I usually don’t dwell too much on chiropractic, because so many other bloggers mock them so well. Chiropractors are generally antivaccination, they practice junk medicine in areas in which they are not trained, and they are essentially quacks utilizing some mystical alternative medicine, taking money from people who think they’re getting real medical treatment.
Basically, chiropractic is the belief in the “vertebral subluxation processes” that purportedly can be used to treat and cure a vast range of diseases which have no scientifically verified connection to vertebral anatomy. It’s based on the same general type of pseudoscientific mysticism that one finds with acupuncture.
Of course, modern chiropractic has tried to divorce itself from the vertebral subluxation, and attempted to evolve into the slightly more mainstream chiropractic treatment technique that involves manual therapy, including manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues. Chiropractic treatment also includes exercises and health and lifestyle counseling. Barely anything more than a good masseuse would provide to an individual.
Despite this evolution of chiropractic to the point that some health insurance companies actually pay for the procedures, chiropractic is a typical pseudoscience–make outlandish claims, minimize or ignore the risks, and make money off of those who think, or want to believe, that it works.
It’s appalling that some people, many who think that vaccines are dangerous (they’re not), believe that a chiropractor, who has very little real medical training, should manipulate the neck of a baby to treat some imaginary, or even real, condition. It boggles the mind.
So, what does real science say about chiropractic?
Chiropractic is supposed to be the “respectable” face of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM). At least, that’s what chiropractors want you to think. After all, chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and thus their specialty has the imprimatur of the state to make it appear legitimate. Unfortunately, chiropractors are, as I have said so many times before, physical therapists with delusions of grandeur—and poorly trained as physical therapists at that. They just can’t restrict themselves to the musculoskeletal system and can’t resist pontificating about and treating systemic illnesses that they should have no part in treating, such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, and many more. They also have a strong tendency to be militantly antivaccine, although there is a small contingent that is not. The vaccination-friendly (or at least vaccination-agnostic) group of chiropractors appears to be depressingly small, however.
Consistent with this, a few days ago I saw a notice on the website of arguably the oldest antivaccine group in the US still in existence, the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which was founded by Dr. Larry Webster and represents doctors of chiropractic caring for children. Leaving aside for the moment the horrific shiver that ran down my spine to learn that there is actually an organization called the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, I got an even more horrific shiver to see the actual notice on the NVIC website:
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which was founded by Dr. Larry Webster and represents doctors of chiropractic caring for children, has supported NVIC’s mission to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to protect informed consent rights for more than two decades. ICPA’s 2013 issue of Pathways to Family Wellness magazine features an article written by Barbara Loe Fisher on “The Moral Right to Religious and Conscientious Belief Exemptions to Vaccination.”
Lovely. Just lovely. The ICPA is featuring an article by the grande dame of the antivaccine movement in the US, Barbara Loe Fisher, the woman who arguably was key in the 1980s to founding what evolved into the antivaccine movement we know it and detest it today. It goes way beyond that, though.
- Chiropractic and antivax: Two quacky tastes that taste quacky together [Respectful Insolence] (scienceblogs.com)
- Can Chiropractic Help With Infertility? (shawchiropracticutah.wordpress.com)
- Chiropractors pushing anti-vaccination line face crackdown, audits (richarddawkins.net)
- Crackdown on chiropractors who promote anti-vaccinations (abc.net.au)
- Dangerous Neck Manipulation: Chiropractic (kerriganlawfirm.wordpress.com)