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What is the Difference between Objective Straight and Traditional Straight Chiropractic?


Why is it that historically no one ever seems to want to identify themselves as anything but a straight chiropractor?  While chiropractors were perfectly willing to hang a sign outside the office saying “Straight Chiropractor,” I’ve never seen one that says “Mixer Chiropractor.” Is it because chiropractors truly do not understand the difference or because being a “mixer” has a negative connotation? I tend to think that it is the latter. Titles, or how the public perceives you, are important but more important is how you describe yourself to the rest of the profession.  Either way, OSC has caused many TSCors to get off the fence.  I have no idea how many got off on the OSC side and how many got off on the mixing side.So what’s the difference between the OSC (objective straight chiropractor) and the TSC (traditional or B.J. straight chiropractor)?  It is true that we in the OSC camp have had an influence on those in the TSC. In that sense we have caused them to come closer to us. Some have abandoned many of their practices and procedures and many others just do not mention or they purposely ignore telling the people what they do.  Rarely do we ever use the term “traditional straight chiropractor” or contrast them to the “objective straight chiropractor.”  Yet at one time there was a bitter difference between the two.  The terms “super straight” and “conservative mixers” (both pejorative terms) have all but disappeared from our chiropractic lexicon. Perhaps that is good.  Anyone who graduated from chiropractic school after the turn of the century probably never heard those terms. In all likelihood it is because the two groups that were derisively identified as such have now been thrown together by the Council on Chiropractic Education.  Is that because we have had our “Yalta” in which both sides have formed an alliance against the common threat of the CCE or is it because both sides have been forced to be part of the CCE?  Is it because we all have a common enemy (the CCE) and the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”…that the differences that once separated the ICA/Palmer Life chiropractors and the FSCO/Penn Straight and Sherman/Straight chiropractors no longer seem important in light of those who want to add pharmaceuticals to the chiropractic practice and those who want to keep it drugless?  To draw an analogy, who would have thought prior to 1940 the Butcher of Budapest, Joe Stalin, would be sitting at a conference table with Churchill and FDR, forgetting their differences as they tried to deal with a common enemy, Hitler.  But that is exactly what happened at Yalta.  Very few are aware of some of the bitter feelings between the OSC and the TSC chiropractors during the period of 1976 – 1999.

I would like to suggest a number of reasons:

1.         Many of those who were involved in the struggle have passed from the scene,  namely Sid Williams and Reggie Gold, the two most prominent people on the   TSC   and OSC sides. Others have, for one reason or another, retired from the battle.

2.         Many of the antagonists have changed sides.  Guy Riekeman, David Koch and Brian MacAuley, who were part of the OSC camp, are now leading or teaching at formerly “traditional” schools. Conversely, the new president of Sherman is a graduate of a traditional school.  Twenty years ago none of those people would have considered or been considered for those positions.  This is not a criticism,  just an observation of the change in historical trends.  All those men are capably serving in their roles.  The point is that issues have changed to the degree that no one thinks twice about these men in their respective positions.

3.         Sherman dropped the seemingly inflammatory term “straight.”

4.          Penn Straight dropped out of existence.

5.         The CCE has made the terms, if not the content, of OSC and TSC no longer  necessary and anachronistic.  Everyone seems to be content to say “I am a             chiropractor” and reserve the right to define that or choose not to define it to their own liking.

While politically it may be prudent to ignore any difference and become less the estranged bedfellow, there are still philosophical differences that need to be discussed and in one way or another resolved.  So what are the differences between the traditional chiropractic approach as espoused by the ICA and its colleges and the objective chiropractic approach as espoused by the formerly “straight” schools (SCSC and PCSC) and the FSCO (now IFCO)?  I have listed six differences, which I believe are incongruences in the traditional approach to chiropractic:

1.         The TSC does not treat effects but does correct cause.  There are many aspects of medical care that address cause.  Any preventative measure is aimed at correcting the cause.  In the last 100+ years, medicine has made great strides at preventing disease by addressing the cause.  The only way that chiropractic can legitimately address this issue is if they deny medicine’s argument as to cause and maintain that vertebral subluxation is the only cause of these diseases. Is that what they believe?

