ABC’s Catalyst covers the cringe of chiropractic

Last night the excellent science program Catalyst covered the growing problem of non-evidence-based chiropractic. It is a good thing that the fly-boys of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia are getting more exposure to the light. Much has been written about these guys, and their ties to anti-vaccination organisations. I’ve covered them here and here. Dr Rachael Dunlop has covered an anti-vaccine seminar by the CAA’s NSW secretary, Nimrod Weiner, here.

For an excellent post by Mr John Cunningham, a Melbourne spinal surgeon, which gives  an overview of the problems which exist between evidence and non-evidence-based chiropractors, see this post:  Chiropractors – struggling to find the subluxation. He also appears in the Catalyst episode.

Sometimes only a metaphor can explain the problem…

To evidence-based chiropractors: these non-evidence-based guys are a dog turd on the soles of your profession’s shoes, being stomped throughout your home, mashed into your light-coloured shag-pile carpet, against your wishes. It is time to ask them to leave, so you can spend more time on enjoying your home, and less time cleaning up offensive smears.

Here is the episode. Most of you have already seen it. For those who haven’t, enjoy. You won’t regret it.

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There were so many highlights from this episode; but, this one best exemplifies how non-evidence-based chiropractors are regarded by serious professionals:

NARRATION
Tony Croke explains that even the slightest misalignment in the spine can act like a traffic jam in the central nervous system, and lead to disease. In chiropractic circles, it’s called a ‘subluxation’.

Dr Tony Croke
And so it’s not necessarily that you have to compress the nerve root on the way out, but, in fact, the messages coming back in can be distorted because of that static in the nervous system travelling back upward.

Mr John Cunningham
(Laughs) I’m sorry. It’s just senseless rubbish. Um… If there is a static, well, why haven’t they shown it? If that is the mechanism, they’ve had all these years to describe it, to… document it, to study it, to perform experiments on it. Why haven’t they?

@ABCnewsIntern has captured the moment wonderfully, here.

John facepalm

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8 Responses to ABC’s Catalyst covers the cringe of chiropractic

  1. Andy says:

    The JC moment made the entire thing worth watching. Tony Croke’s attitude was just alarming.

    But here’s the thing… if they don’t think they should hold or share any opinion on something as fundamental as vaccination – because it’s not a part of their profession – then how can they ever be trusted as the first port of call for family medical advice? If they are too unqualified to understand that vaccination is a safe and simple preventative treatment, how are they remotely qualified to identify and advise on potentially life-threatening medical issues?

    The regulator is clearly a joke – but that seems to be ubiquitous where the health sector is concerned.

  2. @advodiaboli says:

    I was pleased Catalyst included chiropractor John Reggars (past president of the Chiropractors Registration Board of Victoria and vice president of the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia), who is highly critical of the trend toward their founder’s mystical beliefs.

    In a paper examining paediatric chiropractic, lack of evidence in general and the clear pursuit of income that sustains chiro’ today, he is quoted:

    “Chiropractic trade publications and so-called educational seminar promotion material often abound with advertisements of how practitioners can effectively sell the vertebral subluxation complex to an ignorant public,” Mr Reggars said.

    “Phrases such as ‘double your income’, ‘attract new patients’ and ‘keep your patients longer in care’, are common enticements for chiropractors to attend technique and practice management seminars.” Mr Reggars, who stressed his support for the “mainstream majority”in the profession, also condemned the use of care contracts, where patients signed up to a fixed number of treatment sessions.

    “Selling such concepts as lifetime chiropractic care, the use of contracts of care, the misuse of diagnostic equipment such as thermography and surface electromyography and the X-raying of every new patient, all contribute to our poor reputation, public distrust and official complaints.”
    “For the true believer, the naive practitioner or undergraduate chiropractic student who accepts in good faith the propaganda and pseudoscience peddled by the VSC teachers, mentors and professional organisations, the result is the same, a sense of belonging and an unshakable and unwavering faith in their ideology.”

    ** Chiropractic at the crossroads or are we just going around in circles? **

    http://www.chiromt.com/content/19/1/11

    And picking up on John Cunningham’s observation that evidence is inexplicably absent, I’m reminded of the British Chiropractic Association v. Simon Singh case. England’s most senior judge commented at the time:

    “The opportunities to put this right have not been taken… I’m just baffled. If there is reliable evidence, why hasn’t someone published it?” He was also critical of the BCA’s inability to provide evidence of their ability to treat “childhood asthma and other ailments”.

    http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2010/02/simon-singh-chiropractic-bca-libel-appeal/

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  4. Moobie69 says:

    Osteopaths are much safer, effective and far less driven by profit.

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