Sunday, March 21, 2010

Benefits of Chiropractic Care?

As most of you know, chiropractors in the UK are coming under the gun for making false, unscientific claims. This backlash was prompted by a suit launched by the British Chiropractic Association against Simon Singh. Singh's "crime"?—he suggested in an newspaper article that many claims by chiropractors were bogus.

If you want to support Simon Singh and support attempts to fix British libel laws go to the Sense About Science website: National Petition for Libel Law Reform.

The regulations governing chiropractors in North America are much more lax than those in the UK. Canadian and American chiropractors can make all sorts of claims about their treatment—claims that have no scientific evidence to support them—without incurring any penalties. Whereas British chiropractor websites have been take down for fear of prosecution, those in North America are still going strong.

I was reminded of this today when a chiropractor posted a comment on Canada's New Minister of State (Science and Technology) Is a Chiropractor. "Dr."1 Ross Carter included a link to his website, which advertises his private practice, so I had to delete the comment and replace it with a modified version.

Just for fun, here's some of the clams that are posted on According to Ross Carter, chiropractic care can help with a lot of problems such as ...
  • For pregnant women, they are able to deliver much easier.
  • For babies, they have improved developmental abilities and prevent the possibility of acquiring scoliosis.
  • For kids, it helps prevent asthma, ear infection, bedwetting, among other things.
  • For adults, they are able to generate more energy and increase productivity.
  • For senior individuals, they attain better balance and prevent injury caused by falling off.
I don't think any of these claims would be allowed in the UK.

1. British chiropractors are not allowed to imply that they are medical doctors.


  1. It's disappointing to hear that the regulation of chiros is even more lax in North America than it is over here.

    Just a minor point about prosecution of chiros for making false claims. The statutory regulatory body in the UK, the GCC, has nothing to say about the efficacy of any chiro treatment although their Code of Practice does waffle about 'Evidence-based care', what it comes down to is that what they can claim on their websites and in any advertising is that which is acceptable to the Advertising Standards Association.

    The ASA is a pseudo-voluntary industry association funded by a compulsory levy on marketing budgets. However, they are only swayed by robust scientific evidence, but they have no statutory powers.

    For whatever reason, the GCC's CoP ties chiros to the ASA's guidance so, in terms of claims, this self-styled 'primary health profession' is actually regulated by a body paid for from marketing budgets!

    So, my complaints are being dealt with by the GCC and not in a court of law.

    Are you sure North America is worse off??? :-)

    If you want to find out more about my 524 complaints against chiros, see my blog:

  2. Do our regs explicitly allow this BS or have chiros just not been challenged like they have been in the UK? Is there any Canadian regulatory body that we can complain/report to if we think a chiro is making unsupported claims?

  3. One of my recent posts touching on chiropractic points to this paper: (PDF file)

    which shows positive support at a high level of evidence for only one claim: treatment for chronic low back pain using spinal manipulation/mobilisation. Nothing else made the cut, including several that you've listed.

    About the US chiropractic websites, many of them show near identical “information” pages, and nothing at all about what specific treatments they offer, prompting me to ask one commenter if these information pages were issued from a central source (as seems like). It makes me wonder if the US chiropractors are watching and feeling a tad wary-?

    (I've had no reply from the commenter.)

  4. Grant

    Thanks for the link to the final Bronfort report - I had only seen the unformatted version.

    In the UK, many chiros use a standard website package customised to suit their own needs. This means that a lot of the information is common. I wonder if that's what you're seeing?

    I hadn't come across your blog before, but I'm about to have a browse...

  5. Chiropractic treatment is one of the best methods for treating numerous health problems naturally. After years of experience being a chiropractor, I have found that it is a powerful way to solve many pain conditions, like headaches, neck pain and back pain, as well as many non-pain condition as well, such as fatigue, sleep problems, and sinus problems.
    Chiropractor Dacula

  6. I don't suppose you have any evidence for all those claims, do you? Other than anecdotes, that is.

  7. treating numerous health problems naturally.

    What, exactly, is "natural" about somebody pulling on somebody else's spine and neck?

  8. I'd like to see the study that demonstrated the efficacy of vertebral manipulations for sinus infections.

  9. "I'd like to see the study that demonstrated the efficacy of vertebral manipulations for sinus infections."

    It's called the placebo effect? But I agree that chiropracters are in the area of brain pills at the vitamin store, ok fine, it might possibly do some good, but if not let us hope they donated their body to science.

  10. The most important factor to consider when choosing a chiropractor is probably the treatment methods that he or she utilizes.


  11. In a comment that advertised a chiropractic practice (and was therefore deleted) Chiropractic says,

    The most important factor to consider when choosing a chiropractor is probably the treatment methods that he or she utilizes.

    That's exactly right. Chirpopractors who associate themselves with pseudoscientific nonsense should be avoided.

    The practice that "Chiropractic" advertized is in Adelaide, Australia and the website says that Walkerville Chiropractic can help with: "asthma," "indigestion," and "period pain."

    That's enough to enable me to draw a conclusion.

  12. Hey I can still see the post from "Chiropractic"? Agree with you on this (as well as with your thoughts on Chiro regulation) - can see why you don't want a link in a comment

  13. Ever treated a patient with fibromyalgia??

  14. someone from Phoenix Chiropractor asks,

    Ever treated a patient with fibromyalgia??

    No. I usually leave treatments of such conditions to real physicians. They may recommend therapies such as the ones performed at your clinic. (But hopefully not acupuncture.)

    Have you ever been a scientist?

  15. You guys are hysterical. There's a book titled, "Chiropractic and Spinal Research," by Tedd Koren. It's full of case studies on chiropractic care. If this is what you believe about chiropractors, what to you believe about Western medicine and traditional M.D.'s? I'd like to see some research backing up their techniques. Do you know that the third greatest preventable death comes from prescription drugs given incorrectly by doctors? Good luck with your health.

    Also, it's hysterical that the comments here are all approved by the blog author.