2.         The TSC does not treat disease but addresses DIS-EASE and its causes. DIS-EASE originally meant a medical condition of a specific organ.  Check it out, medicine just dropped the hyphen to simplify it and chiropractic adopted the discarded term.  Why did they adopt an anachronistic medical term instead of a term like “incoordination?”

3.         The TSC does not cure disease although they believe vertebral subluxation is the cause of all disease.  Since, we as a profession have essentially given up the assertion       that vertebral subluxation is the cause of all disease, doesn’t claiming that put us in a bad light in the scientific community?

3          The TSC does medical tests but does not diagnose medical conditions.  Why perform medical tests unless you are addressing a medical condition?

4.         The TSC recognizes the need to refer out even though medicine only treats symptoms and does not correct cause.  This was the major conflict between OSC and TSC. If we do not address disease, why do we need to refer out which first necessitates a diagnosis?

5.         The TSC does medical procedures such as taking blood pressure but does not need them to find the cause (because the cause is in the spine). Why then are these procedures done?

6.         The TSC monitors physiology despite the fact that the innate intelligence of the body is the only means of cure and innate intelligence needs no help, just no interference.  Why is this done?

The TSC approach is incongruous and tries to justify doing procedures that were required by the CCE although they made no sense to the Palmer model of chiropractic.  Most TSC chiropractors, me included, have evolved into OSC chiropractors.  Those that have not are changing to an unreasonable model of chiropractic that I believe was never the intention of the Founder and Developer.


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This article has 27 comments

  1. Bob Berkowitz 10/28/2013, 11:48 pm:

    That was awesome, Joe.
    The TSC is certainly a leaky boat approach to Chiropractic that fails to hold up to scrutiny. Worse is when a TSC claims to be an OSC. When in discussion with the the TSC, it reads as if we are speaking two different languages. The TSC may use the lexicon similar of an OST, yet when it comes to an understanding of a vitalstic doctrine vs. a mechanistic doctrine OR inductive reasoning vs. deductive reasoning, I more often than not find them clueless. What gets their thoughts in a total confused state is when you ask for their definitions to be clear and concise. On the rear chance they provide clear & concise definitions, their actions in practice are totally incongruent. It is rear they ever own up to it, usually not out of spite, but rather out of ignorance; which is where the problem lies. The IFCO Mission Statement is SPOT-ON with respect to OST.

  2. Tom 10/29/2013, 12:06 pm:

    The IFCO Mission Statement may be SPOT-ON with respect to OSC, but how many of the members of the IFCO (including board members) are on board with that mission statement?

  3. Steve 10/29/2013, 2:59 pm:

    As one in transition, unlearning is the hardest thing to do. Recall if you will that Chiropractic was originally thought by it’s founder to reconnect man with god. Then it became healthcare. Now it is Life (I,F&M) care. 3 different things requiring 3 different lines of thought, a profession in transition.

    • JoeStrauss 10/29/2013, 9:51 pm:

      Steve, it’s none of my business so feel free to not answer but if you are transitioning, what “line of thought” are you in at this point or endeavoring to be in? We have some chiropractors on this blog who are still in L.O.T. #1, many who are in L.O.T. #2 and some who are in L.O.T. #3,some who are in L.O.T. #99?

      • Steve 10/30/2013, 4:57 pm:

        My LOT is around a 2.9, my practical application a 2.6, so somewhere around a 2.75 and climbing. Hey Joe, could you possibly introduce me to an attractive 5 or 6? I’d go for the 99 but if I stretch too far I may snap.

  4. Trent 10/29/2013, 5:39 pm:

    Great post in the most appropriate time when all I see and hear about is TSC influences in schools/organizations and most sadly on the future chiropractors that this is the “chiropractic” way to practice.

    Bringing this issue to light should be emphasized for the students and our future colleagues!!

    Thanks Joe.

  5. Tom 10/30/2013, 3:05 pm:

    Digging through some posts from the old FACE messageboard I came across this article I posted back in 1999 in response to someone asking about the same topic here in this thread. Still relevant today.

