Monday, July 24, 2006

Chiropracters: Kill or Cure

The Journal of Neurology has an interesting article on Vertebral artery dissections after chiropractic neck manipulation in Germany over three years (subscription required to view full article, also available as a pdf at Alties might like to note that Germany is regularly cited as an "enlightened" nation where alternative therapies are regularly accepted as real.

Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) has been observed in association with chirotherapy of the neck. However, most publications describe only single case reports or a small number of cases. We analyzed data from neurological departments at university hospitals in Germany over a three year period of time of subjects with vertebral artery dissections associated with chiropractic neck manipulation.

Of 36 patients identified with VAD, one patient died and one was in a vegetative state. The average hospital stay for the others was 20 days, and half were discharged with continuing focal neurological deficits. So it appears chiropracters are not only expert at finding subluxations that no one else can see, but also have some other deadly skills as well. Though it wasn't just chiropracters twisting people's necks, as Quackwatch makes clear:

This report is highly significant but needs careful interpretation. Although it is titled "Vertebral dissections after chiropractic neck manipulation . . . " only four of the patients were actually manipulated by chiropractors. Half were treated by orthopedic surgeons, five by a physiotherapist, and the rest by a neurologist, general medical practitioner, or homeopath. It is possible - although unlikely - that the nonchiropractors used techniques that were more dangerous than chiropractors use in North America. The authors suggested that the orthopedists' treatment was safer, but there is no way to determine this from their data. Regardless, the study proves beyond doubt that neck manipulation can cause strokes, an assertion that many chiropractors deny.

Unsurprisingly, rather than assessing the evidence and reassessing techniques, chiropracters are sticking by their guns and stating it's the other practitioners' fault.

When compared to many medical procedures, the chiropractic adjustment is hundreds to thousands of times safer!

Mr Painter points out that it is not clear which of the various practitioners caused the patient injuries. By a false leap of logic, he seems to assume that, ergo, no chiropracter caused any of the injuries. His own argument is that we don't know.

This article also contains incontrovertible proof that medical doctors (GPs), physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, homeopaths, and medical neurologists should NOT use spinal manipulation on their patients.

Nor, EoR ventures to suggest, should chiropracters.


  1. What kills me is that they see themselves as doctors - such a travesty of a profession!


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