Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chiropractors Admit Their Treatments Are Based On False And Outdated Beliefs

For whatever reason, most anti-vaccinationists are also staunch supporters of chiropractic treatment for anything that ails the human body.  I suspect this has to do with them wanting to find "alternative" treatments to common diseases and medical issues and somehow believing that manipulating or pushing on a spine is somehow superior to surgery or pharmaceuticals (even if they have no peer-reviewed data to support such a viewpoint).

More times than not, these are the types of people who display a complete disregard for the scientific method and never seem to particularly care that there has yet to be a single reputable, peer-reviewed study proving chiropractic subluxations even exist or that chiropractic manipulations can effectively treat any problem other than routine lower back pain.

The fact is, many of these alternative health proponents believe what chiropractors tell them to believe, and they don't feel they need any of that pesky science to support their opinions.  However, for those of us who don't wish to remain blinded by ignorance, there is a growing mountain of evidence which continues to show chiropractic care for what it is... nothing more than a modern version of snake-oil.

Case in point there was even an article written and published in the journal Chiropractic and Osteopathy which went into great detail about how chiropractic treatments are based upon false and outdated beliefs.  The real kicker about this article was the fact it was written by four chiropractors, which pretty much serves as a preemptive strike against the alt-med typical defense that "mainstream medicine tries to silence chiropractors".

In any case the article that references these developments can be found here and the published article that appears in the journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy appears here.  Although both the article and the paper itself are informative, here are a few highlights:

In the 114 years since chiropractic began, the existence of chiropractic subluxations has never been objectively demonstrated. They have never been shown to cause interference with the nervous system. They have never been shown to cause disease. Critics of chiropractic have been pointing this out for decades, but now chiropractors themselves have come to the same conclusion.
There is a significant lack of evidence in the literature to fulfill Hill’s criteria of causation as regards chiropractic subluxation. No supportive evidence is found for the chiropractic subluxation being associated with any disease process or of creating suboptimal health conditions requiring intervention. Regardless of popular appeal this leaves the subluxation construct in the realm of unsupported speculation. This lack of supportive evidence suggests the subluxation construct has no valid clinical applicability.
In two recent studies cited in the Mirtz et al. article, 98% of chiropractors believed that “most” or “many” diseases were caused by spinal misalignments and over 75% of chiropractors believed that subluxation was a significant contributing factor to 50% or more of visceral disorders (such as asthma and colic), an implausible idea that is not supported by any evidence whatsoever.

So with all that said, am I suggesting we should ban all chiropractors from practicing whatever it is they do?  Not at all.  I just believe chiropractors need to be honest about what they can and cannot do.  They may be able to help with minor joint pain and they may be able to assist with back or next pain (albeit not any better than a massage therapist or occupational therapist in most cases).

What I have a problem with is the "crackpot" self-proclaimed doctors out there who think a couple of years of chiropractic school means they can cure disease or serious medical conditions merely by adjusting a spine or cracking a back.  I have seen chiropractors claim they can treat conditions ranging from autism or cancer to heart disease and sadly many of the alternative medicine proponents never stop to ask why there are no peer-reviewed studies proving these treatments work or why there are no double-blind clinical trials proving chiropractic can actually cure or even treat these diseases.

The simple truth is, if chiropractic care had to undergo the same scrutiny as pharmaceuticals, the FDA would most likely have banned it years ago.

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