MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Recently, I came across this website. I think it is worth having a good look because it is just too funny for words. Amongst other things, it offers 5 tips for finding a ‘wellness chiropractor’. I could not resist the temptation of reproducing these 5 tips here – and for good measure, I added some footnotes of my own; they appear in the otherwise unaltered text as numbers in square brackets referring to short comments at the bottom:

  1. Does the practice focus on vertebral subluxation [1] and wellness? Physical, biochemical, and psychological stress may result in spinal subluxations [1] that disrupt nerve function [2] and compromise your health [3]. If you’re looking for a wellness chiropractor, it’s essential that this be the focus. Some chiropractors confine their practice to the mechanical treatment of back and neck pain, and this is something you need to be aware of beforehand.
  2. Does the doctor “walk the talk”? If he or she is overweight, looks unhealthy, or does not live a healthy lifestyle, this speaks volumes regarding their commitment to wellness [4].
  3. Do the two of you “click”? Do you like each other? Do you communicate well? Avoid a doctor [5] who seems rushed, talks down to you, or seems disinterested in listening to your concerns [6].
  4. Does the doctor use objective assessments of nerve function? Since your care is not based just on addressing pain, your chiropractor should be using some form of objective assessment of your nerve function, as spinal subluxations [1] can sometimes be asymptomatic [7]. Non-invasive instruments that measure the electrical activity in your muscles, and/or a thermal scanner [8] that evaluates the function of your autonomic nervous system can be used, for example.
  5. What treatment techniques are used? Chiropractic techniques include low-force adjustments by hand, and more forceful adjustments using instruments [9]. Ask which technique would be used on you [10], and if you have a preference, make sure the doctor [5] is willing to use it.

MY COMMENTS:

  1. ‘Spinal subluxation’, as used in chiro-lingo, is a non-entity that has no place in reality; it is merely a tool for making money.
  2. I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that this is true .
  3. As subluxations do not exist, it is safe to say that this is pure fantasy.
  4. The assumption seems to be that only a healthy chiro is a good chiro!?!?
  5. Chiros were just promoted to doctors – obviously much better for generating a health income.
  6. There are qualities that are required from everyone – your waiter, bus-conductor, butcher etc. – even from your chiro.
  7. Non-existent entities are always asymptomatic.
  8. Test with lousy reliability.
  9. Very misleading statement; manual ‘adjustments’ can also be forceful and are often more forceful than those using instruments.
  10. This statement makes it very clear that informed consent is not what patients can regularly count on with chiros. This leads me to suspect that chiros frequently breach one of the most important ethical rules in clinical practice.

Yes, I do think the chiro fraternity often is completely hilarious – unwittingly perhaps but surely hilarious [if we would not laugh at them, we would need to get angry with them which is to be avoided at all cost, as they tend to sue for libel]. Without the chiros regularly making themselves ridiculous, my life would certainly be far less droll.

Elsewhere on this intriguing post, the author informs us that where I think chiropractic shines is that we address the cause of the problem. Personally, I think, where chiropractic shines brightest is in amusing us with their continuous flow of humorous bovine excrement.

WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL!

34 Responses to ‘Wellness Chiropractor’ = a disseminator of bovine excrement

  • It gets worse. ‘Wellness chiropractor’? Jeebus. What’s an ‘unwellness chiropractor’?

  • And there was I thinking that only a dead chiro is a good chiro…

    But what did you expect from the wretched hive of scum and quackery that us mercola.com?

  • Dr. Ernst, your posts are becoming small potatoes to a comedic degree.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35657114
    “A few short weeks in Indonesia has seen a former communications minister make a call for the public to kill any gay people they find and the leading psychiatric body describe transgenderism as a mental disorder.”

    http://henrymakow.com/homosexuality.html

    Your enjoyment in getting a rise out of chiropractors is limiting your usefulness as a doctor who carries influence

    • Dear Mr Mad from Madchester,
      And when exactly are YOU going to pick up a gun and go off to fight IS?
      I should have thought taking on quackery, especially its more lunatic forms, to be a perfectly reasonable activity for a decent doctor.
      I don’t think ‘getting a rise’ out of chiropractors is any worse than chiropractors and homeopaths ‘getting a rise’ out of everybody else.

