Throughout its history, chiropractic has been the subject of internal and external controversy and criticism. According to magnetic healer Daniel D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, "vertebral subluxation" was the sole cause of all diseases and manipulation was the cure for all disease. A 2003 profession-wide survey found "most chiropractors (whether 'straights' or 'mixers') still hold views of Innate Intelligence and of the cause and cure of disease (not just back pain) consistent with those of the Palmers". A critical evaluation stated "Chiropractic is rooted in mystical concepts. This led to an internal conflict within the chiropractic profession, which continues today." Chiropractors, including D.D. Palmer, were jailed for practicing medicine without a license. D.D. Palmer considered establishing chiropractic as a religion to resolve this problem. For most of its existence, chiropractic has battled with mainstream medicine, sustained by antiscientific and pseudoscientific ideas such as subluxation.
Chiropractic researchers have documented that fraud, abuse and quackery are more prevalent in chiropractic than in other health care professions. Unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of chiropractic have continued to be made by individual chiropractors and chiropractic associations. The core concept of traditional chiropractic, vertebral subluxation, is not based on sound science. Collectively, systematic reviews have not demonstrated that spinal manipulation, the main treatment method employed by chiropractors, was effective for any medical condition, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. Spinal manipulation, particularly of the upper spine, can, rarely, cause complications in adults and children that can cause permanent disability or death.
In 2008, Simon Singh was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for criticizing their activities in a column in The Guardian. A preliminary hearing took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in front of judge David Eady. The judge held that merely using the phrase "happily promotes bogus treatments" meant that he was stating, as a matter of fact, that the British Chiropractic Association was being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for treating the children's ailments in question. An editorial in Nature has suggested that the BCA may be trying to suppress debate and that this use of British libel law is a burden on the right to freedom of expression, which is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. The libel case ended with the BCA withdrawing its suit in 2010.
Chiropractors historically were strongly opposed to vaccination based on their belief that all diseases were traceable to causes in the spine, and therefore could not be affected by vaccines. Some chiropractors continue to be opposed to vaccination. Early opposition to water fluoridation included chiropractors in the U.S. Some chiropractors opposed water fluoridation as being incompatible with chiropractic philosophy and an infringement of personal freedom. More recently, other chiropractors have actively promoted fluoridation, and several chiropractic organizations have endorsed scientific principles of public health.
Historical controversy and critical elementsEdit
The birth of chiropractic was on September 18, 1895. There is controversy over what happened with several different accounts. Daniel D. Palmer later claimed that on that day he manipulated the spine of Harvey Lillard, a man who was nearly deaf, allegedly curing him of deafness. Palmer said "there was nothing accidental about this, as it was accomplished with an object in view, and the expected result was obtained. There was nothing 'crude' about this adjustment; it was specific so much so that no chiropractor has equaled it."
However, this version was disputed by Lillard's daughter, Valdeenia Lillard Simons. She said that her father told her that he was telling jokes to a friend in the hall outside Palmer's office and Palmer, who had been reading, joined them. When Lillard reached the punch line, Palmer, laughing heartily, slapped Lillard on the back with the hand holding the heavy book he had been reading. A few days later, Lillard told Palmer that his hearing seemed better. Palmer then decided to explore manipulation as an expansion of his magnetic healing practice. Simons said "the compact was that if they can make [something of] it, then they both would share. But, it didn't happen."
In spite of the fact that Lillard could hear well enough to tell jokes, B.J. Palmer claimed under sworn testimony that Lillard had been "thoroughly deaf". Since 1895, the story of Palmer's curing a man of deafness has been a part of chiropractic tradition. Palmer's account differs significantly from what actually happened, in that, according to Lillard's daughter, his improved hearing was likely caused by an accidentally fortuitous jarring of Lillard's body and not, as claimed by D.D. Palmer, caused by a "specific" adjustment. It was after this event that Palmer began to experiment with manipulation. He also claimed that his second patient, a man with heart disease, was also cured by spinal manipulation.
Chiropractic included vitalistic ideas of Innate Intelligence with religious attributes of Universal Intelligence as substitutes for science. Evidence suggests that D.D. Palmer had acquired knowledge of manipulative techniques from Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy. Although D.D. Palmer combined bonesetting to give chiropractic its method, and "magnetic healing" for the theory, he acknowledged a special relation to magnetic healing when he wrote, "chiropractic was not evolved from medicine or any other method, except that of magnetic." He also "claimed that his profession had nothing to do with medicine, that he healed by the laying on of hands;... He also said that he had a diploma from no earthly school but from High Heaven."
According to D.D. Palmer, subluxation was the sole cause of all diseases and manipulation was the cure for all diseases of the human race. A 2003 profession-wide survey found "most chiropractors (whether "straights" or "mixers") still hold views of Innate and of the cause and cure of disease (not just back pain) consistent with those of the Palmers. On one hand, modern promotional brochures make a bid for medical legitimacy by describing Innate and adjustments using more scientific-sounding terms such as "inherent" and "nerve force.""
Chiropractic has had a strong salesmanship element since it was started by D.D. Palmer. His son, B.J. Palmer, asserted that their chiropractic school was founded on "...a business, not a professional basis. We manufacture chiropractors. We teach them the idea and then we show them how to sell it". D.D. Palmer established a magnetic healing facility in Davenport, Iowa, styling himself 'doctor'. Not everyone was convinced, as a local paper in 1894 wrote about him:
- A crank on magnetism has a crazy notion that he can cure the sick and crippled with his magnetic hands. His victims are the weak-minded, ignorant and superstitious, those foolish people who have been sick for years and have become tired of the regular physician and want health by the short-cut method…he has certainly profited by the ignorance of his victims…His increase in business shows what can be done in Davenport, even by a quack.
