Chiropractors, much more so than real medical health professionals, have to invest a lot of effort into practice promotion, and nothing helps promote a practice so much as having an edge. The DRX-9000 back compression machine, a high tech machine for treating back pain, fits the bill: with LED lights, monitors, and a claimed 86% success rate, this ersatz medical device looks like the real thing.
Back pain can be debilitating enough to people that a $4,000 price tag for 20 treatments is not an obstacle, not with a success rate as high as 86%, as the manufacturers claim.
Only the claim isn’t true.
CBC marketplace investigated the devices in early 2010 and found no scientific basis for the claims of success, nor any support for the device being able to work as it should. Health Canada asked the manufacturer to provide evidence for its use. When none was forthcoming, the licence for the DRX-9000 was pulled.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they are no longer in use. While the company can no longer sell the devices, and indeed has gone bust, operators – that is to say, chiropractors – have no obligation to stop using them. The manufacturer is obliged to tell people that they are no longer licensed, but that’s all. In the meantime, chiropractors still tout the benefits of the DRX-9000 and consumers are none the wiser. In fact a lot of consumers will continue to be scammed and end up thousands of dollars poorer, with nothing to show for their money.
This underlines a fundamental failing in the chiropractic industry. Chiropractors operate outside mainstream medicine, yet want to be taken as seriously as real medical health professionals. However, doctors are trained and held to a very high standard, and tightly regulated as to what treatment modalities they can use. Chiropractic simply does not hold itself to a similar standard and does not have the same tradition of respect for evidence based medicine; but then, how could it, when it has failed, over and over again, to provide scientific support for the claims it makes?
The DRX-9000 is another in a long line of chiropractic money making schemes. It’s gone, but you can bet there will be others. When your practice depends on drumming up business by any means, it’s only a matter of time before someone shows up with the next big thing.