      • Hear, hear.

      • One of the most ridiculous comparisons I have heard.. I am not requesting that he go to Indonesia to protest.
        There is a desperate need to gain perspective here.
        A post on a website by a chiropractor (about finding a chiropractor) is “small potatoes” compared to an announcement to a million followers to murder homosexuals because “homosexuality is a virus that can spread.”

        • whatever it is it is entirely off the subject!

          • It is entirely off the subject, you’re correct! Your scope is narrowing.

            That is breaking news. You might have noticed. You might actually carry some influence that could benefit this situation (bring attention to it). But, instead you’re peddling the same tired insults at some chiropractic website.

            Bovine excrement indeed.

          • I am so glad we agree!

          • Mr Marbles,
            How far are you going to reduce this until it arrives at complete madness?
            Do you ever have a delightful yet pointless pudding after your meal? Or do you consider food to be useful only for sustenance?
            In fact, do you ever eat at all? Why not send all your food to the starving millions?
            Why this obsessive need to arrange these matters in some barmy hierarchical structure?
            I’m a painter. Am I wasting my time? There are women being raped all the time. Therefore is Art rubbish?
            Do you realise the extent to which you appear to the rest of us to be slightly obsessive and deranged?
            You’re committing a suicide bombing on your own point, and thereby demolishing its own perfectly obvious importance.

          • Hear, hear.

        • That is a complete non sequitur. The advert may be “small potatoes” if you don’t give a shit about public health or charlatans preying on the sick and vulnerable, but some of us do give a shit about those things. There was a recent investigation by Good Thinking that found a chiroquacktor advertising to “adjust” babies from the age of 1 week to correct “birth trauma” – the quack was, unsurprisingly, also anti-vaccine, and is herself unvaccinated as are her children.

          Think about that for a minute. A quack wants to carry out completely unnecessary treatment on infants, persuade their parents not to vaccinate, and at the same time is not only unprotected against infectious diseases such as pertussis but also has children in the house who are similarly unprotected.

          In a sane world, this charlatan would be run out of town by an angry mob. I trust you agree.

          • Exactly. As I argued-or tried to argue-to ‘Lostiz’ Merbles, he seems to be attempting a kind of escalation and hierarchy of importance in terms of priorities. We’ve all heard it. ‘Why are we spending money on Culture or Sport, when we should be spending it all on Health, or whatever, and trying to cure cancer’. If he really believed that simplistic argument, he’d apply it to his own life, and he’d never have an ice cream, never go to the pictures, he’d sell his car, he wouldn’t go to Crete for a holiday….and so on. I believe North Korea is currently attempting this kind of reductivism. It doesn’t seem to be working there, unless I’ve missed something. Sometimes it is valid to attempt to win one’s own argument by attacking the other person’s. But it doesn’t seem to be particularly relevant here.

          • In my mind, Guy, you lost all credibility when you had to clarify a point by stating, “I don’t want chiropractors to die.” But sure, now that that’s out of the way…

            There are 10 pages of articles on this website discussing these exact same points repeatedly. These articles are followed by the same comments by the same individuals. I’m sure those seeking information to save them from the “charlatans preying on the sick and vulnerable” will be able to find these at ease.

            It wouldn’t hurt to write about a serious, developing situation. Open your eyes, widen your gaze.

            It seems to me Dr. Ernst has found himself a nice cozy niche. The redundancy found here is nothing more than an avenue for your disdain.

          • I am so glad you like what I do!!!

    • Derry Merbles: Your demand boils down to a false dichotomy: until there is an end to all war, violence and oppression, nobody is allowed to challenge exploitation of the vulnerable and sick by charlatans.

