Ep 315: One Star

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“If you’re abused at home, you can tell me.”

It was brought to my attention this morning that perhaps I am not an expert on the ancient healing art of chiropractic. Perhaps when I sat down to write the show notes, google was only returning the results for half of the story. Perhaps I was just in a hurry, and seeings how these are notes for a comedy talk show, perhaps no one would really care about my insignificant scribblings. I didn’t really plan on actual board certified, life saving, mystical healing chiropractors reading my silly little blog and taking offense at my lack of research. It would seem that before I dismiss something as a scam, I should take better care to find ALL of the evidence I can. Sometimes it just isn’t enough relying on your favorite board certified doctors and skeptics. Sometimes you have to get your evidence straight from the source. Again, if I thought I was going to be critiqued by someone in the field, I would have spent a little more time on it. Perhaps I should just stick to delivering water and leave the mystical woo debunking to the professionals. But you know I can’t help myself. SO…. I took another hour or so out of my day to do some more research on the matter of chiropractic subluxations. The funny thing is, the more I searched, the more it doesn’t look good for the chiropractors. Of course, this is all open to change if they ever come up with some conclusive evidence that states otherwise, but so far, every single piece of literature I came across basically said what I had initially written and linked to in the monday show notes. I’m sorry, there just isn’t any conclusive evidence that suggests this is a real thing. Kind of like god right? Anyways, You also have to understand, I have absolutely no stake in this at all. I am simply trying to find somewhat interesting things to write about three days a week, and this is just something I heard mentioned on another podcast by a very respectable doctor. I just so happened to notice that the town I live in has a lot of this “chiropractic healing” going on, so I figured it was fair game. So again, I present to you, my more in depth findings on chiropractic subluxations…

Let’s start back in February 2004. There was a study done in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics entitled Chiropractic Manipulation and Acute Neck Pain: A Review of the Evidence.

“There has been scant investigative research into the treatment of acute neck pain with chiropractic manipulation. Consequently, more data are needed and appropriate studies should be initiated.” –Michael T. Haneline, DC, MPH

So no problem there, perhaps they just haven’t had enough time to collect the data they need to say one way or another. I mean let’s be serious, this art of “healing” has only been around for a little over 100 years. Just give them more time. Let’s fast forward to June of 2008 and see if they’ve collected any more convincing evidence…

“At present there is no evidence-based indication for chiropractic neck manipulation. There are many claims made for this procedure, that it can cure migraine or other headaches being the most common, but the evidence does not support such claims. Straight chiropractors – those who believe in the ideology that a magical life energy they call “innate intelligence” is necessary for health, and that most or all disease is caused by the blockage of innate intelligence. They manipulate the spine, including the neck, in order to relieve imagined subluxations and free the flow in innate intelligence. This form of chiropractic is pure pseudoscience.” — Dr. Steven Novella, MD

Hmmm, still nothing huh? Trust me, it’s not that I didn’t look, it’s just that there is no such thing. Like I said, if there is evidence, please explain it to me, I’m not an expert by any means, I’m just curious. Just in case you are still shaking your head, perhaps a little upset that you’ve wasted quite a bit of money trying to cure problems that most likely would have gone away on their own, or with proper science based medical attention. Let’s jump to December 2009 and see if anyone’s made any progress.

“What’s the evidence? In the 114 years since chiropractic began, the existence of chiropractic subluxations has never been objectively demonstrated. They have never been shown to cause interference with the nervous system. They have never been shown to cause disease. Critics of chiropractic have been pointing this out for decades, but now chiropractors themselves have come to the same conclusion.”

“When chiropractors use spinal manipulation therapy for symptomatic relief of mechanical low back pain, they are employing an evidence-based method also used by physical therapists, doctors of osteopathy, and others. When they do “chiropractic adjustments” to correct a “subluxation” for other conditions, especially for non-musculoskeletal conditions or “health maintenance,” they are employing a non-scientific belief system that is no longer viable.” –Harriet Hall, MD

Very curious so far. You would think that with all these people paying for and practicing the way of the chiropractor, there would be some kind of solid evidence that says the subluxation can be objectively demonstrated as something that causes disease and interference with the nervous system. So far this has not been demonstrated, and if it has, they have kept it super quiet. Maybe in the future they will make some breakthrough. Who knows, like I said, I’m just a dumb delivery guy…

Here is the last bit of words I’m going to quote that I found while searching the internet trying to expand my mind. This is a little something entitled, “An epidemiological examination of the subluxation construct using Hill’s criteria of causation” written by three chiropractors and a PhD. Sounds very interesting, this should have some sort of evidence to justify visit after visit after visit to the chiro office. I mean hell, it was written by three of them and a doctor right? In the article published in the journal Chiropractic and Osteopathy they conclude…

“There is a significant lack of evidence in the literature to fulfill Hill’s criteria of causation as regards chiropractic subluxation. No supportive evidence is found for the chiropractic subluxation being associated with any disease process or of creating suboptimal health conditions requiring intervention. Regardless of popular appeal this leaves the subluxation construct in the realm of unsupported speculation. This lack of supportive evidence suggests the subluxation construct has no valid clinical applicability.”

I sure wouldn’t want to encourage spending hundreds of dollars a month on a treatment based on unsupported speculation. I mean, if you went to the doctor, and he said you needed surgery, and you asked him how certain he was, and he told you not very, but that there was a lot of unsupported speculation, would you get the surgery? I sure wouldn’t, but then again, what do I know right? Here’s another link to some more reading on the subject of science and chiropractic if you are interested. You should also check out the comments on the science based medicine articles I’ve linked to, they have some really great discussion. Out of hundreds of comments, some for, some against, there still lacks any kind of proof that this is nothing more than a ploy created by chiropractors to distinguish their business from the physical therapists.

“Superstition never dies, particularly when it is essential to livelihood.” — Harriet Hall, MD

  • Guess who got recognized the other day. No, it wasn’t me. It was her. She’s more approachable. She has boobs.
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  • We’ll see you for the friday live show. Make sure to hook it up when you get paid, spread the word, and check out the store.
  • Thanks for playing my clip! Dig yer show and it’s about time to bring my crap back! ******La’chaim

  • …btw, I am about to bring AmHamShow back, but until then you can listen to my previously recorded craziness here: http://amhamshow.com …don’t say I didn’t warn you! …….wait, I didn’t warn you! OK, consider yerself warned! …Don’t say I didn’t warn you!