Monday, July 13, 2009

Chiropractic In the News Downunder

The Australian TV show Lateline recently did a piece on chiropractic. This was motivated by the British Chiropractic Association's libel law suit against Simon Singh. On balance I think this was pretty good news story. From when I began in the profession, in 1979, as a student at Texas Chiropractic College and for a long time after that it seemed to me that the media were just hatcht men for the AMA. Since Judge Getzendanner's 1988 decision in the Wilk v. AMA law suit the media has been kinder.

The Lateline video includes interviews with Bruce Walker, DC, MPH, DrPH. and Chris Maher, PhD. Dr. Walker is the editor in chief of Chiropractic and Osteopathy an open access, peer-reviewed online journal that aims to provide chiropractors, osteopaths and related health professionals with clinically relevant, evidence-based information. I am an one of four associate editors for C&O. So often it seems that print or video media edit away the substance of a interviewee. I think Dr. Walker's interview was treated fairly and he gets across his point about the evidence regarding chiropractic care.

Dr. Walker notes that chiropractic care should primarily be for the musculoskeletal system. In C&O I am a co-author of a couple of papers that suggest that chiropractors should mostly be non-surgical spine specialists because substantially what we do is spine care.

Dr. Maher, who is a physical therapist discusses recent research that found that manipulation is no better than standard medical care. Unfortunately his use of the term manipulation is unusual. Only 5% of the subjects in this study actually had manipulation and the rest had mobilization as a treatment. Thus the study does not actually evaluate spinal manipulation. with Dr. Jeff Hebert of the U of Utah, I have published a letter to the editor pointing out this inconsistency.

There is also an interview with an MD about stroke in which he again ignores the most recent research showing that manipulation does not cause stroke.


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