      If one’s expertise is in challenging charlatans, why should one become involved in something else entirely just because a fan of the charlatans thinks they should be left to scam unimpeded?

    • Nothing else seems able to impede the widespread exploitation of chiros, other alternative cults or the vitamin/supplement industry, unless you have a good recommendation. Their unethical but “legal” practices/ads/hoaxes seem to be protected by their Lobbyists/lawyers. Widespread public education is needed but that has not stopped many forms of fraud that still exist.

    • WTF?

      Merbles, you are a far bigger loon than I initially gave credit.

      Prof, you should seriously think about allowing someone as unhinged as this to post.

      • Seems like Merbles may have lost his/her marbles.
        Hope (s)he doesn’t end up like this homeopath

      • Professor Ernst are the posts on this blog really moderated? It appears that your supporters are not only unwilling to engage in a sensible debate with those of a different viewpoint, their comments and language are not commensurate with a Professor’s blog.

        Yes, those of us who support CAM in various disciplines, know that when we dare to post an opinion, it is going to produce ire, but really is it absolutely necessary to be so impolite? Calling us loons, mentally unstable, ridiculing us, the personal attacks and much worse degrades whatever points the anti cam group present. Using the acronym WTF may give a buzz, but credibility is lost.

        What happened to an adult debate? No, no need to answer, it is a rhetorical question: this is not a debate in the true sense, but a platform to change people’s minds, and when that is unachievable, the boorishness escalates.

        I see some pro CAM posters are resilient and tenacious, and mostly reasonable, but faced with total intransigence, consider the sensible option is exit the debate and get on with their lives.

        Professor Ernst if your supporters could calm down, it’s just possible there may be more contributors; however, as it stands, you may become a very exclusive club, preaching to the converted.

        • POINT TAKEN!
          I call on all commentators to moderate their language. In the past, I have rarely rejected comments because of this problem. I will keep a closer eye on it from now on.
          THANK YOU

        • @ A on Friday 04 March 2016 at 13:58

          “It appears that your supporters are not only unwilling to engage in a sensible debate with those of a different viewpoint”

          What is “sensible debate”, according to you? Agreeing to the absurd, unscientific claims made by alt-meds; perhaps conceding Avogadro wasn’t right; agreeing the laws of physics and chemistry are flawed somehow but we don’t know it; or that something which has no evidence is really a justifiable healthcare option?

          “their comments and language are not commensurate with a Professor’s blog”

          Are ridiculous and unjustifiable claims of efficacy commensurate with a professor’s blog?

          “Yes, those of us who support CAM in various disciplines, know that when we dare to post an opinion, it is going to produce ire, but really is it absolutely necessary to be so impolite?”

          Impolite about what? That someone who has no understanding of science can make assertions that have no evidence and could be injurious to the fools who use it? Interestingly, you do say, “post an opinion” because that is all it is. If, however, you were to post some evidence, I’m sure you would be met with interest and not derision.

          “What happened to an adult debate? No, no need to answer, it is a rhetorical question: this is not a debate in the true sense, but a platform to change people’s minds, and when that is unachievable, the boorishness escalates.”

          How is it possible to have an “adult debate” with someone who believes in the equivalent of the Tooth Fairy? Why, indeed, is it even necessary to have a debate when such matters are not that of opinion but of evidence? What you might call boorishness is a lack of tolerance for people who make up totally absurd nonsense and expect to be respected for believing in things that don’t exist? I am not surprised you ask the question but am stunned you really think it justifies a polite response.

          “I see some pro CAM posters are resilient and tenacious, and mostly reasonable, but faced with total intransigence, consider the sensible option is exit the debate and get on with their lives.”

          I see people who would rather skulk away and keep their crazy ideas from scrutiny, thinking all the while those sceptical types are so close-minded; after all, they think, I did use words like “quantum”, “string theory”, “laser”, and “frequency” so how can I not be credible?

