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'Chiropractors Are Bullshit' ( 328

From an article on The Outline, submitted by two readers: If you're one of the approximately 80 percent of Americans who have suffered from back pain, you may have been referred to a chiropractor for medical help. In the modern-day internet landscape, you'll find chiropractic celebrities like Dr. Josh Axe (1.7 million Facebook followers), Dr. Billy DeMoss (20,000 Facebook followers), and Dr. Eric Berg (472,000 YouTube subscribers) giving advice that goes beyond managing spinal issues. Both in their offices and on social media, chiropractors have adapted to a marketplace that's demanding more than just pain management: they extol the virtues of an "alkaline diet," tell you how to manage stress with detoxing, and wax scientific about the adrenal gland. [...] Chiropractic care, I'm sorry to say, is little more than the buffoonery of a 19th-century lunatic who derived most of his medical theory from seances. It has not evolved much since its creation. Chiropractic beliefs are dangerously far removed from mainstream medicine, and the vocation's practices have been linked to strokes, herniated discs, and even death. Chiropractors can't replace your doctor, and I'm amazed that they're still even allowed to practice. [...] Though some chiropractors are now making an effort to introduce evidence-based practices into their treatment, chiropractic as a whole hasn't evolved like other areas of medicine -- with hypotheses, experimentation, and peer review. Instead, it was birthed by a strange combination of hocus pocus, guesswork, and strongly held religious beliefs.
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'Chiropractors Are Bullshit'

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  • I do just fine with my foam roller and inversion table.

  • make you feel better (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @08:14PM (#54678999) Journal
    I used to go to the chiropractor for my back. It hurt, but afterwards I felt better.
    Then I started massage therapy instead. I felt better, and it didn't hurt, either. Win-win.
    Now I just go sit in the sauna. Just as effective, much cheaper. Win-win-win. All win for me.
    • Chiropractor helped my back problems a few times, during very acute pains (as in : walking, seating, climbing stairs and laying down are all extremely painful). It relieved 80% of the pain in a mere seconds. It's *not* placebo. I could hear my back and neck go "clack/clack/clack/clack/clack". It felt great after the initial schock of hearing very loud noises that sounded similar to movie sound effects when bad guys die from a neck-breaking move. Still, this treatment was needed if I wanted to stop this agon

      • Do some martial arts, Karate/Kung Fu/Wu Shu or Aikido or Brazilian Ju Jutsu or even Kyudo (Archery), or go to a Yoga class.
        Of course you could start rowing or simply use a bicycle.

      • It's *not* placebo. I could hear my back and neck go "clack/clack/clack/clack/clack".

        Those sounds are just explosive release of pockets of nitrogen gas, same as when you pop your fingers or other joints. The effect of chiropractic work on muscles is real, though, and can help quite a bit. But a masseuse can do the same, without the joint popping.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @08:14PM (#54679007) Journal
    FD: I have experienced a positive outcome after injuring my back using a jackhammer.


    Mmmmm... your complimentary x-rays indicate we'll be needing to see you twice a week for three months to, ahem, straighten you out.

  • Not says WebMD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    March 16, 2007 -- A special chiropractic adjustment can significantly lower high blood pressure, a placebo-controlled study suggests.

    "This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination," study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. "And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems," adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago

    • If you throw a dozen darts at a dart board blind folded, you might just hit something. You might also put somebody's eye out in the process.
    • You can not placebo or double blind study a physical therapy.
      Unless you completely lie to the 'control group' and do some fake that has nothing to do with what you want to test.

      If you dislocate your shoulder the practitioners are supposed to relocate it.
      it does not matter if they are chiropractics, osteopaths, orthopedics or if I simply do it. Either the shoulder gets relocated, or it does not. How do you want to have a 'placebo' in that attempt? Or a control group?

  • by Chrontius ( 654879 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @08:31PM (#54679083)

    My GP is cross-trained to perform chiropractic adjustments.

    Once, I was unable to straighten my back due to nerve entrapment and possibly bones actually not lining up; this may have to do with being rear-ended a while back, but that’s immaterial to the conversation.

    A few agonizing back-rocking movements with a pillow and a fist, and two neck-twists, and I was physically capable of straightening without grinding bone against bone. Add a shot of some kind of potent muscle relaxant, and suddenly I’m capable of straightening my back.

    Perhaps the best approach is to incorporate the evidence-based portions of chiropractic methods into a traditional clinical setting like my GP has done? I guess I’m suggesting that we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, pretty much. Sometimes the problem really is a subluxation, after all, even if they’re not responsible for the majority of human illness.

    • That is called a dislocation. It is something that the standard medical profession is trained to fix.

  • by Trip Ericson ( 864747 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @08:32PM (#54679089) Homepage

    This article spends almost its entire length going on and on about things like alternative medicine, but almost nothing about the actual resolution of back pain, except with respect to children (which, the article acknowledges, is not something all chiropractors endorse).