Before adopting the term "chiropractic" in about 1896, his advertising used the term "magnetic". In 1891–92, a city business directory stated: "Dr. Palmer can cure with his Magnetic Hands Diseases of the Head, Throat, Heart, Lungs, Stomach, Liver, Spleen, Kidneys, Nerves, and Muscles, ten times quicker than any one can with medicines."
- Give me a simple mind that thinks along single tracts, give me 30 days to instruct him, and that individual can go forth on the highways and byways and get more sick people well than the best, most complete, all around, unlimited medical education of any medical man who ever lived.
Chiropractic was rooted in mystical concepts, leading to internal conflicts between straights and mixers which still persist. It has two main groups: "straights", now the minority, emphasize vitalism, innate intelligence and spinal adjustments, and consider subluxations to be the leading cause of all disease; "mixers" are more open to mainstream and alternative medical techniques such as exercise, massage, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture. The straights adhere religiously to the gospel of its founders while mixers are more open. There is a lack of uniformity and consensus among chiropractors in regard to their role. Depending upon whose point of view, chiropractors are, for example, subluxation-correctors, primary care physicians, neuromusculoskeletal specialists, or holistic health specialists. Straights have claimed mixers are not real chiropractors because they do not acknowledge Palmer's foundation of chiropractic therapy.
In 1906, D.D. Palmer was the first of hundreds of chiropractors who went to jail. Chiropractors were jailed for practicing medicine without a license. In the 1920s hundreds of unlicensed chiropractors chose jail rather than fines. Herbert Reaver was the most jailed chiropractor in the U.S. Chiropractors were charged with not complying with the medical practice act. California chiropractors adopted the motto, "Go to jail for chiropractic." 450 chiropractors were jailed in a single year at the peak of the controversy. Many chiropractors treated fellow prisoners and visiting patients while in jail.
D.D. Palmer defined chiropractic as "a science of healing without drugs" and considered establishing chiropractic as a religion as a means to use religious "exemption clauses" to resolve legal difficulties presented by restrictive "chiro laws". In 1911, he stated (emphasis in original):
- You ask, what I think will be the final outcome of our law getting. It will be that we will have to build a boat similar to Christian Science and hoist a religious flag. I have received chiropractic from the other world, similar as did Mrs. Eddy. No other one has laid claim to that, NOT EVEN B.J.
- Exemption clauses instead of chiro laws by all means, and LET THAT EXEMPTION BE THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE OUR RELIGION. But we must have a religious head, one who is the founder, as did Christ, Mohamed, Jo. Smith, Mrs. Eddy, Martin Luther and others who have founded religions. I am the fountain head. I am the founder of chiropractic in its science, in its art, in its philosophy and in its religious phase. Now, if chiropractors desire to claim me as their head, their leader, the way is clear. My writings have been gradually steering in that direction until now it is time to assume that we have the same right to as has Christian Scientists.
Chiropractors have struggled with survival and identity during its formative years, including internal struggles between its leaders and colleges. For much of the history of the chiropractic profession chiropractors showed little interest in scientific research and regarded their principles and practices as valid. Despite heavy opposition by mainstream medicine, by the 1930s chiropractic was the largest alternative healing profession in the U.S. Long-standing American Medical Association (AMA) policies against chiropractic contributed to a lack of acceptance within mainstream public health. The AMA created the Committee on Quackery "to contain and eliminate chiropractic." Using the Committee on Quackery, efforts were made to prevent the participation of chiropractic in organized health care. In 1966 a policy passed by the AMA House of Delegates stating:
It is the position of the medical profession that chiropractic is an unscientific cult whose practitioners lack the necessary training and background to diagnose and treat human disease. Chiropractic constitutes a hazard to rational health care in the United States because of its substandard and unscientific education of its practitioners and their rigid adherence to an irrational, unscientific approach to disease causation.
The longstanding feud between chiropractors and medical doctors continued for decades. The AMA labeled chiropractic an "unscientific cult" in 1966, and until 1980 held that it was unethical for medical doctors to associate with "unscientific practitioners". This culminated in a landmark 1987 decision, Wilk v. AMA, in which the court found that the AMA had engaged in unreasonable restraint of trade and conspiracy, and which ended the AMA's de facto boycott of chiropractic. The rivalry was not solely with conventional medicine; many osteopaths proclaimed that chiropractic was a bastardized form of osteopathy.
Serious research to test chiropractic theories did not begin until the 1970s, and is continuing to be hampered by antiscientific and pseudoscientific ideas that sustained the profession in its long battle with organized medicine. By the mid-1990s there was a growing scholarly interest in chiropractic, which helped efforts to improve service quality and establish clinical guidelines that recommended manual therapies for acute low back pain. Some people believe chiropractic has little more than a placebo effect, while some randomized trials of spinal manipulation have supported its effectiveness for the treatment of (specifically) low back pain. There are several barriers between primary care physicians and chiropractors for having positive referral relationships which includes a lack of good communication. The medical establishment has not entirely accepted chiropractic care as mainstream. After 100 years, the chiropractic profession has failed to define a message that is understandable, credible, and scientifically valid. The future of chiropractic is uncertain due to the economic struggles and restrictions of the science and methods in chiropractic.
Chiropractic has seen considerable controversy within the profession over its philosophy. In connection with a controversial and divisive 2015 organizational split in the Australian chiropractic community, an article described the profession's long standing and current problems:
- The chiropractic profession is notorious for its infighting, with quarrels over the value of vaccination, the evidence or lack thereof to support the theory of subluxation and whether spinal adjustments should be performed on children.