          “Professor Ernst if your supporters could calm down, it’s just possible there may be more contributors; however, as it stands, you may become a very exclusive club, preaching to the converted.”

          You obviously haven’t read too many threads otherwise you would have seen the many posts from people who have welcomed the prof’s work and had their eyes opened to the witchcraft they have subjected themselves up to now.

          Naaahhh, you are just using an old ploy of trying to appear reasonable while peddling totally unreasonable nonsense. There are some who post on this blog who are harsh (me, for example) because the alt-meds post totally implausible nonsense and are aghast when someone deconstructs it to show it is, indeed, nonsense. Usually, a hissyfit follows and they stomp off muttering something like, “consider the sensible option is exit the debate and get on with their lives”.

          As much as I respect the prof, he seems to have fallen for your guff. Since you are a thread about chiro, please disclose your interest? A website would be handy, if you are a chiro, to see whether you believe in subluxations (more difficult to find than a unicorn), treat kids, potentially kill people with cervical twists, or use those weird little clicky things so loved by many chiros. Maybe you use that no force of any kind technique where the chiro’s arm are opposed and somehow, magically, the force is transmitted by faint skin touch? Please, do tell?

          • some of the nonsense that people post here is unquestionably offensive too. I realize that. nevertheless, I think any conversation is more effective, if we all [that includes me too!] abstain from personal attacks and overt rudeness. let’s all give it a try PLEASE!

          • Frank Collins – maybe I appear reasonable because I am: no feeling of hissyfitting, just a need to do the ironing, whilst watching Davis Cup Tennis – well it is Saturday.

            I hear you – another time I shall respond to your post, declare, best I can my interest, to prevent any more assumptions.

            This really was just a post to flag uncomfortable reading at times, and I thank Professor Ernst for his acknowledgement and respectful reply.

            Look – nobody is twisting my arm to view this blog, but really your unreasonableness tells me I am wasting my time, and vote with my feet and exit.

            Don’t worry, I won’t do so until I have fulfilled your request to disclose my interest; however, it may be a missive requiring you to sit down with a stiff drink or cup of tea.

            Meanwhile back to the tennis ……best wishes A

          • Frank Collins – many moons ago I said I would address your comment. I have had a nice little break from this blog but didn’t want to renege on my promise to respond to ” since you are a thread about Chiro please disclose your interest. A website would be handy (!!?? – mine)” paranoia abounded with unicorn, treating kids, killing people. In other words am I a Chiro in disguise: you end with “please do tell”? How can I resist? Good Heavens, I am not sure who needs a stiff drink more. The assumptions on this blog
            never cease to amaze me. So at the risk of boring any one who reads this, I declare my interest, before leaving this blog or good.

            You accuse the ‘prof’ of falling for my guff. Really? My post about moderation could not have been clearer -Professor Ernst would agree or disagree: as simple as that. You really should read more carefully, before your anger takes over.

            The sceptics accuse the few and far between pro CAM posters of many things: we are fools, idiots, know zilch about science, etc, and if all else fails criticise our prose, grammar etc. it’s as though there is a tick box form to work through. Someone posted a story about parents benefitting from something you disagreed with and the inane comment about using two exclamation marks appeared. Every time one of the sceptics points out poor prose ( which after all is ordinary writing) it reminds me of when I worked as an assistant to the Professor leading the development team for Medical Linear Accelerators in the UK in the 1960’s. He had no skills in writing, grammar etc, so it fell to me, and my challenged shorthand, to produce cogent reports for the team and directors. Does that make me more intelligent than the Professor? Absolutely not. Does that make the Professor more intelligent than me? I would say so; he was developing something groundbreaking and would help millions for many years to come. Before you criticise others from your high pedestals, maybe ensure you present perfectly that which you criticise in others……

            You accuse me of peddling totally unreasonable nonsense and believe in the equivalent of the tooth fairy ( whatever that is); believe things that don’t exist (??) and then skulk away when presented with the sceptics’admonishent. Yet you don’t see the inanity of your responses: the assumption that pro CAM are sensitive or hurt because you contradict our views. Are you serious? Healthy debate is good; rudeness is unacceptable. There is so much intransigence, we (the proCAM) give up aspiring to a sensible discussion : skulking? Hissyfitting? Umm no, just a desire to return to sanity after dipping our toes in the swamp.

