It is bad enough to mislead adult patients into believing that chiropractic is effective for conditions for which it is clearly not. However, it is far worse, in my view, to do that for paediatric conditions.

There is no doubt that chiropractors continue to treat children and advertise their services for childhood conditions. I am not aware of good evidence to show that chiropractic is effective for any childhood condition at all. Yet, whenever I or anyone else says so, we get ignored. Chiropractors do not accept this sort of criticism. This blog provides more than ample evidence for that, I believe.

Perhaps chiropractors are not good at reading?

Perhaps they only understand pictures?

As for my previous post, I have assembled here a few pictures posted by chiropractors on Twitter. They all relate to chiropractic treatments for children.

Why did I do that?

Because I hope that the many chiropractors who read my blog could now point us to the evidence that support the claims made in these advertisements. If they cannot do that, it would be an ethical imperative for them to clearly state that these posts are deceitful. If they fail to do this, they are tolerating quackery in their own ranks without objection – and that would render them unethical!

Or have I got this wrong???

[please click to see them full size]


44 Responses to Chiropractic for kids: a pack of offensive lies

  • Oh lord. The text on most of those pictures is not just unethical, it is purely delusional.

    I wonder if some of those chiropractors actually believe that nonsense or are just out to maximize profits. In either case they look like a danger to children.

  • The same issue applies with osteopathy. There is no good evidence to show that osteopathy is effective for any childhood condition at all, yet osteopaths continue to treat babies and children. They make the same misleading claims as chiropractors. A good example of this can be seen here:

  • Thank you for these posts! You are as always, on-the-mark.
    Turning on the light makes ‘most’ roaches scramble, however I have seen many bold and apparently arrogant roaches who continue their roaching, unimpeded by the light. Chiropractors have learned well from roaches.
    These inane and arcane gypsy tricks perpetuated on children (via there deluded, undereducated and supremely gullible parents) are a disgrace. They were ‘invented’ by entrepreneurs based on the pointless and bogus theatrics endemic in adult “spinal alignment” nonsense: “drop” tables, “adjusting guns”, Activators and thumb-pressure idiocy. All of which at the least don’t subject fragile spines to gross, forceful manipulation.
    So certain are these frauds that I guarantee they NEVER suggest detrimental side-effects nor “inappropriate re-alignment” or “created-misalignment” occur…it’s ALWAYS and ONLY corrective and supremely beneficial.
    Chiropractic: giving false hope to millions since 1895.

    • Thanks Michael! I needed this read today!

      However, I do think that comparing Chiropractors to Roaches, might be a little upsetting and demeaning to the Roaches.

  • Prof Ernst. You confuse “chiropractic care” and “spinal manual therapy”. The German orthopaedic surgeon, Heiner Biedermann in his book “Manual Therapy in Children”, has written extensively on the treatment of children for the conditions you mention, as well as ADHD, autonomic regulation, asymmetry of posture, KISS syndrome (kinematic Instability of the sub occipital spine), dysgnosia and dyspraxia. The list of contributors to this book include psychologists, anatomists, orthopaedists, orthodontists etc. The treatment of choice is “Spinal Manual Therapy”, and he quotes the writings of DD Palmer in part of the book.
    You and your contributors would be advised to read it to gain a better insight into the management of these disorders.

    • chiros don’t joke

    • Check the tags at the bottom of the page. It’s satire, I believe.

      I just hope Clay Jones is not giving chiropractors ideas.

      • Well, many chiros have been caught sneaking into hospitals to perform their dark arts on newborns, so I guess it wont be that far-fetched to believe that they will do it on a fetus as well – simply because they are delusional. Brings me to a different point. It is useless to try and convince these people to stop their unethical and harmful practices, in the same way as it is impossible to convince the mafia to stop because they are acting unethical etc. It is up to the politicians, regulators, VC’s etc. to do something about it, but for some reason they don’t or are reluctant (or they have too many vested interests). Shouldn’t the focus be more on naming (and shaming) the responsible politicians, regulators etc. (name the people by name), and make it publicly known what is happening under their watch?

