Q&A: Wayne-Based Chiropractor Danielle Gray

The doctor responds to criticism of the discipline’s practices.

What is it about the chiropractic field that sparks such heated debate? While patients swear by its effectiveness, skeptics claim there’s a lack of research into its efficacy and that its practitioners don’t have proper medical training. To her credit, Dr. Danielle Gray always responds to these assertions calmly and confidently—because she’s heard them for years. “My sister is a pulmonologist, and my mother is a nurse, and we still can’t talk about what I do,” says the owner of Restore Chiropractic in Wayne. “I welcome the opportunity to explain my work.  Bring it on.”

MLT: When people say that chiropractors are not real doctors, you say … 

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DG: I’m not an M.D. or a D.O. I’m a D.C., a doctor of chiropractic. The main difference is that MDs are required to complete residencies, and D.C.s are not. That’s because we don’t work in hospital settings. But we do have clinical hours when we see patients, and we complete a lot of other requirements. I earned my “Dr.” fair and square.

MLT: Is there research proving that chiropractic works?

DG: The problem lies in the kind of testing available. The standard of a double-blind clinical trial or medical study can’t happen in chiropractic. You can’t do placebo-like chiropractic treatments. We can’t do false adjustments. The proof I see is in the patients whose health improves after using chiropractic. 

MLT: There’s an assertion that too many chiropractors work without diagnostic imaging, claiming that they don’t need MRIs or CTs to understand patients’ problems.

DG: I believe in imaging, and I think it’s medically irresponsible not to get it. You’re adjusting someone’s spine, and the first step is to make sure you won’t cause further damage. I have an X-ray machine in my office, and I order MRIs when needed.

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Dr. Danielle Gray//Photos by Tessa Marie Images.

Dr. Danielle Gray treats a patient in her Wayne office.

MLT: Why do so many physicians scoff at chiropractic?

DG: At the heart of it are the different philosophies behind medicine and chiropractic. Most Western medicine treats pain with medication. That’s like pulling the battery out of the smoke alarm but letting the fire burn. Chiropractic looks at the underlying cause of the problem and tries to remove it. The easiest example is a migraine. One kind of doctor will prescribe medication—maybe several kinds of medication—to try to ease the pain when you get a migraine. I’m going to try to prevent you from getting the migraine at all by figuring out what’s causing it, then fixing it. 

MLT: What about those who go to chiropractors and don’t find relief?

DG: They may be seeing the wrong kind of chiropractors. Chiropractors have specialties, just like M.D.s. I’m an upper cervical specialist, which means that I deal with neck pain, headaches, low back pain and Lyme disease, because it’s neurologically related. Problems with shoulders, elbows and knees are things I refer to other chiropractors. You don’t want to see a gynecologist for a heart problem.

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MLT: What about the contention that chiropractors make money off of people who don’t have anything wrong with them?

DG: It’s another difference in philosophy: proactive care versus acute care. For the most part, people go to a medical doctor only when they don’t feel well. But the absence of symptoms does not guarantee the presence of health. Once I get my patients in alignment, I encourage them to come in once a month so we can be proactive about maintaining their health. It’s much easier to keep the snowball at the top of the hill than to push it back up from the bottom. 

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