MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

An international team of students of chiropractic have published a paper protesting against those chiropractors and chiropractic organisations that claim their treatments boost the immune system and thus protect the public from the corona-virus infection. Here their abstract:

Background

The 2019 coronavirus pandemic is a current global health crisis. Many chiropractic institutions, associations, and researchers have stepped up at a time of need. However, a subset of the chiropractic profession has claimed that spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is clinically effective in improving one’s immunity, despite the lack of supporting scientific evidence. These unsubstantiated claims contradict official public health policy reflecting poorly on the profession. The aim of this commentary is to provide our perspective on the claims regarding SMT and clinically relevant immunity enhancement, drawing attention to the damaging ramifications these claims might have on our profession’s reputation.

Main text

The World Federation of Chiropractic released a rapid review demonstrating the lack of clinically relevant evidence regarding SMT and immunity enhancement. The current claims contradicting this review carry significant potential risk to patients. Furthermore, as a result of these misleading claims, significant media attention and public critiques of the profession are being made. We believe inaction by regulatory bodies will lead to confusion among the public and other healthcare providers, unfortunately damaging the profession’s reputation. The resulting effect on the reputation of the profession is greatly concerning to us, as students.

Conclusion

It is our hope that all regulatory bodies will protect the public by taking appropriate action against chiropractors making unfounded claims contradicting public health policy. We believe it is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the chiropractic profession to ensure this is carried out and the standard of care is raised. We call on current chiropractors to ensure a viable profession exists moving forward.

In the paper, the authors also state that significant reputational damage can follow when unfounded claims are made that undermine public health policy… We call for a strong stance to be taken against these unsubstantiated claims and do not condone this unacceptable behaviour. As students, we are worried for the profession’s reputation and call on current chiropractors to ensure we have a viable profession moving forward. 

BRAVO!!!

Now that the students have realised that the immunity claim is bogus, it would be only a small step to realise that so many other claims chiropractors make on a daily basis are false as well. There may be a difference in terms of severity, but there is none in terms of principle. As responsible healthcare professional to be, the student must rebel against ALL false claims made in their name.

So, will these students and other like-minded chiropractors please not stop here. I urge them to have a serious look at the claims their profession makes. Subsequently, they ought to take the ethically appropriate action.

And what might that be?

I see two possibilities:

  1. Get rid of the abundance of lies that dominate chiropractic.
  2. Find a different, more honest profession.

41 Responses to Students of chiropractic condemn the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ of some chiropractors and their professional organisations

  • Yet again I seek advice from chiropractors:

    What attracted you to the ‘chiropractic profession’ in the first place?
    Did you appreciate that chiropractic is regarded as a SCAM by most doctors, before you enrolled in training?
    Do you believe vitalism has any part to play in modern healthcare?

    Why did you train as a chiropractor and not an osteopath?
    Or a doctor?
    Or a physiotherapist?

    Why do you style yourself as a ‘Dr’ and not as a ‘Ch’ (for ‘Chiropractor’)?
    Are you not proud of the ‘profession’ you have chosen?

    Do you tell your patients that the consensus of modern scientific and medical opinion is that there are no ‘subluxations’ which need ‘adjustment’ – even if you believe there are?

    If not, can you honestly claim you have obtained informed consent?

    Do you feel you practise with integrity?

    Thank you.

    • I feel bad for the chiropractors who are at least trying to make their profession more evidence based. However, I would ask them if they would abandon their profession if they believed that the are no chiropractic techniques that should be used in place of conventional treatments? It’s easy to dismiss the blatantly nonsensical stuff, but it would be hard to give up a well paying job that you invested a lot of time and work in getting where you are.

      • Hard to give up it may be – though numerous doctors give up on their initial chosen specialism and study and retrain in another.
        Many dentists, nurses and physiotherapists etc. have become doctors.
        Many doctors have become actors, financial wizards, politicians.

        Giving up quackery may be financially hard, but that is what integrity entails.
        And if the putative chiropractic student did not appreciate the issues before they started, they only have themselves to blame.
        And if they did appreciate the issues, they must be charged with being quacks, chancers, wannabees, whatever.
        That’s the point.

        • RR as a former orthopaedic surgeon you must have performed procedures that have subsequently been shown not to be supported by evidence. Is that why you gave up? Should all orthopaedic consultants give up or should you change and evolve as the evidence base changes?