    • Courtyard by Marriott in Wagga Wagga – I think not

  • There is no evidence Edzard and we rip into this BS on the chiropractic forums constantly.
    So are you ready to support like minded chiropractors?

    Hi Edzard,

    I’m a chiropractor who does not practice on patients under the age of 10 but here is a literature review that identifies where there is and isn’t some evidence. It is easy to find and should be the guideline for any pediatric chiropractic intervention.

    Effectiveness Studies Retained and Evaluated in the Literature Review, by Author, Research Design, and Condition
    First Author Design Condition Addressed Quality⁎ Findings††
    Karpouzi37 SR ADHD High No support
    Plaszewski38 SR Adolescent scoliosis High No support
    George30 SR Asthma High Limited support
    Alcantara31 SR Asthma Low Limited support
    Alcantara39 SR Autism Low No support
    Poder40 SR Cancer Low No support
    Wyatt29 RCT Cerebral palsy Low No support
    Chase41 SR Constipation High No support
    Alcantara42 SR Constipation Low No support
    Schetzek43 SR Headache Low Effective
    Vaughn44 SR Headaches and spinal pain High no support
    Cerritelli27 RCT Hospital stay, preterm infants High Limited support; reduced hospital stay
    Miller28 RCT Infantile colic High Effective; reduced crying time
    Dobson35 SR Infantile colic High Limited support, reduced crying time
    Alcantara33 SR Infantile colic Low Limited support
    Ernst34 SR Infantile colic Low No support
    Gleberzon14 SR Multiple conditions High Limited support, asthma‡‡
    Posadski45 SR Multiple conditions High No support
    Huang36 SR Nocturnal enuresis High Limited support
    Pohlman46 SR Otitis media High No support
    Pepino32 SR Respiratory disease High Limited support

    This suggests some level of evidence in support of chiropractic care for Colic, Respiratory disease, Asthma, Headaches, Pre term infants, and bedwetting. Certainly enough evidence for a trial of care. This is the best current evidence to my knowledge outside of musculoskeletal conditions. I acknowledge more evidence needs to be gathered but we can only work with what is currently out there. I can promise you the vast majority of chiropractors cringe when seeing the unfounded claims you have outlined in those pictures. However to claim there is no evidence for any condition is being just as ignorant on the other side of the scale.

    • this is an article by chiros reporting that they agree that their treatments are effective for children. the conclusion was:
      “All of the seed statements in this best practices document achieved a high level of consensus and thus represent a general framework for what constitutes an evidence-based and reasonable approach to the chiropractic management of infants, children, and adolescents.”

    • The question is always this: WHERE does any of the ‘knowledge’, basis and acumen regarding treatment of ANY condition (infant, adult or animal) come from?? DD and BJ?? Half the profession disavows them, correct?
      The college a DC attends??? What do THEY know? IF they possessed such gnostic wisdom and potent knowledge why are there so many varied techniques and such inter-profession and inter-technique acrimony?? Clearly ALL the techniques cannot work equally well (excepting most pain naturally modifies over time)…and IF one actually did ‘work’ why aren’t they ALL doing it??? And how is palpation-of-a-subluxation actually ‘taught’….when there is no normative data or objective standard to appeal to? Who “grades” the nascent DCs as to their ‘subluxation/misalignment/fixation’ palpation correctness?? And aren’t ALL the evidenced-based procedures developed (and researched) by MDs, PTs, MAs and PhDs??
      The base-of-knowledge from which chiropractic claims its potential is simply non-existent.
      This is just a tiny sample of the unanswerable questions that a pseudoscience generates in the mind of a non-delusional.

  • @Crackpot_Chiro on Friday 18 August 2017 at 03:16

    “So are you ready to support like minded chiropractors?”