    The beauty and the strength of OSC is its simplicity. Unless one can say, “No, some people are better off with subluxations than without…”, how can that be argued?
    OSC does not say we’re the “only” chiropractic. I believe we say we are the purest form of chiropractic. This profession has the habit of trying to improve upon chiropractic by adding to it. It seems like many have the “perfect partner” for chiropractic. Whether it be nutrition, or exercise, psychological work or anything else. You can’t add anything to perfection to try and make it better. And by the way, I’m not knocking any of those things. The fact is, they are just not chiropractic.
    I believe the only reason that few reach OSC is not because they can’t, it’s because they don’t want to. OSC is a humbling position because we realize how little our educated brain knows about our own body and knows even less about someone else’s body. I really believe that that is a very hard position to take especially after doing 2, 3 or 4 years pre, then 3 1/2 years of medicine with a 1/2 year of chiropractic thrown in. Not to mention the $$$$ it cost to obtain this.
    Unlike TSC, our work is not based on results other than “is the body now unsubluxated?” It is not that our work doesn’t get results because it does. We just can’t predict the results. We can say however, with 100% certainty, 100% of the time that every human being under every circumstance is better off without subluxation. Whether they are sick or not is irrelevent to what we do. Every person without subluxation expresses more of the life potential that is genetically instilled within them.
    I believe Reggie was the first to admit that what he developed as non-therapeutic chiropractic which is now OSC, was not the original intent for chiropractic. The first adjustment was given for what, to correct subluxation? No, it was given to cure deafness. And every adjustment after that was given to cure some ailment. While Reggie was in Palmer he heard BJ always say “Chiropractic gets sick people well. Stay with chiropractic after you recover and it will keep you well.” Not once did he hear BJ say that if you weren’t sick you should be adjusted. So Reggie developed this concept in 1957 in Spring Valley, NY. And from this sprang OSC developed by Joe Strauss.
    Reggie also at one point developed spinology which is even another step further than OSC. Spinology takes you out of the health field, out of being a doctor and allows the freedom of not being associated with sickness and disease, a problem still faced by OSCors. Both OSC and spinology were created out of refining what was given to us by DD and BJ. It was refined and made purer.
    TSCors are taking the path of adding more and more to their armamentarium, simply because it is their goal to get sick people well. (As a side note, it is not true to say “the power that made the body heals the body.” The power that made the body SOMETIMES heals the body. Not all sick people get well, I think you’ll agree, regardless of what they do for their problem.) If that were my goal, to get sick people well, it would be idiotic to try and get all sick people well with just spinal adjusting. If that were my goal, I would add everything in the book, it just makes sense. The more you add, the more sick people you can help to get well. Unfortunately it is this adding that takes you further and further away from the core of TIC and into the realm of physical medicine. If that is what you wish to continue in, it is your option. You will have a lot of company!
    BJ was known big time for his slipping and checking. He would start out with an idea and if he didn’t like where it was taking him he would back up and start again. I haven’t read BJ anywhere near as much as Joe and Reggie. But I have a feeling like they do, that the direction BJ was headed in as he was nearing his death in ’61, is the path that would have led him to OSC &/or spinology.
    Is it an easy path? No, it is a major job trying to de-program the public from the tyranny of inductive thinking, and introduce them to the beauties of deductive thinking and put them back in charge of their life and health. While it is a tremendous responsibility it is also a tremendous opportunity and we welcome anyone wishing to travel that path with us.

    • Steve 10/30/2013, 7:40 pm:

      Later in the Green Books BJ says the Subluxation alone was justification for Chiropractic care. He also stated we had advanced the Science so far that symptoms were irrelevant, as in the DC did not need to know how or where the body was out of coordination. I wonder sometimes how far Chiropractic would have come had it not been “Refined By Fire” in the care of the sick?

      • Tom 10/30/2013, 8:00 pm:

        Thanks Steve. Any idea where in the green books he said that “subluxation alone was justification for chiro care”? Also, I wonder if he said that, and that DCs “didn’t need to know how or where the body was out of coordination” because he felt that subluxation was the cause of all ailments? Therefore just find the subluxation, correct it and poof, away go the problems? At one time I was working on developing a time line of BJ’s thinking. I need to get that out again.

        • Steve 10/30/2013, 9:04 pm:

          I believe it was Vol.18,The Specific, but I am looking.