Allegations of patricide connected with the death of D.D. PalmerEdit
The 2008 book Trick or Treatment states that in 1913 B.J. Palmer ran over his father, D.D. Palmer, during a homecoming parade at the Palmer School of Chiropractic. Weeks later D.D. Palmer died. The official cause of death was recorded as typhoid. The book Trick or Treatment indicated "it seems more likely that his death was a direct result of injuries caused by his son. Indeed there is speculation that this was not an accident, but rather a case of patricide." A 1999 documentary study suggests D.D. Palmer's widow may have also played a role in the patricide controversy. D.D. Palmer's attending physicians were persuaded to change their opinions about the main cause of death. Chiropractic historian Joseph C. Keating Jr. has described the attempted patricide of D.D. Palmer as a "myth" and "absurd on its face" and cites an eyewitness who recalled that D.D. was not struck by B.J.'s car, but rather, had stumbled. He also says that "Joy Loban, DC, executor of D. D.'s estate, voluntarily withdrew a civil suit claiming damages against B.J. Palmer, and that several grand juries repeatedly refused to bring criminal charges against the son." A 1969 article stated that in July 1913 at the Palmer School of Chiropractic B.J. Palmer:
insisted on leading the alumni procession, but was prohibited from doing so by the marshal of the parade, who was a student at the school. An altercation ensued. B.J. drove up in his automobile. Words passed between father and son. What happened after that depends on whom you believe. Daniel David claimed that B.J. struck him with his automobile, and D.D.'s friends and allies later produced affidavits of witnesses to prove it. B.J. flatly denied it, and produced many more affidavits to this effect than D.D.'s cohorts were able to muster.
Ethics and claimsEdit
A study of California disciplinary statistics during 1997–2000 reported 4.5 disciplinary actions per 1000 chiropractors per year, compared to 2.27 for medical doctors, and the incident rate for fraud was 9 times greater among chiropractors (1.99 per 1000 chiropractors per year) than among medical doctors (0.20). According to a 2006 Gallup Poll of U.S. adults, when asked how they would "rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields", chiropractic compared unfavorably with mainstream medicine. When chiropractic was rated, it "rated dead last amongst healthcare professions". While 84% of respondents considered nurses' ethics "very high" or "high", only 36% felt that way about chiropractors. Other healthcare professions ranged from 38% for psychiatrists, to 62% for dentists, 69% for other medical doctors, 71% for veterinarians, and 73% for druggists or pharmacists. Similar results were found in the 2003 Gallup Poll. Chiropractic authors have placed these results in perspective in articles, with one writing that "we were the least trusted and least believed health care discipline", and another writing that chiropractors who use unethical marketing methods "poison the well" for others in the profession, and that they "might be responsible for the negative opinion people have about the ethics of the chiropractic profession." Many chiropractors have sought to address their minor status within the U.S. medical community by attending practice-building seminars to assist chiropractors to persuade their patients of the efficacy of their treatments, increase their revenue, and boost their morale as unorthodox medical practitioners.
Historically the profession has often been accused of quackery, with the profession often responding negatively to such accusations. In its early days, the accusation of quackery was voiced in a 1913 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association: (p. 29)
- Chiropractic is a freak offshoot from osteopathy. Disease, say the chiropractors, is due to pressure on the spinal nerves; ergo it can be cured by 'adjusting' the spinal column. It is the sheerest quackery, and those who profess to teach it make their appeal to the cupidity of the ignorant. Its practice is in no sense a profession but a trade – and a trade that is potent for great harm. It is carried on almost exclusively by those of no education, ignorant of anatomy, ignorant even of the fundamental sciences on which the treatment of disease depends.
The view that chiropractic was a trade, rather than a profession, was stated clearly by B.J. Palmer, who asserted that chiropractic was founded on "a business, not a professional basis. We manufacture chiropractors. We teach them the idea and then we show them how to sell it".
In more modern times (1991), when the president of the ACA called accusations of quackery a "myth", chiropractic historian, Joseph C. Keating Jr. responded by calling his comments "absurd" and stated:
- The so-called 'quackery myth about chiropractic' is no myth ... the kernels of quackery (i.e., unsubstantiated and untested health remedies offered as "proven") are ubiquitous in this profession. I dare say that health misinformation (if not quackery) can be found in just about any issue of any chiropractic trade publication (and some of our research journals) and much of the promotional materials chiropractors disseminate to patients. The recent unsubstantiated claims of the ACA are exemplary [examples provided] ... It escapes me entirely how Dr. Downing, the ACA, MPI, and Dynamic Chiropractic can suggest that there is no quackery in chiropractic. Either these groups and individuals do not read the chiropractic literature or have no crap-detectors. I urge a reconsideration of advertising and promotion policies in chiropractic.
In an article on quackery, W. T. Jarvis has stated that "Non-scientific health care (e.g., acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy) is licensed by individual states. Practitioners use unscientific practices and deception on a public who, lacking complex health-care knowledge, must rely upon the trustworthiness of providers. Quackery not only harms people, it undermines the scientific enterprise and should be actively opposed by every scientist."
In a 2008 commentary, the chiropractic authors proposed that "the chiropractic profession has an obligation to actively divorce itself from metaphysical explanations of health and disease as well as to actively regulate itself in refusing to tolerate fraud, abuse and quackery, which are more rampant in our profession than in other healthcare professions", a situation which violates the social contract between patients and physicians. Such self-regulation "will dramatically increase the level of trust in and respect for the profession from society at large." Another chiropractic study documented that the largest chiropractic associations in the U.S. and Canada distributed patient brochures which contained unsubstantiated claims. Chiropractors, especially in America, have a reputation for unnecessarily treating patients. Sustained chiropractic care is promoted as a preventative tool but unnecessary manipulation could possibly present a risk to patients. Some chiropractors are concerned by the routine unjustified claims chiropractors have made. In English-speaking countries the majority of chiropractors and their associations appear to make efficacy claims that are unsupported by scientific evidence. Claims not supported by solid evidence were made about asthma, ear infection, earache, otitis media, and neck pain.