          Chiropractic is changing and many recent posts and comments here have shown this. Despite the dogma in this group there is a good evidence base for the treatments provided by chiropractors as evidenced by NICE guidelines and the ASA.

          Please try to update your thinking based on the current state of chiropractic here in the UK rather than harping back and believing the information fed to you by EE

          • “is a good evidence base for the treatments provided by chiropractors as evidenced by NICE guidelines…”
            REALLY?
            can you show it to us, please?

          • To ‘And’ (whoever you are – why are you anonymous?):

            What are your answers to the questions I posed?
            I have not given up orthopaedic surgery, I simply gave up on procedures which were found (with evidence) not to provide sufficient benefit.
            E.g. I moved to the scarf first metatarsal osteotomy of rather than the Mitchell displacement, for example.

            I chose to study medicine rather than chiropractic (or osteopathy) because I thought that would provide me with the best education in medical science – and made no requirement to believe in anchronistic concepts as articles of faith.
            How right I was.
            And you?

          • Richard…”and made no requirement to believe in anchronistic concepts as articles of faith.”

            Oh, chiropractors are REQUIRED to hold onto these beliefs?

            Are today’s medical doctors required to believe in humoral medicine?

    • Richard…”Did you appreciate that chiropractic is regarded as a SCAM by most doctors, before you enrolled in training?”

      How is SCAM defined? If one means CAM, sure, chiropractors are typically seen as CAM.

      However,

      “The majority of surgeons believed that chiropractors provide effective therapy for some musculoskeletal complaints (81.8%),…”

      “North American orthopedic surgeons’ attitudes toward chiropractic were diverse, with 44.5% endorsing a negative impression, 29.4% holding favorable views, and 26.1% being neutral.”

      https://www.iwh.on.ca/journal-articles/attitudes-toward-chiropractic-survey-of-north-american-orthopedic-surgeons

      • An interesting survey of medical students

        “To transition from education to practice, participants felt that the benefits of learning about and collaborating with chiropractors were based around patient-centred principles. The understanding of chiropractic and its evidence was associated with greater comfort in referring future patients, but subjects wanted to know when to refer and for what conditions.”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3581000/

  • Once the students graduate and become embroiled in the real-world of dog-eat-dog, only the strong survive daily competition grind, they will recognize the vast majority of their clients will be dumber and less educated in logic and science…thus they will need to morph into a lying, conniving fraud like DD and BJ had envisioned as the true potential of a DC. Of course it’s hard to imagine even those frauds thought their faux doctor “education” would be worth $150,000 and take 4 years (as they realized it should take about a month to get through the “training”).
    Students have the brief luxury of transformational thinking regarding their ill-informed decision. Monday morning at the office brings home the reality that they have nothing real to offer except Entrepreneurial theatrics masquerading as healthcare; Activator, drop-tables, estim, ultrasound, decompression, dry needling, re-alignment manipulations, vitamins etc etc etc etc etc etc

  • EE you seem to be forgetful this has been said before:
    Sorry EE I thought that you were familiar with NICE guideline NG59. As you know NICE recommend treatments not professions and when they considered manual therapy in NG59 they stated:

    1.2.7 Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.

    In the full guideline evidence review of non-invasive treatment, section 12.1 p352 (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng59/evidence/full-guideline-assessment-and-noninvasive-treatments-pdf-2726158003) NICE state:

    “Mobilisation and soft tissue techniques are performed by a wide variety of practitioners; whereas
    spinal manipulation is usually performed by chiropractors or osteopaths, and by doctors or
    physiotherapists who have undergone additional training in spinal manipulation. Manual therapists
    often combine a range of techniques in their approach and may also include exercise interventions
    and advice about self-management.”

    I think that it is pretty clear that NICE RECOGNISE that chiropractors (and osteopaths and physiotherapists) can provide treatments consistent with their recommendations.

  • In castigating Edzard, ‘Andy’ (whoever he or she is) said two things:

    (i) “As you know NICE recommended treatments not professions and when they considered manual therapy in NG59 they stated… ‘Mobilisation and soft tissue techniques are performed by a wide variety of practitioners; whereas
    spinal manipulation is usually performed by chiropractors or osteopaths, and by doctors or
    physiotherapists who have undergone additional training in spinal manipulation. Manual therapists
    often combine a range of techniques in their approach and may also include exercise interventions
    and advice about self-management.’ ”

    (ii) I think that it is pretty clear that NICE RECOGNISE that chiropractors (and osteopaths and physiotherapists) can provide treatments consistent with their recommendations.

