A Money Making Chiropractor
by Wayne Flaherty
For many years I have had type 2 diabetes. It has slowly ravaged my body, destroying the nerves in my legs until I now live with neuropathy pains in the lower half of my body. These pains are intermittent, unpredictable, erratic, and a d___ nuisance. Besides that they hurt. These pains take several forms. They can be so severe that they will cause me to flinch noticeably and uncontrollably. It feels like someone has just stabbed you with large square hypodermic needle. The worst case requires Hydrocodone to kill the pain. These needle like pains can be less severe and require only 3 Tylenol tablets to control. The attacks can be mild enough that they cause me to rub the affected area. If rubbing the area doesn't work, smearing the area with a mild analgesic type cream called Muscle Rub will help.
I also suffer from balance problems when I stand and I have severe weakness in my legs. Strangely, I have no problems when I sit in a chair or drive my car.
Knowing that about my condition, is it any wonder I jumped at the chance to answer the ad by a Back & Pain Center that promised to treat my condition. A $35 sample treatment was available. I took the treatment and was shown the X-Ray of my back clearly showing the degeneration in my spine. I seriously considered the full blown treatment requiring 4 days per week for a period of 6 weeks. As an added incentive I could cancel the treatments any time I wished. I obtained a copy of the contract I was being asked to sign. I took the contract home and read it very carefully. Thank God I did. Its only claim was The treatment recommendation consists of spinal decompression, class IV cold laser, chiropractic manipulations and physical therapy.
NOTE: Don't sign anything until you have read and understand what you are obligating yourself to do.
A thorough examination of the contract was revealing. During prior discussions with the doctor (a chiropractor) it was mentioned in passing (and only briefly) that I would be given products to take home to be consumed as part of my total treatment. Paragraph 2 says these products would cost $740 dollars even though I had no idea what they were for, how many there were, and exactly what benefit there would be for me. Paragraph 2 also states that the $740 cost for these Home Therapy Products was non-refundable. In other words, the instant I signed the contract I would owe the doctor $740.
The cost of each treatment was to be $225 per day. There was never any mention of evaluations, either ongoing during treatment or at any points along the 6 weeks of treatments. It appeared I was to pay the bill, take the treatments and hit the road. A quick calculation showed that after just half (3 weeks) of the treatments I would have consumed $3,440 or 86% of the total amount paid in. If I cancelled after 3 weeks of treatments my refund would be a measly $560.
On a whim, I decided to visit my regular chiropractor and see what he had to say. During our long conversation, he showed me on a model of the spine and just what I could expect at the end of the proposed treatments. In spite of improving the condition of my spine the nerve damage that is the cause of my problems would remain. I would still have balance problems. I would still have weakness in my legs. I would still have neuropathy pains. In other words there might be some slight, temporary improvement in my condition but there would be no significant, long term, and permanent benefit.
Then came the kicker. Dr. Willits looked at me and said, "I provide the spinal treatments you are considering but I do so at a cost of $15 per visit instead of the $225 you have been quoted." As an added benefit I would not be required to pay a non-refundable $740 for some questionable Home Therapy Products.
Let me explain my aversion to these kinds of products. Many years ago there came out of Tennessee a man who called himself Colonel Whosis I use Whosis because I can't remember his real name. The Colonel had a product he named Hadacol. When asked why he called it Hadacol he usually replied, "I had a call it something." His patent medicine was supposed to cure anything and everything. He made millions from the sale of Hadacol as its benefits were shouted from the housetops. Then one day he disappeared and nobody ever heard of him again.
I consider all patent medicines of this type to be little more than snake oil products. In the old west, they were hawked by fast talkers from the back of a horse drawn cart. These men would make their snake oil remedies by filling their bottles with branch water from a local creek, adding a little alcohol and a mystery ingredient to provide a taste. From then on it was just words.
In the end I was saved $4,000 by my regular chiropractor, Dr, Brad Willits of Mission, Kansas. The money will not be wasted on a fast talking charlatan doing a land office business here in Johnson County, Kansas. I will be taking some of those $15 dollar treatments fully aware of the minimal benefit they will provide. I also will make sure Dr. Brad knows just how much I appreciate what he did for me.