    Why should anyone? Chiro was BS, is BS, and isn’t likely to change while it embraces the notion spinal manipulation cures anything other than your empty wallet. Reform yourself first by changing to a real medical profession (on the somewhat farfetched idea you would actually qualify academically to any medical related course).

    Unless you have something positive to contribute, take your “reforming” nonsense elsewhere, perhaps to the bottom of the garden where the chiro fairies live?

  • @Osteopathie Praxis im Klinikum Karlsruhe on Sunday 20 August 2017 at 14:44

    What evidence is there for osteo for anything? CST is total nonsense, so it is excluded by default.

  • For goodness sakes…the Emperor has no clothes. The evidence is clear. It’s time to wake up. The more we argue with these Chiros, the more we seem to give this practice validity.

    Perhaps as was pointed out here above, it is indeed time to focus on holding Government regulatory bodies and Politicians responsible for the needless injury and deaths (Brain – Stem Strokes, etc.) caused by this ongoing money-making scam.
    And I would further suggest that all Private Insurance Companies also get called to task on providing this coverage. (Most if not all of our Canadian provinces have ceased basic Chiropractic health care coverage, so this is at least this a step in the right direction)

    For the Chiropractors who do not “work” on children and those that do not endorse the rapid neck twisting philosophy, maybe these individuals could be transitioned and trained into a similar accredited field of care. The emphasis here on “Accredited and Science Based”.

    • One could start by knowing the definition of scam:

      an illegal plan for making money, especially one that involves tricking people (Cambridge)

      Of course if they are doing something illegal there are laws already in place.

      A proper cervical adjust does not involve a “rapid neck twisting”.

      Most serious AE appear to be due to the missing of contraindications. That appears to be more of an educational issue, not a procedure issue. Serious AEs also appears to be rare based on current evidence.

      Cervical adjustments for adults are in the clinical guidelines for both physical therapists and osteopaths. One should start there if one wishes to stop the practice as they do less than 10% of cSMT. I’m unaware of any chiropractic college that teaches “rapid neck twisting” on infants.

      Yes I know several chiropractors who left the profession to be PTs, DOs or MDs. Interestingly enough, it’s usually due to the quacks in the profession.

      • “One could start by knowing the definition of scam:”

        scam noun infml US: a dishonest or illegal plan or activity, esp. one for making money.
        — Cambridge Dictionary

scam noun: a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation.

        — Merriam-Webster

scam noun infml: a dishonest scheme; a fraud.

        — Oxford Reference

        “Cervical adjustments for adults …”

        The topic is: Chiropractic for kids: a pack of offensive lies.

        One could start by knowing the definition of chiropractic:
        Malpractice of chiropractors – just the tip of an iceberg?
        Note: DrDale was one of many pseudonyms used prior to DC.

        Bart B. Van Bockstaele on Saturday 07 July 2018 at 21:49

        [DrDale:] Bart, first one has to understand what most chiropractors actually do on a daily basis.

        Perhaps, but it seems that chiropractors don’t know that themselves. As you said:

        [DrDale:] The best way to know what “chiropractic is” is to look at surveys as to what chiropractors do. The vast majority do or promote exercise, rehab, ergonomics, healthy lifestyle, etc.

        That is a scary proposition to me, even more so because chiropractors claim to have an education. What is the worth of this education that doesn’t even seem to teach them what the job entails?
        END OF QUOTE

        • The appropriate method of cSMT does not involve a “rapid twisting of the neck” on adults or on children/infants.

          • … and HV [in HVLA] does not stand for ‘high velocity;
            it stands for ‘heinously viperous’!

          • EE: and HV [in HVLA] does not stand for ‘high velocity

            The “high velocity” is to occur at the end of the joint/s range of motion. The set up for the adjustment, to reach that end range of motion, should be low velocity (what is typically referred to as “taking the joint to lock-out”).