            The sceptics are so high on their pedestals that they fail to comprehend this: believers in CAM also believe in orthodox medicine : may be not all (I try not toi be assumptive) but I think many. And why not? I have seen the NHS at its best,and long may it continue. I have had many years of paying taxes, and am fortunate to have choices: orthodox and complementary medicine. Why do sceptics see only black or white?……..I,just do not get that rationale.

            Full disclosure follows with apologies to those who may read it apart from you Frank – this is at your request “please do tell?” I am a pretty honest person,and won’t be reading your response, so feel free to do what you do best.

            I am not a Chiropractor : do you seriously believe everyone writing under that thread is? If you took notice of where/what you wrote on this blog, you would see that you responded to my post under Reiki,too, assuming idiocy, or some such kind comment. This probably speaks volumes regarding the inadequacy of being presumptive/assumptive,

            Stiff drinks at the ready: I am a grandmother (joyous) in my seventh decade, I am not a scientist. Don’t think I m an Academic. Hiowever, I have lived with family members who are engineers all my life. I worked for 22 years with Scientists and Engineers, I have taught Junior School age children, have two children who are teachers, enabling me to keep up with current education trends – folks, we have some great teachers in the UK. I have trained in counselling those at end if life ( a privilege) and saddened to hear from many that the complementary health units attached to Cancer hospitals, are vulnerable and may not be there to support in the future. NICE are doing a grand job, don’t you think?

            You see all your banging on about evidence is key and experience being merely anecdotal holds no water with those that have benefitted : no amount of ridicule, argument for scientific empirical evidence Is going to make a difference to those that have experienced great benefits from CAM.

            I don’t consider myself, gullible;I know I am discerning and have used various complementary therapies for the past 40 years. If a therapy has not worked, I don’t try it again, so,I am in no need of someone telling me ” we shall remove the choice to save yourself from yourself” .

            No practitioner had snatched me off the street,demanded I return weekly, pay vast amounts of money. It is always my choice. My homeopaths usually like a long interval between appointments, give free phone advice in between. Where do you sceptics get the information that CAM practitioners are in it solely for the money? 40 years’ experience tells me the opposite.

            My Chiropractor is a Godsend. She is very busy and I know a lot of her patients : they are intelligent and educated people: they see her because she makes them better, The discussion about LBP makes me want to tear my hair out: my chiropractor adjusts my pelvis and the pain subsides. Alongside doing yoga, stretching, walking, it can be kept at bay: it is not rocket science. However, a friend with a broken pelvis was, after seeing consultants, physiotherapists, enabled to walk after many months by her chiropractor. Do you honestly think all your denigration and ridicule will result in turning my friend away from that effective treatment? I have no idea about neck wringing: my chiropractor does an adjustment, I feel completely safe and feel better, no more thought needed, and thankfully no more reading about it on this blog.

            Acupuncture is very impressive, and would not give it up for all the tea in China!! I really don’t get the accusation of placebo – I can feel the affects within my body appropriately.

            REIKI – yes as described in another thread I do train and practise – there are very strict Codes of Ethics, and many work hard for regulation. I don’t advertise ( sorry Frank no website to peruse) but I m busy and it is popular. For the time I commit, I probably earn less than the minimum wage; but the fee is unimportant when I see the results. I certainly don’t ask any one to return, but they do. These people are not idiots, most of them hold professional qualifications, yet the common accusation in all your threads is that those who use CAM are somewhat delusional. No – sorry to disappoint, they are mostly critical thinkers making a reasoned choice.

