Pamphlets from Allen Unruh, D.C., 1984-1992

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
July 10, 2020

Allen D. Unruh, D.C. (1948– ) has been a prolific communicator and political activist throughout his chiropractic career. After graduating from National College of Chiropractic in 1970, he began practicing in Elkton, South Dakota and relocated to Sioux Falls, SD in 1976 [1]. His father was a naturopath [2]. In the 1980s, he began marketing educational pamphlets that chiropractors could use in their offices. Over a 20-year period, at least 60 such pamphlets were published by him; Complete Health Communications (CHC), Inc.; and/or Unruh Publications. In the mid-1980s, CHC also offered educational tapes for chiropractors and a set of 53 editable newspaper columns.

Unlike most pamphleteers of his day, Unruh promoted conservative musculoskeletal care, targeted exercises, and dietary improvement and rarely made subluxation-based claims that chiropractic care improves general health and is effective against from a wide range of diseases. However, his pamphlet on The effects of spinal misalignment asserted:

Few realize that pinched nerves in the spine can  be a contributing or primary cause of almost any ailment. . . .

For instance, misalignment in the neck region can disturb nerve function, resulting in headache, nervousness, insomnia, high blood pressure, chronic tiredness, dizziness, sinus trouble, eye trouble, ear trouble, neuritis, chronic cough, sore throat, stiff neck, pain in the upper arms, or bursitis. Many patients take all kinds of medication for these symptoms, not realizing the cause of the problems is in the neck.

Misalignments in the mid-back can disturb nerve function, resulting in asthma and difficult breathing, functional heart conditions, gallbladder condition s, liver conditions, poor circulation, arthritis, stomach trouble, indigestion, heartburn and dyspepsia and gastritis, kidney trouble, chronic tiredness, skin conditions, and gas pain .

Misalignments in the lower back can cause constipation, colitis, diarrhea, cramps, bladder trouble, menstrual trouble such as painful or irregular periods, change of life symptoms, bed wetting, many knee pains, sciatica, backaches, difficult, painful or too frequent urination, poor circulation in the legs, swollen ankles, weakness in the legs, and leg cramps, or sacro-iliac conditions and pain at the end of the spine on sitting.

A few other pamphlets promoted chiropractic as generally equivalent or superior to medical care. For example:

  • Geriatrics and Chiropractic asserts that “millions have found chiropractic as safe and effective alternative to taking strong medication that their body is sensitive to, especially in later years. Chiropractic adds more years to your life and more life and more life to your years.”
  • IS MEDICINE SCIENTIFIC falsely implies that most drugs are ineffective and asserted that medical practice in America is “full of priests and rituals and beliefs, but the evidence is clear that there is no scientific base.”
  • Chiropractic for medical failure cases asks, “How much would the public health be improved, and the percentage of drug-induced illness be prevented  if only our nation’s sick would consult chiropractors first instead of last?”
  • Maybe you need a second opinion by a Chiropractor advises that “when your doctor’s advice and treatment does not give you the results you want, it may be wise to get a second opinion by a chiropractor.”
  • Chiropractic: the safest healing profession known to man claims that, “The gentle manipulative therapy chiropractors provide has resulted in severe side effects only in the rarest circumstances.”

Four other pamphlets were not flamboyant but implied that chiropractors were especially qualified to deal with the causes of various pains:

  • Pain—An angel in disguise
  • What to do for muscle spasms
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Illness as a Teacher

To access the full text of these pamphlets, descriptions of Unruh’s other materials, and how they were marketed to chiropractors, click here.

  1. Meet Dr. Allan Unruh. A. Unruh Chiropractic Clinic website, accessed July 10, 2020.
  2. Who’s Who in Chiropractic International, 1980, pp 244-245.