            I am surprised Ernst doesn’t know this, well, not really.

          • “HV [in HVLA] does not stand for ‘high velocity”
            OH, REALLY (
            I am surprised you disagree with virtually every text on the matter

          • The appropriate method of cSMT does not involve a “rapid twisting of the neck”

            Yes, it does:

            “Quotation marks within an emphatic context should tell readers that the content in quotes means something other than what it usually would.”


            Read what I wrote in context to the comment that I was responding to.

            — ‘DC’ on Pranic Healing revisited … no, it’s not a hoax

          • I never said it didn’t stand for high velocity. In fact I wrote when it is to occur.

            “The “high velocity” is to occur at the end of the joint/s range of motion.”

          • and you think I don’t know when it occurs?
            [and it does ‘stand for’ high velocity]
            are you trying to surpass yourself with idiocy?

          • EE: and you think I don’t know when it occurs?

            Apparently not if you are defending that “rapid twisting of the neck” is the equivalent of a properly performed HVLA.

            But I’ll give that he was probably just trying to be dramatic and fear-mongering and/or isn’t aware of the appropriate application of the procedure.

          • I never stated that “rapid twisting of the neck” is the equivalent of a properly performed HVLA”.
            But this little exchange taught me something: the 1st rule of chiropractic = never admit when you are wrong.
            THANK YOU

          • EE: I never stated that “rapid twisting of the neck” is the equivalent of a properly performed HVLA”.

            That is what was originally stated and what I was responding to. Please try to follow along next time.

            I think some in here have watched too many Bruce Lee movies and equate that to a proper cervical spinal manipulation (HVLA).

          • you are hopless

          • So you mean all those chiropractor marketing movies on YouTube are wrong?? Please post a link to one of your movies so we can see a properly performed neck jerk.

          • The “high velocity” is to occur at the end of the joint/s range of motion. The set up for the adjustment, to reach that end range of motion, should be low velocity (what is typically referred to as “taking the joint to lock-out”).

            Now you have some explaining to do “DC”. You seem to be saying in one comment that proper manipulation does not involve ‘High Velocity’ but then you say in another that the ‘High Velocity’ part is to be saved to the very end of the movement, near the limits of natural movement. Which as it happens is exactly where a forceful manipulation is most risk filled??
            Please tell us, which is it?

            Let me repeat my previous suggestion that you post a link to one of your own sales-pitch-reels to show us how a “proper neck manipulation”* is to be performed.

            Talking about chiropractor advertisement films. Apart from the action-movies they put on YouTube to sell their acts (and make this old trauma surgeon cringe), there is quite a collection of slapstick comedy.
            Like this hilarious reel, complete with leg-pulling, body-thumping, gun-slinging and towel-lynching that makes the audience roll in the aisles.

            *My own learned conclusion is that the only properly performed neck manipulation entails delicately bending your wife’s neck a litttle bit as you kiss it lovingly from behind before you whisper sweet words in her ear.

  • Bjorn: You seem to be saying in one comment that proper manipulation does not involve ‘High Velocity’

    I am not sure where I said or implied that. Quote it and I’ll clarify.

    Bjorn: So you mean all those chiropractor marketing movies on YouTube are wrong??

    Many of the ones I have watched I consider poor technique. Now if that’s what they actually do in clinical practice or if they were acting out for click-bait or if they modified the adjustment for video angle or if they were “nervous”, etc, idk.

    Bjorn: post a link to one of your own sales-pitch-reels to show us how a “proper neck manipulation”* is to be performed.

    I don’t have a sales-pitch-reel of me performing a cervical adjustment. In fact I don’t have any videos online geared towards sales on any topic.

    Anything else?

  • Thank you Björn Geir for your post’s here. I especially enjoyed reading your comment and analogy on kissing one’s wife’s neck and whispering sweet words. Think I’ll go do this right now.

    Happy New Year Everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.