            However, the caveat is if there are TRUE charlatans out there in whatever discipline, it needs to be addressed. And just a note on Vaccination – someone on a thread alerted us to the formaldehyde content in vaccinations which was dismissed by a sceptic, and hastily moved on. A little “anecdote” – no I’m sorry I haven’t evidence,but last time I looked this is not a court of law – a friend saw her GP about eye inflammation and he was astute because he immediately suggested her eye make up contained formaldehyde and to research. He was correct. Also re Vaccinations, you cannot dismiss the Gardasil campaign where many young girls have been adversely affected . However, having seen in the press that an Oxford professor ( I think) has included the furore about vaccinations in his Conspiracy Theory study, I realised all sense of reason had flown out of the window. The vaccination issue needs to be taken seriously for the sake of our future generation.

            Well, sorry all about this long response, but you did ask Frank. I wish all the posters sensible and polite debate, with positive outcomes for the future good health of all. I shan’t be returning, so wishing you all well, especially Professor Ernst for your civility and according the space for this long and final post.

          • @A

            I am not the Frank you aimed your comment at, but I appreciate where you are coming from.

            You say “…no amount of ridicule, argument for scientific empirical evidence Is going to make a difference to those that have experienced great benefits from CAM.”

            Fair enough: you’re expressing a testimony. That’s a personal, unshakeable experence. Just like those who have an unshakeable faith in astrology, numerology, biorhythms. Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, you testify to a personal faith in CAM: you have reaped great benefits from it in just the same way as the believers in those other things I listed have reaped great benefits from their chosen faiths. But, hang on a minute: if you read the comments on many threads in this blog you will find negative testimony about various forms of CAM, even to the point that some folk claim to have been damaged by it. It seems to me that objective evidence is required to resolve these conflicting personal testimonies. And that’s where things begin to make sense.

            You say “I don’t consider myself, gullible;I know I am discerning and have used various complementary therapies for the past 40 years. If a therapy has not worked, I don’t try it again, so,I am in no need of someone telling me ” we shall remove the choice to save yourself from yourself” .” With respect, you are gullible but no more so than most folk. (I try not to fool myself, but I’m sure I don’t always succeed.) When you say “If a therapy has not worked, I don’t try it again” do you not realize there are folk who will swear that therapy has worked for them; they will say they have reaped great benefits from it. Once again, we must turn to science for an objective view of the situation.

            This is why I, and many of the others who are supporters of evidence-based medicine on this blog reject anecdotal testimony. It’s just too unreliable. Sure, it works for film reviews and book reviews, – even product reviews – but for something as serious as human disease we need better.

            I’m sure you can say the same applies to real medicine, but while medicine is open to change, CAM just isn’t. Unfortunately you have chosen a ludicrous example to end your post: formaldehyde in vaccines. It isn’t just the substance, it’s the quantity that determines toxicity. Your friend with the eye inflammation attributable to formaldehyde will have been applying way more than is ever contained in a dose of vaccine. Have her apply a typical dose of any vaccine to her eye and see if the symptoms return: better still, have her apply a typical dose of vaccine or plain water to her eye where neither you nor she knows what she's getting. Things that appear to have effects when both participants are aware what they are doing often revert to chance when both participants are blinded. But that's science, and you've made it clear you prefer to fool yourself!

          • Frank Odds
            I think the phrase ‘If a therapy has not worked, I don’t try it again’ is what rather starts to give the game away.
            Compared with what? Compared with which other people’s experiences? Compared with what rigorously controlled tests? And as to ‘I don’t consider myself gullible. I know I am discerning and have used various complementary therapies for the past 40 years’…. Well, that’s just about as promising a beginning to an argument as ‘Look, I’m not a racist, but….’. It does rather set up an immediate comedy reply.

  • I disagree with point (4). I think the assumption is that a healthy-looking chiro is a good doctor.

    • Excuse me, I could think that a “healthy-looking chiro” is a good “chiro” but never a good doctor because he/she is not a doctor, nor good neither bad, is a chiro.

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