A 2009 chiropractic spinal manipulation review for infant colic stated "Some chiropractors claim that spinal manipulation is an effective treatment for infant colic but the "evidence fails to demonstrate the effectiveness of this treatment. It is concluded that the above claim is not based on convincing data from rigorous clinical trials."
Some New Zealand chiropractors appeared to have used the title "Doctor" in a New Zealand Yellow Pages telephone directory in a way that implied they are registered medical practitioners, when no evidence was presented it was true. In New Zealand, chiropractors are allowed to use the title 'doctor' when it is qualified to show that the title refers to their chiropractic role. A representative from the NZ Chiropractic Board states that entries in the Yellow Pages under the heading of "Chiropractors" fulfills this obligation when suitably qualified. If a chiropractor is not a registered medical practitioner, then the misuse of the title "Doctor" while working in healthcare will not comply with the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.
UK chiropractic organizations and their members make numerous claims which are not supported by scientific evidence. Many chiropractors adhere to ideas which are against science and most seemingly violate important principles of ethical behavior on a regular basis. The advice chiropractors gave to their patients is often misleading and dangerous. This situation, coupled with a backlash to the libel suit filed against Simon Singh, has inspired the filing of formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24-hour period, prompting the McTimoney Chiropractic Association to write to its members advising them to remove leaflets that make claims about whiplash and colic from their practice, to be wary of new patients and telephone inquiries, and telling their members: "If you have a website, take it down now" and "Finally, we strongly suggest you do not discuss this with others, especially patients."
On 19 April 2008, Simon Singh wrote a cautionary article about chiropractic therapies in The Guardian, which resulted in him being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. Singh wrote in The Guardian criticizing the claims made by chiropractors about the efficacy of spinal manipulation in treating childhood ailments, among other things. He suggested there was "not a jot" of evidence to support such interventions for these ailments, and argued that the British Chiropractic Association "happily promotes bogus treatments". Singh stated that he would "contest the action vigorously… There is an important issue of freedom of speech at stake." The article developed the theme of Singh's published book Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, making various claims about the usefulness of chiropractic. Commentators suggested this ruling could set a precedent to restrict freedom of speech to criticize alternative medicine. The charity Sense About Science launched a campaign to draw attention to this particular case. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes", which was signed by myriad signers representing science, journalism, publishing, arts, humanities, entertainment, skeptics, campaign groups and law. As of April 16, 2010[update], over 50,000 had signed. On April 1, 2010, in British Chiropractic Association v Singh Singh won his court appeal for the right to rely on the defense of fair comment. On April 15, 2010, the BCA officially withdrew its lawsuit, thus ending the case.
Evidence for safety and efficacyEdit
Evidence-based research into the efficacy of chiropractic techniques is motivated by concerns that are antithetical to its vitalistic origins. Not all the criticism, however, has origins in the medical profession. Some chiropractors are cautiously calling for reform. Evidence-based guidelines are supported by one end of an ideological continuum among chiropractors; the other end employs antiscientific reasoning and unsubstantiated claims that are ethically suspect when they let practitioners maintain their beliefs to patients' detriment.
It is widely held that chiropractic extends into areas of medicine beyond the limits of its efficacy. In the opinion of Samuel Homola, "A good chiropractor can do a lot to help you when you have mechanical-type back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. But until the chiropractic profession cleans up its act, and its colleges uniformly graduate properly limited chiropractors who specialize in neuromusculoskeletal problems, you'll have to exercise caution and informed judgment when seeking chiropractic care." Quackwatch is critical of chiropractic. Its founder, Stephen Barrett, has written that it is "absurd" to think that chiropractors are qualified to be primary care providers and considers applied kinesiology to be pseudoscience.
Chiropractic is a controversial health-care system that has been legalized throughout the United States and in several other countries. In the United States in 1984, roughly 10.7 million people made 163 million office visits to 30,000 chiropractors. More than three fourths of the states require insurance companies to include chiropractic services in health and accident policies. The federal government pays for limited chiropractic services under Medicare, Medicaid, and its vocational rehabilitation program, and the Internal Revenue Service allows a medical deduction for chiropractic services. Chiropractors cite such facts as evidence of "recognition." However, these are merely business statistics and legal arrangements that have nothing to do with chiropractic's scientific validity.
The efficacy and safety of spinal manipulation are uncertain. A 2008 review found that with the possible exception of chronic back pain, chiropractic manipulation has not been shown to be effective for any medical condition. The efficacy and safety of chiropractic for children are particularly doubtful. A 2009 review found that "the best evidence available to date fails to demonstrate clinically relevant benefits of chiropractic for paediatric patients, and some evidence even suggests that chiropractors can cause serious harm to children". According to David Colquhoun, chiropractic is no more effective than conventional treatment at its best, has a disadvantage of being "surrounded by gobbledygook about 'subluxations'", and, more seriously, it does kill patients occasionally.
A 2009 defense of chiropractic, written by chiropractor Alan Breen, stated there is consistent evidence that manual therapies such as chiropractic manipulations are "helpful and generally produce moderate but significant and sustained improvement for back pain" and dismissed the suggestion that chiropractic does more harm than good as "specious". The author admitted, however, the possibility that chiropractic manipulation can cause strokes and even death.
Although rare, spinal manipulation, particularly of the neck, can result in complications that lead to permanent disability or death. These events can occur in both adults and children. A 2010 systematic review found that numerous deaths since 1934 have been recorded after chiropractic neck manipulation typically associated with vertebral artery dissection.
chiropractors may X-ray the same patient several times a year, even though there is no clear evidence that X-rays will help the therapist treat the patient. X-rays can reveal neither the subluxations nor the innate intelligence associated with chiropractic philosophy, because they do not exist. There is no conceivable reason at all why X-raying the spine should help a straight chiropractor treat an ear infection, asthma or period pains. Most worrying of all, chiropractors generally require a full spine X-ray, which delivers a significant higher radiation dose than most other X-ray procedures.
