In May 2009 Paul Whitcomb closed its clinic Fibromyalgia Relief Center in South Lake, Tahoe and its website www.stopfibro.com. The clinic was not able to recruit enough new patients to keep in business due to bad publicity from the investigation of Whitcomb by the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners and reports from ex-patients on the Internet including this blog. Dr. Whitcomb started a new website called "Neurologic Relief Centers" at www.stopfibro.net where he continues to promote his approach to treating fibromyalgia and refer people to doctors like Dr. Brady who use his "Neruologic Relief Center Technique". The website includes testimonials from patients at the Whitcomb's former Fibromyalgia Relief Center. I personally know nine patients in these testimonials whose symptoms returned to a level similar of worse then before they were treated. It is interesting that Whitcomb is no longer claiming that their technique is addressing upper spinal cervical stenosis rather that it "resets" or the nervous system, which is in an agitated state. A year ago I wrote in my blog "Paul Whitcomb - Friend or Foe" that I believed that Whitcomb achieved his results by "dampening the nervous system" with frequent adjustments to the top vertebrae of the spine. For a fortunate few this relief was long lasting but the vast majority of patients successfully treated with this technique relapsed after leaving the clinic. Others did not improve at all.
Because of the relief some patients experienced with Whitcomb's treatments many believe that the technique holds some "key" to the fibromyalgia puzzle. There are no medical findings that support Whitcomb's previous claim that fibromyalgia is caused by subluxation of the first vertebrae or an impingement of the meninges. His "test" for fibromyalgia is a hold at the base of the skull familiar to many holistic physical therapies particularly cranial sacral therapists that stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments in general stimulate the autonomic nervous system and reinstate nerve energy circulation in the body. Most people with CFS/FMS have experienced feeling a little better right away then worse again after a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture treatment or massage. The key difference with Whitcomb's treatments is that he performed them frequently - two to three times a day - so patients experienced longer periods of relief. Unfortunately most patients were unable to sustain this relief on their own.
The California Board of Chiropractic Examiners completed its investigation of Dr. Whitcomb on May 26, 2009 and reached a final decision on July 31, 2009. Whitcomb was disciplined for "Repeated Acts of Clearly Excessive Treatment, Gross Negligence, Incompetence, Deficient Charting, and Deceptive/Sensational Statements". The board revoked Dr. Paul Whitcomb's license for two years effective August 31, 2009 and fined him $23,502.50 for the cost of its investigation. In its conclusions the chiropractic board stated the following:
"It may be considered a factor in mitigation that
respondent appears dedicated to relieving the suffering of fibromyalgia
patients and feels that he holds the key to their recovery. Any mitigation from
these noble feelings, though, is tempered by respondent's raging entrepreneurial
spirit. He engaged in extensive and hyperbolic efforts to market his "discoveries;"
he paid commissions to employees and former patients who brought in patients; he
insisted that patients pay for treatments in advance and in cash; he charged
patients $62.50 for each of multiple daily adjustments; he was reluctant and
slow to return monies when patients left before completing their treatment; and
he charged patients approximately $1,000 for a week of monitoring their
conditions once he determined they were well. On balance, respondent's devotion
to relieving the suffering fibromyalgia patients does not mitigate his conduct."