisarts) in the neighborhood of De Pijp still do refer patients to my practice. They know enough, and care about their patients enough to refer to the best person possible.

In addition, several of the local medical doctors are patients of mine themselves, and send their families and friends to me.

More reasons are fake news, and groupthink. (see below)

Why are there so many fake news stories on the Internet about chiropractors?

Several reasons.

One is Quackwatch, a fake news organization. (see the section below about Title Protection)

Another reason: The medical profession in the United States has been trying to discredit chiropractors for a long time, since the 1940 and 50s when the American Medical Association (AMA) was putting out bogus news stories on chiropractors. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that they were doing exactly that in a landmark Supreme Court case with appeals that dragged on for almost 15 years during the 1970s and 1980s.

In Wilk vs. the American Medical Association, the medical profession was found to be in violation of federal anti-trust laws concerning commerce and competition. They were ordered to stop their decades-long disinformation campaign. Fake news is not new! Doctors of Chiropractic were the targets of fake news stories decades ago.
Once this false information gets out, it is hard to get it out of people’s heads. You may be aware that some people still “believe” that the earth is flat, or that vaccines cause autism, or that Barack Obama was not born in America. Alternative realities take on a life of their own.

Medical doctors also have steered people away from chiropractic because they didn’t understand what they do. Part of the reason they didn’t understand was that they’re members of the American Medical Association, and that’s where they’re getting their information. Doctors felt that they had to tow the party line.

Tell me about Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis and why he’s an important historical figure.

Dr. Semmelweis was a medical doctor who practiced in Hungary in the 19th century. He noticed that doctors were going from one mother to another delivering babies without washing they hands between patients. Many of these mothers were getting diseases and dying after giving birth. He suggested that germs were being spread by the doctors themselves, and suggested that the other doctors wash their hands before attending to the next woman ready to give birth.

This advice conflicted with the medical opinions at that time. The medical profession said there was no scientific evidence that germs were spread by contact with the hands. Scoffing at his suggestion, the other doctors ridiculed Dr. Semmelweis out of the medical profession, and he ended up being committed to an asylum and beaten to death by the guards there. Many years later it was found that, indeed, one of the main ways to spread germs was through touch.

The doctors who ridiculed him were engaging in group think. Likewise, many in the medical community today participate in group think — holding a negative view of chiropractors particularly if those doctors are members of the AMA.The medical profession has a very long history of living in an alternative reality, ignoring facts in order to get approval from their colleagues.

Why is it important to only allow a Doctor of Chiropractic to perform spinal adjustments?

In my chiropractic school, (Parker) student interns were not permitted to adjust a patient’s vertebra unsupervised until we had completed our medical education and practiced under a doctor’s supervision for one year as an intern in an outpatient clinic. It could only be done using a specific technique after the clinic entrance exam had been passed.

Any question asked by the supervising doctor had to be stated before the intern was allowed to adjust any vertebra, such as the point of contact, line of correction, vector, or torque. If the doctor asked you, “Are the facet joints of the C2 vertebra oriented in a coronal or an axial plane?” you had to know the answer if you wanted to be allowed to adjust the C2 and get your required credit for the day. (The correct answer is both planes.)

In the Netherlands, physical therapists can take a course in manual therapy or manuele therapie and after just one weekend of instruction are allowed to practice adjusting vertebra on their patients. I see injuries in my office regularly that result from unqualified people doing vertebral adjustments.

Sometimes in the Netherlands, it is the therapists themselves who come into my office for treatment after they have been practicing on each other and become injured.
My advice: Never allow anyone to adjust the vertebra in your spine unless they have the word “Doctor” in their legal title.

When you are visiting a different country or city and want to find a Doctor of Chiropractic to adjust you, how do you decide where to go?

I always seek out a DC from the United States, Canada or Australia. These three countries produce the highest quality chiropractic programs and are the only ones with schools awarding the doctoral degree. It is not possible for DCs to practice in U.S. unless they have passed U.S. national boards. The same goes for Canada and Australia and their board exams.

How do I know if a chiropractor is a real Doctor of Chiropractic?

A Doctor of Chiropractic practicing in a foreign country, who has passed their board exams, would be displaying the certificates in their office. These certificates represent the highest level that can be obtained in the chiropractic profession. They are one giant step beyond the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

It is also a good idea to look for reviews on Google or other reputable sites where the reviewer is signed in under their own account. It is not just the number of reviews, but the quality of the reviews that matters.

What is the difference among chiropractic practitioners with a bachelor’s, master’s or a doctorate?

European schools offer lower level degrees in chiropractic, such as a bachelor’s degree or an M.A. in chiropractic. These are not doctoral degrees. It is not possible to earn a doctorate in chiropractic in Europe.

The difference is in the higher level of national board exams that must be passed, the one-year internship in the outpatient clinic, and the one year spent in gross anatomy labs, dissecting human cadavers. European schools have none of the higher level academic requirements and are not up to the standards of chiropractic colleges in the United States, Australia and Canada in their teaching faculty and student clinics.

In particular, some chiropractic schools in the U.S. have been around for more than 100 years, and attract the highest level of faculty and lab facilities in the world. Moreover, American national board exams are the highest level exams in the world. This is what differentiates U.S./Canadian/Australian Doctors of Chiropractic from lower level European degree programs in chiropractic.

What counties are you credentialed to practice?

I possess a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Parker University in Dallas, Texas and National Board certificates from the U.S. Australia, and New Zealand in chiropractic, physical therapy, and radiology, all earned within the past 10 years.

As an American practicing in the Netherlands did you have to go through any process?

Yes. To be a member of the Dutch Chiropractic Federation I had to present my credentials from the United States. I presented my diploma and national board scores from the states, and then the Federation evaluated that.
There is no other country where education and training is at a higher level than the U.S. So beyond the diploma and national board scores, there aren’t any other additional tests required. Because I am nationally certified, I am also credentialed under all insurance plans in the Netherlands.

Do Doctors of Chiropractic have title protection in the Netherlands?

Yes, but there’s a story behind it. There’s a group called Quackwatch, which is basically a fake news organization of medical practitioners. They sue anyone who doesn’t recommend drugs or surgery. They went after chiropractors here in the Netherlands in 2014. They said that chiropractors couldn’t use doctor as a title because they didn’t consider chiropractors to be doctors. They said that chiropractors couldn’t use that title here — only Dutch doctors could. One of my colleagues, Doctor Molima, got sued by this group for using the title Doctor of Chiropractic. We all got concerned that we would be sued, and had to remove that title from our Web pages.

Fast forward to a court case, won again on appeal, in which the Dutch Supreme Court in Breda ultimately ruled in early 2016 that DCs do have title protection in the Netherlands. They found that we not only have the title, but the training and education to back it up. That was a significant victory in that chiropractors can use our correct title. No one else in the field of alternative health care has title protection for the word Doctor.

Thanks, Quackwatch, for helping Doctors of Chiropractic attain title protection in the Netherlands!

1 Join the Conversation

  1. Raina says
    Feb 18, 2017 at 4:30 PM

    Very informative. Never knew about chiropractors who also have a medical degree until I met you. I certainly have noticed a difference. Thanks for sharing!

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