    Sorry Andy, just because NICE recognises some of the techniques chiropractors use does not mean the ‘profession of chiropractic’ is recognised.

    ‘Chiropractic’ will have changed when the last chiropractor has trained as a physiotherapist or doctor – until then you will have to face up to the fact that you are emeshed in an anachronistic belief system inimical to modern medicine.
    Sigh.

    • @RR
      Richard until you face up to the fact that you are emeshed in an anachronistic belief system around chiropractic……..

      • @CrackpotChiro,
        Until you realise you are enmeshed in a 125 year old scam you will stay in that anachronistic mindset of vitalism by another name.
        Richard (who is entitled to Mr Rawlins and a very nice fellow to boot) has saved more lives in a day than you may ever in a lifetime of perpetrating a wealth transfer deception.

    • RR….emeshed in an anachronistic belief system inimical to modern medicine.

      “About two-thirds of visits are for low-back pain, followed by head and neck pain and problems with extremities.”

      “Less than 10 percent of patients seek help for nonmusculo-skeletal problems, such as migraine, middle-ear inflammation (otitis media), and asthma.”

      https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB4539.html

      Maybe one could say chiropractic is “inimical to modern medicine” for nonspecific neck and back pain, perhaps due to the lack of high quality evidence of effectiveness and the potential serious harms of modern medicine which has not adequately addressed these very common conditions?

      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14656566.2020.1735353

      “Surgeon authors have predominantly cited one of the indication trials that reported more favorable results for surgery, despite a lack of superior methodology or sample size.”

      https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/articleSelectPrefsTemp?Redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fthespinejournalonline.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1529943013007742&key=03a8ed1de699011e130637e61ddbee75ec657e7b

      Of course there are also the issues of failed back surgery and unnecessary back surgery.

      But I suppose it is easier to lump chiropractors as “emeshed in an anachronistic belief system” rather than admit that some chiropractors have evolved past D.D. Palmer concepts and actually want to be modern team players.

      Perhaps medical dogma will pass one retirement at a time.

    • RR so it appears that you are suggesting that although NICE specifically mentions chiropractors in NG59 (p352) and recognises that chiropractors can provide the recommended treatment (spinal manipulation) that it does not mean the profession of chiropractic is recognised. If this were true, NICE would be recognising an unrecognised profession, and thus your argument seems a tad silly.

      You seem to be offering a very outdated view of chiropractic in the UK. Chiropractic is recognised by an Act of Parliamanent, has a statutory regulator, a Royal College, 7 university courses (3 announced in the last 4 years), record numbers of students, chiropractors working in the NHS, so it is difficult to see your point of view. Furthermore, I trained 25 years ago and was never taught a faith based belief system, vitalistsm or subluxation theory. We were taught to consider back pain according to Waddell’s biopsychosocial model, to utilise a package of care that included rehabilitation, to practice EBM and allow the practic of chiropractic to evolve, This is how the majority of modern chiropractors are trained in the UK and they are quite comfortable with calling out those chiropractors who try and promote outdated methods and beliefs (as the blog above confirms).

      I would suggest that you try and up date your thinking and base it on evidence rather than what you are being fed on blogs like this,

      • “practice EBM”???
        but you don’t!

        • EE…Oh, please enlighten us how you know this chiropractor doesn’t practice EBM.

          • DC squeaked: “EE…Oh, please enlighten us how you know this chiropractor doesn’t practice EBM.”

            ROFL.

            For those lost souls who don’t know why that comment is ridiculously funny:
            “EE…Oh, please enlighten us how you know this crystal healer doesn’t practice EBM.”

          • Pete…can a DPT practice EBM?

          • Medicine is practiced by medical doctors / physicians. Physical therapists practice physical therapy, chiropractors practice so called chiropcractic. Nurses practice nursing and so on…

            Wannabe laymen who pretend to be able to practice medicine, risk prosecution in many countries.

          • @DC,
            Tu Quoque makes you a cock too.