Practice guidelines aim to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure, which increases cancer risk in proportion to the amount of radiation received. Research suggests that radiology instruction given at chiropractic schools worldwide is evidence-based, but that radiography is overused for low back pain.
Vertebral subluxation, the core concept of chiropractic, is not based on solid science. The concept of subluxation remains unsubstantiated and largely untested, and has been the subject of a debate about whether to keep it in the chiropractic paradigm that has lasted for decades. It has been argued that dogmatic commitment to subluxation is a significant barrier to chiropractic as a profession: it brings ridicule from the scientific community and perpetuates a marketing tradition in chiropractic that leads to charges of quackery.
Lon Morgan, DC, a reform chiropractor, expressed his view of Innate Intelligence this way: "Innate Intelligence clearly has its origins in borrowed mystical and occult practices of a bygone era. It remains untestable and unverifiable and has an unacceptably high penalty/benefit ratio for the chiropractic profession. The chiropractic concept of Innate Intelligence is an anachronistic holdover from a time when insufficient scientific understanding existed to explain human physiological processes. It is clearly religious in nature and must be considered harmful to normal scientific activity."
Chiropractic historian Joseph C. Keating Jr. articulated that "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. The purposiveness, consciousness and rigidity of the Palmers' Innate should be rejected."
Vaccination and water fluoridationEdit
Many forms of alternative medicine are based on philosophies that oppose vaccination and have practitioners who voice their opposition. These include some elements of the chiropractic community. The reasons for this negative vaccination view are complicated and rest, at least in part, on the early philosophies which shape the foundation of these professions. Chiropractors historically were strongly opposed to vaccination based on their belief that all diseases were traceable to causes in the spine, and therefore could not be affected by vaccines; D.D. Palmer wrote, "It is the very height of absurdity to strive to 'protect' any person from smallpox or any other malady by inoculating them with a filthy animal poison." Some chiropractors continue to be opposed to vaccination, one of the most effective public health measures in history. Many deny the eradication of smallpox and believed it was renamed monkeypox.
Some chiropractic groups still oppose attempts to limit or eliminate nonmedical exemptions to vaccination. In March 2015, the Oregon Chiropractic Association invited Andrew Wakefield, a discredited former doctor and chief author of a fraudulent research paper, to testify against Senate Bill 442, "a bill that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions from Oregon's school immunization law." The California Chiropractic Association lobbied against a 2015 bill ending belief exemptions for vaccines. They had also opposed a 2012 bill related to vaccination exemptions. On April 24, 2015, Wakefield received two standing ovations from the students at Life Chiropractic College West when he told them to oppose Senate Bill SB277, a bill which proposes limits on non-medical vaccine exemptions. Responding to his critics, he stated that "[i]t doesn't matter if I go to the grave discredited. I don't care what they say about me. In fact, I have nothing to lose now. This is such an important issue." Wakefield had previously been a featured speaker at a 2014 "California Jam" gathering of chiropractors, as well as a 2015 "California Jam" seminar, with continuing education credits, sponsored by Life Chiropractic College West.
In response to threatening activities by anti-vaccination activists, the California Medical Association (CMA) sent a warning letter to California Chiropractic Association President Brian Stenzler, whom they could document had encouraged the stalking of lobbyists who supported Senate Bill SB277. The CMA also filed a police report.
Early opposition to water fluoridation included chiropractors in the U.S. Some chiropractors oppose water fluoridation as being incompatible with chiropractic philosophy and an infringement of personal freedom. More recently, other chiropractors have actively promoted fluoridation, and several chiropractic organizations have endorsed scientific principles of public health.
Ownership of spinal manipulationEdit
While no single profession "owns" spinal manipulation (SM), and there is little consensus as to which profession should administer SM, chiropractors have expressed concern that orthodox medical physicians and physical therapists could "steal" SM procedures from chiropractors. Chiropractors regularly introduce bills into state legislatures to further prohibit non-chiropractors from performing SM, and they are opposed by physical therapist organizations. Two U.S. states (Washington and Arkansas) prohibit physical therapists from performing SM, while some states allow them to do it only if they have completed advanced training in SM. In the most restrictive states, SM is limited to chiropractors and medical physicians.
- Kaptchuk, TJ; Eisenberg, DM (November 1998). "Chiropractic: origins, controversies, and contributions". Archives of Internal Medicine. 158 (20): 2215–24. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.20.2215. ISSN 0003-9926. PMID 9818801.
- Jaroff, Leon (27 February 2002). "Back Off, Chiropractors!". Time. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Ernst, E (May 2008). "Chiropractic: a critical evaluation". Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 35 (5): 544–62. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.07.004. ISSN 0885-3924. PMID 18280103.
- Gunther Brown, Candy (July 7, 2014). "Chiropractic: Is it Nature, Medicine or Religion?". HuffPost.
- Palmer, Daniel (May 4, 1911), D. D. Palmer's Religion of Chiropractic (PDF), The Chiropractic Resource Organization, retrieved February 22, 2015
- Keating JC Jr; Cleveland CS III; Menke M (2005). "Chiropractic history: a primer" (PDF). Association for the History of Chiropractic. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
A significant and continuing barrier to scientific progress within chiropractic are the anti-scientific and pseudo-scientific ideas (Keating 1997b) which have sustained the profession throughout a century of intense struggle with political medicine. Chiropractors' tendency to assert the meaningfulness of various theories and methods as a counterpoint to allopathic charges of quackery has created a defensiveness which can make critical examination of chiropractic concepts difficult (Keating and Mootz 1989). One example of this conundrum is the continuing controversy about the presumptive target of DCs' adjustive interventions: subluxation (Gatterman 1995; Leach 1994).