    I don't buy into any of the nonsense, and my chiropractor doesn't either, but he uses the Impulse tool which doesn't hurt when it makes adjustments and I leave feeling much better than when I arrived. Before making any adjustment, he massages the back muscle to loosen it up and prevent damage. He's given me exercises to strengthen my back muscles to help keep things in alignment--and they work to the point that I go back about once per year when I do something really stupid and throw something completely out of alignment. He specifically said in my first appointment that if I'm coming back twice a week for years, he's not done his job properly.

    Several years ago when I popped my scapula out of place while stretching and pinched a nerve (8-9 on the pain scale, didn't sleep a wink that night), the chiropractor put it back in place and the sharp stab instantly became a dull ache that went away after a few days.

    I fully accept the idea that there are con artists out there who do the things mentioned in this article. I do not accept that it is universal or that chiropractors are incapable of providing any benefit whatsoever.

    • except with respect to children (which, the article acknowledges, is not something all chiropractors endorse).

      An ex-friend took her baby to a chiropractor for colic. Ex-friend.

      I do not accept that it is universal or that chiropractors are incapable of providing any benefit whatsoever.

      I've told this before, but I hurt my back carrying something heavy. For about 2 months straight, I'd take a doctor-prescribed Vicodin and Flexeril before bed, then sleep fine until about 3AM when I'd wake up crying because someone was shoving a rusty knife into my spine. I didn't get more than 4-5 hours of drugged rest per night the whole time, and I was going insane from the pain and sleep deprivation.

      My dad suggested I try his chiropractor,

      • Temporary relief may be all the relief a person needs, if then they are able to relax, get some sleep, and again partake of the usual physical activities that keep them healthy. Then they get better on their own (usually).

        I am convinced that the non-BS aspect of chiropractic practice is that there are many spinal reflexes (literally wiring of the neurons that automatically cause muscle reactions, e.g. if you step on a tack, you will start pulling your leg back before consciously deciding to do so) that can

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @08:33PM (#54679095)

    I don't pretend to know all the in and out of medicine but I have learned one very important thing: chiropractors make you feel better for a day but a physical therapist will help you fix that which is causing you pain. A physical therapist may have you do a certain exercise every morning or some jazz but it prevents you have having painful issues later that would send you crying to a chiropractor.

    • Well hey, if the chiro can get you mobile enough to go see the PT, that's useful, i'nn'it?

      Bonus points if the chiro suggests stretches and exercises to help speed the process, and lifestyle changes that actually keep you from needing to come back until you revert to your old ways and injure yourself again.

      If you're going to a chiropractor who isn't doing those things, you're being taken by quackery. The only reason I went back to the guy I started seeing last year is that I got a little overconfident an
    • In Europe Chiropractics is a 3 years university course or 'healing practitioner course', and they learn (have to) all the stuff a physical therapist has to learn, too.

      And without a government regulated certification (medical doctor with chiropractic education, healing practitioner etc.) it is illegal to practice.

  • They may be mostly hokey, but so are the alternatives. There's often no quick universal fixes for back problems, period. But the back is kind of like TV reception on old-fashioned sets (and sometimes cellphones): the weather, time-of-day, antenna position, and position and quantity of viewers can significantly affect the reception.

    Experimenting by moving the antenna, furniture, and viewers around can at least temporarily fix TV reception. We called it the "fix-it dance" and "air Twister" back in the day. (

  • Just like code smells, there are quack smells, and with chiropractors your quack smell needs to be on high alert.

    I've had one who was outright incompetent, and another who was scamming for expensive x-rays to diagnose a neck shape 90% of the modern population has. The three hot chicks at reception was my first clue (they supervise a very nice neck-therapy gym). Singapore Airlines does not hire younger.

    The gym was free for a while after your first visit. I noticed the Chiclets receiving "engagement" coach

  • I know people who go to chiropractors because it is treatment they can afford. Regular doctors might get better result if you throw enough time and money at the problem but if your budget maxes out before you get any effective treatment, what are you left with?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I constantly see articles like this on the internet decrying the the evil unscientific ways of chiropractors, but I have never encountered in in the real world. This is despite having many friends and family members that have seen many different chiropractors in multiple states. Some that work with large practices, others that look like old hippies working part time out of their home. Yet not of them, not one, has claimed to cure anything other than skeletal/muscular problems like chronic back pain, bad pos

    • I've run into a few of them, they're out there (and boy are they out there). If you've found a good one, do not let them go!
  • As a bunch of " hocus pocus, guesswork, and strongly held religious beliefs." Aside from things like humor theory, astrology and alchemical theories were freely mixed into medieval and Renaissance medicine. For centuries there was little reason not to prefer alternative medicinal theories to academic medicine.

    But the fact that conventional medical training was done at great academic centers gave it a long term advantage. As empiricism became the basis of scientific inquiry, medicine adopted it too. Medical empiricism has never been quite so robust as scientific empiricism, but by 1900 you were probably better off with a medical doctor than with the village herbalist, faith healer, or random quack. A hundred years earlier that'd have been a dubious proposition.

