Orthopedic Residents Are Incompetent To Diagnose or Manage Musculoskeletal Complaints
Chiro.Org Editorial Commentary:
Chiropractors pride themselves in their ability to diagnose and manage neuro-musculo-skeletal (NMS) complains. According to all the surveys, this is our bread and butter, and no one on the planet is better trained to diagnose (locate) and treat (correct) neck, low back, or peripheral joint (knee, elbow etc) complaints. But, don’t take my word for it.
Orthopedic surgeons are supposed to be the *gods* of medicine, the pinnacle of medical knowledge. First they become MDs, then rotate through a variety of specialties, and finally take residence in a highly competitive orthopedic residency program. You may want to review this interesting description of the requirements for the UCLA Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program.
This is a long and sad tale about the weakness of modern medicine. And the following articles were all published in the prestigious Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the number one journal for orthopedic surgeons.
In 1998, two medical doctors at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, contacted all 157 chairpersons of orthopedic residency programs in the United States. Together they developed and validated a basic-competency examination in musculoskeletal medicine to give to the first year residents. The results were astounding, because 82% of the eighty-five medical school graduates failed this BASIC competency exam!
Four years later they redesigned the exam and again gave it to all the residents. Even though the passing grade was LOWERED from 74% to 70% (plus or minus 9.9 percent), 78% of them again failed the exam, with a mean test score average of 59.9 percent!
To add insult to injury, this exact test was given to a group of 51 chiropractic students during their last semester of schooling. The results? 70% of the students passed the test. This is in contrast to an 80% failure rate for the MDs.
For clarity sake, you need to distinguish the difference between the chiropractic and the medical participants in these studies.
- The medical group had already graduated medical school, been awarded their MD degrees, completed all their hospital rotations and residencies, and finally been accepted into a highly competitive orthopedic program.
- The chiropractic group were still JUST STUDENTS
One would expect that, during their 5 years of medical training, endless hospital rotations, and residency programs, that this group doctors *might have* picked up a little more musculoskeletal knowledge along the way.
Evidently this is NOT the case.
These medical authors concluded that residents in orthopedic surgery programs are not provided with sufficient training in NMS analysis. The truth is, they are incompetent in musculoskeletal assessment or treatment. This situation was not corrected during the 4-year interim between the publication of the 1st and 2nd article, and most likely has not been corrected by today, 13 years later.
The solution? If you have spinal pain, seek care from someone who is properly trained to assess and manage your care. That person would be a chiropractor.