- Murphy, DR; Schneider, MJ; Seaman, DR; Perle, SM; Nelson, CF (August 2008). "How can chiropractic become a respected mainstream profession? The example of podiatry" (PDF). Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 16: 10. doi:10.1186/1746-1340-16-10. PMC 2538524. PMID 18759966. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- "WHO guidelines on basic training and safety in chiropractic – 2005" (PDF).
- Ernst, E (July 2007). "Adverse effects of spinal manipulation: a systematic review". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 100 (7): 330–38. doi:10.1258/jrsm.100.7.330. ISSN 0141-0768. PMC 1905885. PMID 17606755.
- Christian Nordqvist (2007-07-02). "Spinal Manipulation Should Not Be Routinely Used, New Study Warns". Med News Today.
- Vohra, S; Johnston, BC; Cramer, K; Humphreys, K (January 2007). "Adverse events associated with pediatric spinal manipulation: a systematic review". Pediatrics. 119 (1): e275–83. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-1392. ISSN 0031-4005. PMID 17178922. S2CID 43683198.
- Eden, R (16 August 2008). "Doctors take Simon Singh to court". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Boseley, Sarah (14 May 2009). "Science writer accused of libel may take fight to European court". London: The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- "Unjust burdens of proof". Nature. 459 (7248): 751. June 2009. Bibcode:2009Natur.459Q.751.. doi:10.1038/459751a. PMID 19516290.
- Pallab Ghosh (2010-04-15). "Case dropped against Simon Singh". BBC News.
- Mark Henderson (2010-04-16). "Science writer Simon Singh wins bitter libel battle". Times Online. London.
- Busse, JW; Morgan, L; Campbell, JB (June 2005). "Chiropractic antivaccination arguments". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 28 (5): 367–73. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.04.011. ISSN 0161-4754. PMID 15965414.
- F. Nelson, Craig (1 April 1999). "Spinal Manipulation and Chiropractic: Views of a Reformist Chiropractor". American Council on Science and Health. Archived from the original on April 9, 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Jones, RB; Mormann, DN; Durtsche, TB (October 1989). "Fluoridation referendum in La Crosse, Wisconsin: contributing factors to success". American Journal of Public Health. 79 (10): 1405–08. doi:10.2105/AJPH.79.10.1405. ISSN 0090-0036. PMC 1350185. PMID 2782512.
- Daniel David Palmer short history Archived 2010-12-30 at the Wayback Machine
- Westbrooks B (1982). "The troubled legacy of Harvey Lillard: the black experience in chiropractic". Chiropr Hist. 2 (1): 47–53. PMID 11611211.
- "B.J. Palmer's testimony in State of Wisconsin vs. S. R. Jansheski, December, 1910". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- Keating Jr., Joseph (April 13, 1998), D.D. Palmer's Lifeline (PDF), The Chiropractic Resource Organization, retrieved February 22, 2015
- Colquhoun, D (July 2008). "Doctor Who? Inappropriate use of titles by some alternative "medicine" practitioners". The New Zealand Medical Journal. 121 (1278): 6–10. ISSN 0028-8446. PMID 18670469. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009.
- Nelson, CF; Lawrence, DJ; Triano, JJ; Bronfort, G; Perle, SM; Metz, RD; Hegetschweiler, K; Labrot, T (July 2005). "Chiropractic as spine care: a model for the profession". Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 13: 9. doi:10.1186/1746-1340-13-9. PMC 1185558. PMID 16000175.
- Singh S, Ernst E (2008). "The truth about chiropractic therapy". Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine. W.W. Norton. pp. 145–90. ISBN 978-0-393-06661-6.
- Kimbrough, ML (June 1998). "Jailed chiropractors: those who blazed the trail". Chiropractic History. 18 (1): 79–100. ISSN 0736-4377. PMID 11620299.
- Callender, A (December 1995). "Buckeye chiropractic: turbulence in a limited branch of medicine, 1915-1975". Chiropractic History. 15 (2): 78–89. ISSN 0736-4377. PMID 11613404.
- World Chiropractic Alliance gives 1997 awards, The Chiropractic Journal, December 1997 Archived December 22, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
- Johnson C (December 2010). "Reflecting on 115 years: the chiropractic profession's philosophical path". Journal of Chiropractic Humanities. 17 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1016/j.echu.2010.11.001. PMC 3342796. PMID 22693471.
- Martin, SC (October 1993). "Chiropractic and the social context of medical technology, 1895–1925". Technology and Culture. 34 (4): 808–34. doi:10.2307/3106416. ISSN 0040-165X. JSTOR 3106416. PMID 11623404.
- Johnson, C; Baird, R; Dougherty, PE; Globe, G; Green, BN; Haneline, M; Hawk, C; Injeyan, HS; et al. (July 2008). "Chiropractic and public health: current state and future vision". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 31 (6): 397–410. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.07.001. ISSN 0161-4754. PMID 18722194.
- Cherkin, D (November 1989). "AMA policy on chiropractic". American Journal of Public Health. 79 (11): 1569–70. doi:10.2105/AJPH.79.11.1569-a. ISSN 0090-0036. PMC 1349822. PMID 2817179.
- Cooper, RA; Mckee, HJ (2003). "Chiropractic in the United States: trends and issues". The Milbank Quarterly. 81 (1): 107–38, table of contents. doi:10.1111/1468-0009.00040. ISSN 0887-378X. PMC 2690192. PMID 12669653.
- DeVocht JW (2006). "History and overview of theories and methods of chiropractic: a counterpoint". Clin Orthop Relat Res. 444: 243–49. doi:10.1097/01.blo.0000203460.89887.8d. PMID 16523145.