      • Claude Lessard 11/01/2013, 2:59 pm:


        BJ died thinking chiropractic care was for the sick to get well. VS for him was the CAUSE and if the CAUSE was corrected, then people would get well… BJ never got pass that conviction. –

        – Today, the evolutionary process of the philosophy points to VS as being detrimental for ALL people, since VS interferes with the innate forces of the innate intelligence of the body. In other words, is detrimental for sick people and the so called “not sick people”. –

        – Furthermore, the LACVS may or may not get people “not sick”! 😉

        • Steve 11/01/2013, 5:27 pm:

          Ok Claude,
          I think your mistaken, but who knows you may have spoken to BJ, I did not. All I did was read his books, not all but most. The philosophy has not evolved into something it never was, it has merely been refined and uncluttered. Not a single Principle has changed, none have been added, we just interpret them differently. BJ knew that proper transmission of MI affected every aspect of ones life. He also knew, not every case got well, just higher percentages with Chiro. care. He even spoke of accidental corrections, today (new interpretation) we would call them accidental Adjustments since only II corrects a Sux. and never by accident. Do you really think BJ was only interested in healing boo boos? If so, please give me a reference as to where BJ said Chiro. was ONLY for health, nothing more.
          I take nothing away from Reggie or Joe as they have been pivotal in my present line of thinking. But the facts remain, BJ was there 50 years earlier. BJ knew the Sux. was detrimental to all people, all the time.
          Furthermore, many people DO GET WELL, ask Harvey? Deaf for seventeen years, one thing changed that, and it wasn’t Obamacare.

          • Claude Lessard 11/09/2013, 12:49 pm:


            I am NOT saying that BJ did not allude to the possibility of chiropractic being more than for the health of the person (“A slip on a snowy sidewalk”… and his publication “My Message Analyze” are good examples of this fact. Yet, his emphasis was ALWAYS to get the sick, well. He did never even mentioned ongoing care to keep them well. Where have you read BJ fostered regular care for a lifetime regardless of their symptomatic profile? Let’s face it, Steve, BJ thought he had found the CAUSE of ALL diseases and its CURE (Green Books and multiple recorded talks). BJ saw chiropractic care as a NATURAL ALTERNATIVE to medical care and that’s WHAT got the profession in trouble at the first place… and may I say that today the profession is FREELY walking into the mouth to the lion’s jaws. WHY is it, you may ask? When you start with the faulty reasoning that Chiropractic is alternative to Medicine, HOW can your conclusion be true? We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do! –

          • JoeStrauss 11/09/2013, 7:05 pm:

            Claude, why do you think that BJ only rarely alluded to chiropractic as being more than “getting sick people well”?

    • Don 10/30/2013, 10:23 pm:

      That was an excellent post. There is simply too many gems in there to list them all!

      Could you explain
      Unlike TSC, our work is not based on results other than “is the body now unsubluxated?” It is not that our work doesn’t get results because it does. We just can’t predict the results.

      I’m always trying to dig deeper. this post has allowed me to do just.
      What are the results if someone asked you to be specific?
      And if they asked will I see NO result over the course of many years of care, what would the OSC answer be?
      Thanks again.

      • Claude Lessard 11/01/2013, 7:23 pm:


        Do you think that if someone were to ask this question that they have understood your orientation?

        • Claude Lessard 11/01/2013, 9:27 pm:


          In other words, WHAT is the context of the instructive information that you would have to provide in order to prompt that person to ask these questions?

  6. RichieBDC 10/30/2013, 5:46 pm:

    Joe: You are adept at describing the history of Chiropractic and the evolution of the TSC & OSC. Having started under care w/ a TSC who was evolving to OSC back in 1971, I got it back then especially when my duodenal ulcer was healed after a few weeks of adjustments. I was fortunate to hear Reggie recruiting for SCSC. At Sherman at that time Philosophy via Reggie, Irene, Easy Riekman, Joe Flesia, etc. was great but many in the students were not happy w/that then…..And today only a small group in the profession practice OSC talk is cheap look at their websites. Posture correction is not our objective, making Innate a personality is not our objective. Life college was founded because Sid disagreed w/ Reggie & Thom….Time will tell….We all have evolved over time (philosophically)

  7. Claude Lessard 11/10/2013, 8:22 pm:

    Joseph, you asked me: “why do you think that BJ only rarely alluded to chiropractic as being more than “getting sick people well”? –

    I think BJ ran out of time. Would he had lived another 50 years he would have been the FOUNDER of COTB!!! 😉

    – It’s a combination of things as to why BJ needed more time (in fact it took more than 10 years after BJ’s death before Sherman College opened its doors).