            (Hint: This is a word play to taunt the dim.)

          • EBM is defined as the “conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients,” rather than making clinical decisions solely on clinical experience and pathophysiologic rationale.1,2 Precision Clinical Medicine, Volume 1, Issue 2, September 2018, Pages 60–64,

            I haven’t seen where only MDs can state they utilize EBM. Maybe because the word medicine isn’t owned by MDs.

            Medicine: treatment for illness or injury, or the study of this (Cambridge)

            Example…

            “Practicing EBM will help the sports physical therapist deal with the increasingly insurmountable growth of medical literature that is published. Additionally, practicing EBM should allow clinicians an avenue for excellence and development in clinical practice.” Evidence – based medicine/practice in sports physical therapy. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy · October 2012

            Even BMJ Evidence Based Medicine shares on topics other than “medicine”

            Examples
            https://ebm.bmj.com/content/5/5/145
            https://ebm.bmj.com/content/8/4/109

            But I suppose some feel the need to protect ‘their words’.

          • Yes DC, it is important to protect not only words but their meaning and significance.
            Sensible, educated people try to use words carefully and correctly.

            While others feel the need to bloat their worth with words they hardly comprehend.

            Sigh.

          • @Björn

            Words don’t seem to matter very much to DC. Just look at this post from a couple of years ago (and the comments surrounding it). Back then he called himself “Doc Dale”, but changed this to “DC” and explained: “It doesn’t matter to me.”

          • True. Going by DC or Doc Dale, it doesn’t matter to me.

          • Sure, try to protect “your” words. Hasn’t worked very well with ‘medicine’ or ‘doctor’ but it’s sweet you still have hope.

          • DC squeaked:

            True. Going by DC or Doc Dale, it doesn’t matter to me.

            Sure, try to protect “your” words. Hasn’t worked very well with ‘medicine’ or ‘doctor’ but it’s sweet you still have hope.

            Would it matter to you, or to anyone else, if I referred to myself as DC?

            What if I called myself any of the following: neurologist; radiologist; acupuncturist; homeopath; chiropractor?

          • Pete…No one is suggesting that chiropractors call themselves MDs.

          • DC: “Pete…No one is suggesting that chiropractors call themselves MDs.”

            Correct, no one is suggesting that chiropractors call themselves MDs. Now we’ve dismissed your red herring, please answer my questions of Friday 22 May 2020 at 14:42:
            https://edzardernst.com/2020/05/students-of-chiropractic-condemn-the-unacceptable-behaviour-of-some-chiropractors-and-their-professional-organisations/#comment-123430

          • Pete. Sure you can go around calling yourself a chiropractor. But depending were you are you may be in violation of regulatory rules.

          • Non-Doctor C,
            If you pretend to practise EBM, then stump up the E, then explain how it is M?

            Your faffing about with backs does not qualify you to even lance a boil, let alone do something remotely useful for someone who is not part of the worried well.

            For someone who could not get into a physiotherapy degree, a medical degree not within cooee, you have a surety of competency not based on evidence (that E word again). Do you have other than hubris?

          • Same old Frank….”Your faffing about with backs does not qualify you to even lance a boil, let alone do something remotely useful for someone who is not part of the worried well.”

            Sure, one should use the pharmaceutical approach for nonspecific back pain…oh wait…how’s that working out?

  • To answer Richard Rawlins, I’m a chiropractor unfortunately. I had no idea that it’s SCAM before deciding to study it. I only realised once I had started the degree and kept telling myself that maybe by the time I reached the end, somehow it would be more evidence based. The lecturers brain wash you and it’s essentially a cult. I initially chose chiropractic, because where I come from they are very respected. Now I’m in a profession that I absolutely detest. Everyday I con
    people out of thousands of dollars selling care packages to them and hoping I don’t cause a VAD in the process. I’m ashamed by it. I suspect a lot of chiropractors are stuck like I am , with a dead end degree and financially dependent on the job. I am however taking the hit now and going back to university to retrain to become a paramedic . It’s an evidence based profession (I checked this time) where I can actually help people and be a decent human being. I can’t wait to dissociate myself from the chiropractic anti vaxx SCAM that it is and I urge others to follow suit.

  • Sure you can go around calling yourself a chiropractor. But depending were you are you may be in violation of regulatory rules.

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