- Allareddy, V; Greene, BR; Smith, M; Haas, M; Liao, J (October 2007). "Facilitators and barriers to improving interprofessional referral relationships between primary care physicians and chiropractors". The Journal of Ambulatory Care Management. 30 (4): 347–54. doi:10.1097/01.JAC.0000290404.96907.e3. ISSN 0148-9917. PMID 17873667. S2CID 20575186.
- Meeker, WC; Haldeman, S (February 2002). "Chiropractic: a profession at the crossroads of mainstream and alternative medicine". Annals of Internal Medicine. 136 (3): 216–27. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.694.4126. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-3-200202050-00010. ISSN 0003-4819. PMID 11827498. S2CID 16782086.
- Homola, Samuel (2006). "Can Chiropractors and Evidence-Based Manual Therapists Work Together? An Opinion From a Veteran Chiropractor" (PDF). The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. 14 (2): E14–E18. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.366.2817. doi:10.1179/jmt.2006.14.2.14e. S2CID 71826135.
- Jonas, Wayne B. (1999). "Foreword – Chiropractic: the return of philosophy to medicine?". In Ian D. Coulter (ed.). Chiropractic: a philosophy for alternative health care. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. ix–xii. ISBN 978-0-7506-4006-0.
- Alexander, Harriet. Chiropractic fraternity splits over allegations of mismanagement. Sydney Morning Herald, July 11, 2015
- Siordia L, Keating JC (1999). "Laid to uneasy rest: D. D. Palmer, 1913". Chiropr Hist. 19 (1): 23–31. PMID 11624037.
- Keating, Joseph (April 23, 1993). "Dispelling Some Myths About Old Dad Chiro". Dynamic Chiropractic.
- Stephen Barrett; Samuel Homola (1969). "At Your Own Risk: The Case Against Chiropractic – The Iowa Grocer's Dream". Chirobase. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- Foreman, SM; Stahl, MJ (September 2004). "Chiropractors disciplined by a state chiropractic board and a comparison with disciplined medical physicians". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 27 (7): 472–7. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2004.06.006. ISSN 0161-4754. PMID 15389179.
- "Gallup Poll: Americans have low opinion of chiropractors' honesty and ethics". Dynamic Chiropractic. 25 (3). 29 January 2007.
- "USA Today/Gallup poll". USA Today. 11 December 2006.
- Gallup chart
- "Public Rates Nursing as Most Honest and Ethical Profession". Gallup Poll, 2003
- G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN, "Food for Thought 2007: Trust", Dynamic Chiropractic, February 12, 2007, Vol. 25, Issue 04
- Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS, "Poisoning the Well", Dynamic Chiropractic, April 24, 2006, Vol. 24, Issue 09
- Baer HA (1996). "Practice-building seminars in chiropractic: a petit bourgeois response to biomedical domination". Med Anthropol Q. 10 (1): 29–44. doi:10.1525/maq.1996.10.1.02a00050. PMID 8689442.
- Susan L. Smith-Cunnien. A profession of one's own: organized medicine's opposition to chiropractic
- Joseph C. Keating, Jr., "Quackery in Chiropractic", Dynamic Chiropractic, February 15, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 04
- Jarvis, WT (August 1992). "Quackery: a national scandal". Clinical Chemistry. 38 (8B Pt 2): 1574–86. ISSN 0009-9147. PMID 1643742.
- Grod, JP; Sikorski, D; Keating, JC (October 2001). "Unsubstantiated claims in patient brochures from the largest state, provincial, and national chiropractic associations and research agencies". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 24 (8): 514–19. doi:10.1067/mmt.2001.118205. ISSN 0161-4754. PMID 11677551.
- Ernst, E; Gilbey, A (April 2010). "Chiropractic claims in the English-speaking world". N Z Med J. 123 (1312): 36–44. PMID 20389316. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
- Ernst E (2009). "Chiropractic spinal manipulation for infant colic: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials". Int J Clin Pract. 63 (9): 1351–53. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02133.x. PMID 19691620.
- Gilbey, A (July 2008). "Use of inappropriate titles by New Zealand practitioners of acupuncture, chiropractic, and osteopathy". The New Zealand Medical Journal. 121 (1278): 15–20. ISSN 0028-8446. PMID 18670471.
- Bale, K (August 2008). "Chiropractic Board New Zealand response to "Dr Who?" editorial". The New Zealand Medical Journal. 121 (1280): 78–79. ISSN 0028-8446. PMID 18791634. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012.
- Ernst, E (July 2009). "UK chiropractic: regulated but unruly". Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. 14 (3): 186–87. doi:10.1258/jhsrp.2009.008183. ISSN 1355-8196. PMID 19541879. S2CID 43404682.
- Lucas Laursen. "The Great Beyond: Chiropractic group advises members to 'withdraw from the battleground'". Nature.com. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Lucas Laursen. "The Great Beyond: Complaints converge on chiropractors". Nature.com. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "The campaign at a glance" (Press release). Sense About Science. 29 November 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
- Singh, Simon (19 April 2008). "Beware the spinal trap". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- Harris, E (June 2009). "Science in court". BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). 338: b2254. doi:10.1136/bmj.b2254. ISSN 0959-8138. PMID 19493953. S2CID 27412292.
- "Chiropractic critic loses first round in libel fight". New Scientist. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- Green, David Allen (13 May 2009). "Comment: Don't criticise, or we'll sue". New Scientist. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- "The law has no place in scientific disputes". Sense About Science. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
- "British Chiropractic Association v Singh – BCA admits defeat". Ely Place. Archived from the original on April 20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- Villanueva-Russell Y (2005). "Evidence-based medicine and its implications for the profession of chiropractic". Soc Sci Med. 60 (3): 545–61. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.05.017. PMID 15550303.