    – First, BJ truly thought he found the ONE CAUSE for DIS-EASE which lead, in his opinion, to cause all diseases and that he had found also the ONE CURE for DIS-EASE which lead, in his opinion, to the cure of all diseases. HIO was the brainchild of that assumption. One cause, one cure, one upper cervical location, one pattern analysis, one toggle recoil with one solid knee chest table.

    Second, as a result of the medical opposition due to the fact that chiropractic was encroaching upon the prior right of medicine to treat diseases, BJ was adamant about showing the absurd complexity of Medicine in contrast to the simplicity of Chiropractic to achieve the task of getting sick people well. That was BJ’s way to “simplify” the logic of chiropractic.

    – Third, BJ’s conviction was that chiropractic was the ONE answer to all of mankind’s ills. As a result of this “belief” of BJ, he was able to enter deeply into the dark forest of the nature of health with horse and buggy and rode through its daunting darkness emerging with a philosophical tractor on the other side that kept the profession forging ahead toward the insurmountable mountain of medical acceptance, up to the 1970’s.

    – Then, something extraordinary happened. It’s Reggie WHO chose to see that the profession had left the forest and was facing the huge therapeutic mountain and with the vision of a hawk “saw” into it the non-therapeutic aspect of chiropractic for what it was (I remember in 1974, in philosophy 101, Reggie wrote on the blackboard that a chiropractor could not be a therapist and asked us WHY. After numerous answers, Reggie said, if a chiropractor becomes a therapist (treat diseases) then the chiropractor becomes THE-RAPIST!!! In other words, therapy is a medical treatment). Non-therapeutic chiropractic was different. Non-therapeutic chiropractic was a mighty DC3 airplane flying above physical health and it was available to EVERYBODY regardless of their physical health status. Chiropractic was NOT for health only… it was for the full expression of the innate FORCES of the innate intelligence of the body (that’s the “lift” of his thesis “The Triune of Life). Then, it is Reggie WHO chose to promote non-therapeutic chiropractic. The heights to which non-therapeutic chiropractic attained, gave a clarity of perception NEVER experienced before. We saw that traditional chiropractic was immersed into the realm of getting sick people well and that traditional chiropractors were not even aware of that fact. Traditional chiropractors were mistaking the trees for the forest and were still attached to the outcome of getting sick people well and of being THEN natural alternative to medicine in getting sick people well. The evolution of traditional chiropractic philosophy soared toward non-therapeutic objective chiropractic and was refined by Joe Strauss’ understanding into a 747 Jet and refined by those WHO, together without condemnation, chose to contribute to COTB’s logical deductive thought process into the chiropractic objective which is a NEW generation Concorde Jet. –

    – Chiropractic is DIFFERENT and DISTINCT from EVERYTHING ELSE and includes EVERYONE on the planet… no matter what their health status, their nationalities, their creed or financial status!!!!

    • Steve 11/10/2013, 11:54 pm:

      Do you think Chiro. would be further or behinder if it had always been promoted as a way to fuller expression of IF? Were spirituality and healthcare necessary steps, not only for DCs but for the public as well? In terms of herd mentality could it have made it as one big step instead of three smaller, more surmountable graduations?

      • Claude Lessard 11/11/2013, 4:11 am:


        I don’t know. How could the discovery of chiropractic be understood for a full expression of the innate forces of the body in 1895? Anatomists were barely beginning to map the nerve system when 35 year old Harriet Coles donated her body to Dr.Rufus B. Weaver of Hahnemann Medical College, 8 years prior. Dr. Weaver took over 3 years to remove all the tissues of her body leaving only the exposed nerves. Dr.Weaver first published his tedious work in 1890. It was the first time the entire nerve system was seen in its totality. I doubt very much that D.D., as a magnetic healer, saw Weaver’s published work prior to September 18, 1895. –

        – What I know is that, today chiropractors are confused and the public is lost in the murk of medical thinking with regards to chiropractic. We have a whole lot of cleaning up to do!

