What alternative health

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Ask for evidence

 

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"…we surely stick out like a sore thumb among professions which claim to be scientifically based by our unrelenting commitment to vitalism. So long as we propound the 'one cause, one cure' rhetoric of Innate, we should expect to be met by ridicule from the wider health science community. Chiropractors can't have it both ways. Our theories cannot be both dogmatically held vitalistic constructs and be scientific at the same time."

Joseph Keating Jr, 'The Meanings of Innate', Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 46,1 (2002), p.10.

 

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Bearing in mind that the requirement to explain risks to patients has the potential to affect a chiropractor's income, it is interesting to note a revealing comment which was made at an inquest in Canada which involved a chiropractor who had allegedly caused a patient to suffer a stroke through neck manipulation. When pressed as to why he wasn't telling his patients about the 'potentially catastrophic injuries and death' which may result from neck manipulation, he said that if he were to tell patients that "I can kill you", then "half of them would walk out". (Chirowatch) [Use 'Edit' then 'Find on This Page' to locate quote]

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultation on Chiropractic, from which the 2005 guidelines contained in this link evolved, took place in Milan, Italy, on 2-4 December 2004. Of the 27 listed participants, 18 appear to be professionally involved with either chiropractic or Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Under the heading 'Philosophy and basic theories of chiropractic' (Section 1.2) it is stated: "A majority of practitioners within the profession would maintain that the philosophy of chiropractic includes, but is not limited to, holism, vitalism, naturalism… Significant neurophysiological consequences may occur as a result of mechanical spinal functional disturbances, described by chiropractors as subluxation and the Vertebral Subluxation Complex". [pdf]

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In June 2005, following "two years intensive work", the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) finally reached agreement on "the most appropriate public identity" for the chiropractic profession: "The spinal health care experts in the health care system". However, as this new identity appears to make provision for the continued use of a number of pseudoscientific chiropractic practices, including vitalistic subluxation-based practices, is it likely to convey anything meaningful or reassuring to the public? NOTE: In order to make fully informed choices about their health care consumers have the right to be told that the practice of real chiropractic is built on the belief of a fictional lesion — the chiropractic subluxation — and its unproven deterimental effects on human health. Further, consumers have a right to be told that, even when unstated or denied, the concept of subluxation is still very much fundamental to the practices of many chiropractors in the UK and elsewhere.

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A critical study of chiropractic (its history and methods) in its relationship with past and present-day medical science, along with analyses, conclusions, and speculation regarding its status and its future. Updated in 2000 with a postscript 'Chiropractic Today' which concludes "Patients seeking chiropractic manipulation for back pain will have to learn how to make an informed choice if they are to avoid inappropriate treatment by chiropractors". Book by Samuel Homola, DC (Chirobase)

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"NCAHF believes that a health care delivery system as confused and poorly regulated as is chiropractic constitutes a major consumer health problem." The paper concludes with an extensive range of recommendations. (National Council Against Health Fraud)

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How to recognise safe and scientific manual therapy. Guidelines from the Canadian Orthopractic Manual Therapy Association

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In a survey examining the longevity of chiropractors vs. general population vs. MDs the lifespans of chiropractors turned out to be the lowest of the three groups. Lon Morgan, DC, DABCO, Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association [PDF]

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An opinion from Samuel Homola, D.C., regarding the proposed new chiropractic school at Florida State University in the United States. [UPDATE: On 27th January 2005 the Florida Board of Governors voted to deny the approval of a chiropractic program at Florida State University] Quackfiles.blogspot.com

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"We do not know if chiropractic is anything positive for our health and negative indicators are growing." Article by Howard Fienberg, STATS (Statistical Assessment Service — a non-profit, non-partisan organisation which monitors the media to expose the abuse of science and statistics before people are misled and public policy is distorted)

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Foreword to George Magner's book written by William T. Jarvis, PhD. (Quackwatch) NOTE: On the issue of informed choice, George Magner writes on page 178 of his book that "If relevant information is withheld (a covert lie), or if false information is supplied (an overt lie), there is deception. Under such conditions, treatment is administered under false pretences. Deceived patients are not able to choose freely. Only an informed choice is a free choice. Chiropractors who preempt their patients' ability to choose betray their trust and set them up for possible physical and psychological catastrophe."

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"Chiropractors almost never accept or react constructively to criticism. When specific wrongdoings are exposed, they typically claim that their critics are biased, the criticism is unbalanced, and that the medical profession does things that are much worse." Here, a well-reasoned criticism of chiropractic quackery triggers an angry response from the profession. (The response from the programme's producers is also included.) By Stephen Barrett, MD, National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF)

Watch the PBS broadcast (Scientific American Frontiers’ documentary called 'Adjusting the joints).  It features an ex-chiropractor, John Badanes, who challenges the claims of his former colleagues. (Scroll to 3rd link down)  Also available to view on YouTube here.

Read responses to some of the questions from viewers forwarded to John Badanes by the producers of A Different Way to Heal? after the show aired nationally in the United States in June of 2002.  [Background: John Badanes trained as a chiropractor at Life Chiropractic College West (LCCW) in San Lorenzo, California, and graduated summa cum laude in 1984. He is now committed to science-based intervention and has sharpened his criticism of the arbitrary diagnostic and therapeutic methods that proliferate within the chiropractic profession and characterise ‘alternative’ medicine.]

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"Modern chiropractic theory, if it exists, is double-talk that attempts to cling to "subluxation" theory while pretending to have abandoned it. The actual reality is that chiropractors cannot agree among themselves about what they believe or should believe." Analysis by Stephen Barrett, MD (Chirobase)

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Contemporary ethical issues in chiropractic. Article by J. C. Smith, DC (Journal of Chiropractic Humanities) [pdf]

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"The validity of chiropractors' X-ray diagnoses is not well established. Small vertebral displacements or malalignments have no proven clinical relevance, dynamic studies have no proven value, and plain radiographs yield little relevant biomechanical information… In conclusion, the current, albeit incomplete, data suggest an overuse of spinal radiography by the chiropractic profession." E. Ernst, MD, PhD, The British Journal of Radiology [pdf]

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"An article written by 3 chiropractors and a PhD in physical education and published on December 2, 2009 in the journal Chiropractic and Osteopathy may have sounded the death knell for chiropractic… The chiropractic emperor has no clothes, and now even some chiropractors have realized that. This study should mark the beginning of the end for chiropractic, but it won't. Superstition never dies, particularly when it is essential to livelihood." Article by Harriet Hall, MD, Science Based Medicine (11th December 2009)

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"There is no medically proven benefit whatsoever to chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine… As practiced today, chiropractic is a threat to public health. In an age where phenomenal medical discoveries have improved the health and extended average longevity to almost 80 years, chiropractic remains a holdover from the days of the snake oil salesmen. Every year trusting and naïve Americans suffer needless injury and death due to dangerous cervical spine manipulation." Article by J. D. Haines, MD, Skeptic Magazine (21st October 2009)

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"One of the things that's always puzzled me about the anti-vax movement is why people are motivated to rail against something with so much supportive evidence. Sure, there are legions of misinformed parents who think they're helping society by decrying the vaccination conspiracy, and there are certainly those that have experienced personal loss due to the very, very, rare negative side effects of vaccination. But Chiropractor Dr. Chad Rohlfsen illustrates in abundance what I think might be the primary motive for anti-vaccine rhetoric, and that is pure, simple, banal greed." Jeff Wagg, James Randi Educational Foundation (30th September 2009)