- Keating Jc, Jr; Charlton, KH; Grod, JP; Perle, SM; Sikorski, D; Winterstein, JF (August 2005). "Subluxation: dogma or science?". Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 13 (1): 17. doi:10.1186/1746-1340-13-17. PMC 1208927. PMID 16092955.
- Science, antiscience, materialism and vitalism:
- Keating JC Jr (1997). "Chiropractic: science and antiscience and pseudoscience side by side". Skeptical Inquirer. 21 (4): 37–43.
- Phillips RB (2005). "The evolution of vitalism and materialism and its impact on philosophy". In Haldeman S; Dagenais S; Budgell B; et al. (eds.). Principles and Practice of Chiropractic (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill. pp. 65–76. ISBN 978-0-07-137534-4.
- Samuel Homola, DC. "Chiropractic: Does the Bad Outweigh the Good?", reprinted (with slight modification) from the January/February 2001 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
- Stephen Barrett, M.D., "Don't Let Chiropractors Fool You
- Barrett, Stephen (23 August 2014). "Applied Kinesiology: Phony Muscle-Testing for "Allergies" and "Nutrient Deficiencies"".
- William T. Jarvis, Ph.D. (1990). "Why Chiropractic Is Controversial".
- Edzard Ernst (February 8, 2014). "The alchemists of alternative medicine – part 5: pseudo-systematic reviews". Edzard Ernst.
- Ernst, E (June 2009). "Chiropractic manipulation, with a deliberate "double entendre"". Archives of Disease in Childhood. 94 (6): 411. doi:10.1136/adc.2009.158170. ISSN 0003-9888. PMID 19460920. S2CID 13324088.
- Breen, A (July 2009). "In praise of chiropractic". Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. 14 (3): 188–89. doi:10.1258/jhsrp.2009.009025. ISSN 1355-8196. PMID 19541880. S2CID 11348276.
- Gouveia, LO; Castanho, P; Ferreira, JJ (May 2009). "Safety of chiropractic interventions: a systematic review". Spine. 34 (11): E405–13. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181a16d63. ISSN 0362-2436. PMID 19444054. S2CID 21279308.
- Barrett, Stephen (26 November 2016). "Chiropractic's Dirty Secret: Neck Manipulation and Strokes".
- E Ernst (2010). "Deaths after chiropractic: a review of published cases". Int J Clin Pract. 64 (8): 1162–65. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02352.x. PMID 20642715. S2CID 45225661.
Some chiropractic proponents seem to think that a critical evaluation of the research is tantamount to a 'scare story' or to 'puffing up (the evidence) out of all proportion'... A reasonable approach to serious risk from chiropractic therapy, however, requires an open examination.
- Bussières AE, Taylor JA, Peterson C (2008). "Diagnostic imaging practice guidelines for musculoskeletal complaints in adults—an evidence-based approach—part 3: spinal disorders". J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 31 (1): 33–88. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2007.11.003. PMID 18308153.
- U.S. National Research Council (2006). Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/11340. ISBN 978-0-309-09156-5.
- Ammendolia, C; Taylor, J. A.; Pennick, V; Côté, P; Hogg-Johnson, S; Bombardier, C (2008). "Adherence to radiography guidelines for low back pain: A survey of chiropractic schools worldwide". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 31 (6): 412–18. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.06.010. PMID 18722195.
- Morgan, Lon (March 1998). "Innate intelligence: its origins and problems". The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. 41 (1): 35–41. PMC 2485333.
- Keating, Joseph C. (March 2002). "The Meanings of Innate" (PDF). The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. 46 (1): 4–10. PMC 2505097.
- Ernst E (2001). "Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination". Vaccine. 20 (Suppl 1): S89–93. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(01)00290-0. PMID 11587822.
- Yoo, Saerom (February 24, 2015), Vaccine researcher Wakefield to testify in Oregon, Statesman Journal, retrieved March 3, 2015
- Yoo, Saerom (February 26, 2015), Meeting on vaccine mandate bill canceled, Statesman Journal, retrieved March 3, 2015
- Mason, Melanie (March 5, 2015), "Chiropractors lobby against bill ending belief exemptions for vaccines", Los Angeles Times, retrieved March 6, 2015
- Allday, Erin (April 25, 2015), Anti-vaccine leader tells parents to fight immunization bill, San Francisco Chronicle, retrieved April 25, 2015
- Collins, Caitlin, Lifelines, Winter 2014: Cal Jam in Review (PDF), Life Chiropractic College West, archived from the original (PDF) on September 24, 2018, retrieved April 25, 2015
- California Jam (March 2015 CA), retrieved April 25, 2015
- White, Jeremy (May 19, 2015), "'Stalking' of pro-vaccine lobbyists prompts warning from doctors' group", The Sacramento Bee, retrieved May 30, 2015
- Hilliard JW, Johnson ME (2004). "State practice acts of licensed health professions: scope of practice". DePaul J Health Care Law. 8 (1): 237–61.
- Anderson, Chantal (2009-01-22). "Physical therapists, chiropractors square off over bill". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Faulty Logic and Non-skeptical Arguments in Chiropractic – Joseph C. Keating Jr.
- Open Letter to the Profession – George P. McAndrews (commented in Chiroweb)
- Chiropractic, Bonesetting, and Cultism – Samuel Homola, (book review at Chiroweb)
- Critical thinking – Christopher Kent, DC president of the Council on Chiropractic Practice
- Chiropractic – Skeptic's Dictionary
- Chiropractic – H. L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun
- Spin Doctors: The Chiropractic Industry Under Examination – Paul Benedetti, Wayne MacPhail
- "Adjusting the Joints, on season 12 , episode 10". Scientific American Frontiers. Chedd-Angier Production Company. 2001–2002. PBS. Archived from the original on 2006.
- Chirobase: Skeptical guide to chiropractic history, theories, and current practices – Stephen Barrett, MD, and Samuel Homola, DC