Friday, August 8, 2008

Chiropractors get cross

On the face of it chiropractic is one of the most plausible alternative therapies. Practitioners are regulated by act of parliament, there is even actual evidence that it is more effective than placebo (something which escapes homeopathy and most other alternative therapies). So why has the New Zealand Chiropractors' Association threatened the NZ Medical Journal with legal action?

I think this needs some background. Chiropractic is not based on science, in fact it is based on a rather bizarre set of ideas, principal amongst which is that you can cure many if indeed not all ailments by manipulating the spine. They have some proper evidence that it is more than just placebo - but only for back pain (and possibly headaches, but the evidence is equivocal for that). It isn't really surprising that manipulating the spine could have an effect on back pain. The bad news for chiropractics is that there is no evidence of it working for anything else, and even for back pain it is no more effective than conventional treatment. For these reasons chiropractors are not allowed to call themselves Doctor, at least where this implies they are a medical doctor.

This is law, by the way, at least in the UK and NZ. It appears that a lot of chiropractors in NZ are ignoring this law. The NZ Medical Journal published this article (and another) exposing and excoriating the illegal practice, and the NZ Chiropractors promptly sent a nasty letter. This has been published and rebuffed(pdf) by the esteemed organ with the brilliant soundbite: "let's hear your evidence not your legal muscle".

Could you ask for anything more inspiring to prompt a first blog post?


Dr* T said...

Welcome to Blogopolis :)
You'll become addicted like the rest of us, no doubt.


Anonymous said...

Nice work Norbury. No messing about - you made your points and you made them concisely. Good stuff.


Jon said...

Added you into the list of blogs covering this issue and look forward to reading more.

Norbury said...

Thanks Jon, glad I made a favourable impression with my first post! I'll have to try and keep it up.

Chiropractor said...

You got the point. Chiropractor is the treatment to day. Many have proven that. Nice article. I will be visiting this site very often.

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