        • JoeStrauss 11/11/2013, 12:05 pm:

          Claude, that explains 1895. What about 1910,1948, 1960? Why did it take until 1974 for someone other than BJ to develop the concept that chiropractic was not just for (medically) sick people? If “a slip on a snowy sidewalk…” and My Message Analyzed indicate that BJ had that Big Idea, why did he spend the rest of his life promoting the incorrect idea of the personification of innate intelligence

          • Claude Lessard 11/11/2013, 2:54 pm:


            When you start with faulty premise that chiropractic cures deafness and is the cure for all diseases, how can your conclusion be correct? It’s impossible, unless you think at a different level of thinking. BJ seems at times to have done that… yet, never got to the full transformation that the understanding of chiropractic needed. Again, I think that BJ ran out of time. –

            – With regards to personifying the innate intelligence of the body, BJ was definitely in conflict within himself about this issue. He talked about Palmer’s Law of Life being innate intelligence, he mentioned innate intelligence being this “something”, he even talked about in the some sub-cycles with the serous circulation being the “wife”… Kind of extreme “concepts” for BJ’s understanding of himself. We must remember that BJ was limited by his educated brain like everyone of us. He had no knowledge of cellular intelligence, organ intelligence and system intelligence, no knowledge of computers data processing. For BJ, innate intelligence was contained within the physical brain ONLY. Therefore, it seems that again, with this faulty premise, it is easy to “personify” a metaphysical concept like innate intelligence in order to make it understandable. BJ’s main conflict was his difficulty in sustaining, what I call, “thinking without splitting”. We can read at times, through the Green Books and his recorded talks, that BJ was capable to think in terms of LAW of active organization, yet, BJ truly ran out of time. The collective consciousness of the information age and the understanding of the chiropractic objective had not yet evolved, until the 1970″s to WHAT we know today. –

            – Perhaps, the dust needed to settles, to better “see” the chiropractic objective which is: LACVS for a full expression of the innate forces of the innate intelligence of the body. PERIOD!

      • JoeStrauss 11/11/2013, 12:28 pm:

        Steve, we sure couldn’t be any further “behinder” than we now are. The greatest problem we have in chiropractic is not that people do not understand what chiropractic is but that people do understand (or more correctly think they do) Those “three smaller” steps have been backward making our message more difficult to grasp. Case in point 95% of the people coming into our offices. They still don’t get it. If only Reggie could have lived another 100 years after the development of Spinology and had followed through on it, we could compare. Would like to get some present and ex Spinologists in on this discussion and have their perspective.

        • Steve 11/11/2013, 4:23 pm:

          OK boys, I will acquiesce that it has been a rocky road full of growing pains. I do however remain convinced that had Harvey’s hearing not been restored, at the hands of DD Palmer, none of us would be here now to promulgate OUR interpretation of Chiropractic. Had BJ Palmer not been so adamant about “Curing” disease Chiro. may have become a religion. There is no start over button which may be a good thing due to the “time traveler’s paradox”

          • Claude Lessard 11/11/2013, 5:43 pm:


            You are stating the obvious. Of course what you just posted is true. –

            – To further the understanding of chiropractic does NOT delete DD and BJ’s tremendous contributions to the development of the philosophy, science and art. It just so happen to be an ongoing development and I am quite sure that they both would approve the efforts of those WHO choose to go deeper, together without condemnation, into the very nature of chiropractic philosophy and practice… most especially WHEN it clarifies and refine the chiropractic objective as being separate and distinct from everything else, and made available to everyone regardless of health status, creeds, nationalities or financial status.

          • JoeStrauss 11/11/2013, 6:33 pm:

            Steve, I agree that we would not be here except for DD’s adjustment of Harvey. I do however disagree with your second premise. BJ being adamant about “Curing disease” has caused chiropractic to be either viewed as a approach to curing disease (medicine)as a reaction or as a religion (the personification of ui and ii). Whether a start over is possible or not remains to be seen. Becoming a religion will be fatal to chiropractic philosophy. But so will moving into medicine. The only salvation IMO is moving back to the foundation, the philosophy and pruning the damaging “suckers” from the tree. That’s what OSC is all about, saving the trunk and trimming what is depriving us of our fruit and growth.

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