Chiropractors, Therapists Keep Battling 9/8/03 By Mark Friedman, Arkansas Business

Chiropractors declare "It's time to take the gloves off" in an attempt to limit the scope of physical therapy practice.

My name is Michael Teston, and I am a licensed physical therapist practicing in Little Rock, Arkansas. I put this web site together so that other licensed physical therapists would be aware of what is happening to our profession.

The Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners (Chiropractic Board) decided in a board hearing that some basic physical therapy treatments that we learned in school and use on a daily basis are only to be performed by licensed chiropractors. Therefore, when we perform these basic treatments as licensed physical therapists the Chiropractic Board says we are violating the Chiropractic Practice Act and are guilty of practicing chiropractic without a license.

So, why should we care what the Chiropractic Board declares about our physical therapy practices? In 2001, the Arkansas Legislators gave the Chiropractic Board the authority to levy fines as high as $5,000 per violation, with each treatment on a patient being considered a violation. The Legislators also gave the Chiropractic Board the authority to enforce these fines in the Circuit Court.

I know all about this issue because in August 2002 I received a notice that the Chiropractic Board was conducting a hearing to determine whether or not I had practiced chiropractic without a license. The Chiropractic Board claimed violations based on a statement by a patient who I had treated over a year earlier and based on a statement by a private investigator that the Chiropractic Board paid to seek treatment in my clinic.

The Chiropractic Board held their hearing on December 10, 2002, even though my lawyer supplied them with a Declaratory Order from the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy informing them that I had not practiced outside the scope of Physical Therapy as defined by the Arkansas Physical Therapy Practice Act.

The Chiropractic Board heard seven hours of testimony, including four expert physical therapy witnesses. The Chiropractic Board presented three witnesses. In addition to the two former patients, there was testimony by a chiropractor with a physical therapy license from the State of Maryland who admitted that he had not even read the Arkansas Practice Acts.

The Chiropractic Board deliberated for less than five minutes and declared that I was guilty of practicing chiropractic without a license and fined me $10,000. The Chiropractic Board based its decision on testimony of its witnesses that a Chiropractic procedure had been administered if there was an audible noise.

This limitation of our scope of practice is obviously the Chiropractic Board’s goal with this decision, because they reported to the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards that their number one achievement in 2002 was fining me, as a physical therapist, $10,000 for practicing chiropractic without a license. The Chiropractic Board also reported that one of their biggest challenges for 2003 is to continue to discourage physical therapists from performing procedures that the chiropractors consider to be chiropractic. You can see the Chiropractic Board’s report at: At the 2005 meeting of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards they reported, "This is a landmark decision, which will help in protecting the practice of chiropractic from physical therapist that want to perform manipulation".

In order to prevent the Chiropractic Board from limiting our scope of practice as defined by the Arkansas Physical Therapy Practice Act we have to make sure the order filed against me is overturned.

On September 18, 2003 our lawyers argued before the Circuit Court that the chiropractic order was unconstitutional and should be overturned. On September 19, 2003 the Circuit Court Judge upheld the chiropractic order. On April 7th, 2005 the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the ASBCE's ruling. (Ark Supreme Court ruling). We petitioned for a rehearing on April 25th, 2005. (Petition for rehearing) The ASCBE responded to our petition for rehearing on 5/3/05. The Arkansas Supreme Court denied the request for rehearing on 5/12/05. The United States Supreme Court denied hearing our case on October 17th, 2005.

In January of 2006 a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and to Stay Enforcement of Penalty against Teston was filed and later amended. In May 2006, Judge Moody allowed the case to go forward, despite the ASBCE’s request for dismissal, but he refused to stay the enforcement of penalty against Teston. The case is set to be heard before Judge Jay Moody on July 30th, 2007.

We have to stop the chiropractors NOW. We cannot just sit back and assume someone else is going to take care of this. We have to unite and show them that we are NOT going to let them roll right over us and prevent us from practicing physical therapy as it is defined it in our practice act.


Thank you,

You can reach me at

Trial Transcript: chiro.pdf
ASBCE Ruling: Chiro Bd Ruling.pdf
ASBCE Goals: asbcegoals.pdf
Arkansas Chiropractic Association Legislative Review 2003: acareview.pdf
Appeal Brief: appealbrief.pdf
Chiropractic Board Reply: chiroresponse.pdf (7MB)
Circuit Court Final Order: circuitcourtorder.pdf
Petition of Writ of Certiorari Question: Petition.doc
Arkansas Supreme Court Appeal Brief: briefgillelrodragonvol1.pdf
Amicus From the Federation Of State Boards of PT: amicusfederation.pdf
Amicus From the Arkansas State Board of PT: AmicusarkandsasboardofPT.pdf
Amicus From the APTA: Amicusamericanptassoc.pdf
Reply Brief From State of Arkansas: replybriefarkchiroboard.pdf
Amicus From the International Chiro Association: Amicusinternationalchiro.pdf
Amicus From the American Chiro Association: amicusamericanchiroassoc.pdf
Final Reply Brief: FinalReplyBrief.pdf
Writ of Certiorari Denial: denial.jpg
Amended Complaint: 01-16-07 (8).pdf
ASBPT Answer to Amended Complaint: AnswerPTbdofComp2265B9.pdf
ASBCE Answer to Amended Complaint: AnswerChiroBdofC2269EB.pdf