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Choosing Wisely: Separating Facts from Fears

It has been just over a year since many in the chiropractic profession first learned that the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) joined more than 80 medical specialty society partners to participate in an initiative that is sponsored by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. This initiative’s mission is to “promote conversations between clinicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is supported by evidence, not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received, free from harm, and truly necessary.” It is called the Choosing Wisely campaign1 and it has generated more spirited discussion among doctors of chiropractic than I can recall since release of the Mercy Conference Proceedings in 1993.

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Choosing Wisely X-ray Recommendations Reflect Evolving Evidence, Accepted Standards

The first ACA Choosing Wisely® recommendation states: In the absence of red flags, do not obtain spinal imaging (X-rays) for patients with acute low-back pain during the six weeks after the onset of pain. Some doctors of chiropractic may be surprised that ACA included this recommendation. There are many DCs who are committed to delivery of high-quality patient care that currently take or order X-rays on a majority of their patients because they believe that X-rays are a necessary component of the examination process. There are a number of reasons why this is the case.

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