Prohibit Chiropractors From Practicing Neurology

TMA Testimony by Sara Austin, MD

Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Senate Bill 1867 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa

April 30, 2019

Chair Kolkhorst, members of the committee, I am Dr. Sara Austin. I am a neurologist in Austin representing myself and the nearly 53,000 members of the Texas Medical Association in opposition to Senate Bill 1867

The current statutory definition of chiropractic references its focus on the musculoskeletal system. SB 1867 would add “neuro” to its definition. We find this an unwarranted expansion, contrary to patient health care, and unsupported by chiropractors’ education and training.

Simply alleging that the basis of this proposal is because it is impossible to treat conditions related to the musculoskeletal system without a neurological connection is both misleading, oversimplified, and potentially dangerous. Adding the term “neuro” is not merely the addition of the nerves that may connect muscle tissue, or bones. It is the addition of the entire neurological system that includes the brain, spinal cord, and the regulation of many bodily functions beyond chiropractors’ education and training.

Among the most common neurological disorders, according to the World Health Organization are:

  • Dementia;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Headache disorders (migraine, et al.);
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Neuroinfections; 
  • Neurological disorders associated with malnutrition;
  • Pain associated with neurological disorders;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Stroke; and 
  • Traumatic brain injuries, like concussions.

Neurology is the specialty of medicine that deals with the anatomy, functions, and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system. Physicians who specialize in neurology invest four years of medical school education and at least four years of intense residency training. In addition, physicians take a minimum of 48 hours of continuing medical education each two-year license period in order to stay current in their specialty and improve the care provided to our patients.

Contrary to a number of allegations, NOT passing this bill will have absolutely no effect on the current practice of chiropractic. But, passing this bill would be a significant expansion of chiropractic scope of practice without the practitioners having anywhere near the necessary training and education to treat these complex medical illnesses and conditions.

We respectfully urge your opposition to SB 1867.

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Last Updated On

April 29, 2019