    • Medical empiricism has never been quite so robust as scientific empiricism, but by 1900 you were probably better off with a medical doctor than with the village herbalist, faith healer, or random quack.

      Why the year 1900 specifically? Just curious..

      • That's around the time that the average physician stopped believing in Vapors, for example.

        Wikipedia lists 1880 as the date of adoption of germ theory. []

        1900 is basically the beginning of modern medicine from a patient perspective.

  • ... anything else. That it is an old tradition only has to do with the fact that knowlege about the skeleton and the muscular body is easy to come by simply by looking at it and pocking around. British Chiropracters are know to have a solid anatomical and related medical knowlege and there are methods know that actually are a few hundred years old that work.

    That there also is a lot of foo-foo wah-wah and homeopathy nonsense around with Chiropracters is a problem, but manual therapy itself isn't pure non-sen

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @09:25PM (#54679355) Journal

    One of my best friends decided to become a chiropractor, years ago -- so I got to learn a fair bit about that whole process and the challenges it presented.

    First off? Yeah, it's true. A whole lot of people become a chiropractor because they're looking for a profession they can make a lot of money in, without all the studying required for a genuine medical degree. This isn't unlike a lot of people who go into dentistry though, either. In other words, it's not really a reason to write the whole field off as useless. It just means you've got to navigate the "minefield" of people who care more about buying their next luxury car or vacation home than your health.

    But the other issue is, chiropractors do generally struggle to get well established. The guys with the big practices running ads on the radio constantly are the few that the rest of them aspire to be someday. People like my buddy started out genuinely wanting to help people manage their pain without resorting to getting all doped up on pain medications. That's, IMO, pretty legitimate. Problem is -- that doesn't quite pay the bills. His chiropractic college he graduated from put him almost 6 figures in student loan debt, and then he had to take out the small business loan for his own office and equipment. What usually happens is the struggling chiro says, "You know.... I could really use something to pad my revenue and pay the rent on this place. I know this lady who does acupuncture who needs an office to work out of....", or "Nobody ever got hurt taking a few essential vitamins and minerals. I should start selling some of these on the side." Before long, their practice is hawking all sorts of nonsense alternative medicine (because there's a demand for that from those who believe in it), and it's all justifiable if you view it as the power of the placebo effect and state of mind playing a role in how healthy you feel.

    I think some people truly do get benefit from chiropractors, and that's a big reason insurance companies will still pay out for visits to them after car accidents. If it was pure quackery, they would have refused to give them a dime long ago. I used to know a gal, for example, who had some serious back problems. On a good day, she'd be up walking or running about like nothing was wrong at all. But she had occasional situations where her back would literally seize up, and she couldn't straighten herself back up after bending over, or found she couldn't get up out of bed in the morning. Traditional doctors didn't have a whole lot to offer her, besides highly addictive pain pills.They put her on disability so she got her monthly payment from SSI and didn't have to work. But really, that whole thing was a rather sad "solution". (90% of the time, she was as mobile as anyone else. There had to be a way she could hold down a job despite her issues.) She figured out that regular visits to a chiropractor really helped loosen up tight back muscles and certain adjustments gave her temporary pain relief and less likelihood of her back totally freezing up on her. She couldn't afford to go often, but did so when she could get a deal from a chiropractor who took pity on her situation.

  • The blurb up top states "... chiropractic as a whole hasn't evolved like other areas of medicine ..."
    The proper term for the practice should be chiropracty. I don't know how "chiropractic" came about, but it is commonly used.

  • by ebrandsberg ( 75344 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @09:55PM (#54679493)

    One of the prime therapies that chiropractors do is using electrical stimulation. You end up feeling better, at least for a while. You can buy cheap "tens" units, google for "tens unit" cheap and they do the same thing, and you can use them while mobile, not just lying on your back. Make sure to get the electrode pads as well if you are in constant pain, but IMHO, ever house should have one, just like many other first-aid measures.

    • I can't say I've ever seen a chiro use a TENS unit. But, then, I don't visit the quacks unless I'm looking for a laugh; my chiropractor adjusts me, gives me stretches and exercises to do for whatever area (usually my back) hurts, and advises me on how to not have to come back to his office. When I first started seeing him (after a year of pain and prescribed painkillers), he treated me for 2 months and I was able to maintain for 6 more without him (or pain... or lack of mobility) before I did something stup
  • I don't think I've ever seen squiggly onhover animated links like at The Outline.

    Here are some other interesting styles: [] []
  • Allowed to practice? Dude, the first GOOP cult reunion just happened. Chiropractors will at least give you a rough spanking or massage, and try sell some snake oil or something. There are so many things worse regarding health and "alternative medicine" that I think it's pretty understandable why chiropractors are kinda overlooked. :P
    Not that I'd fall for shit like that, but you know.

  • I go to a chiropractor periodically; if they can't do what needs to be done in two or three sessions, it likely won't help.

    But, after I ditched the first quack (Schwartz on Sepulveda), I found a pretty good one who helped me better understand my muscles and what is causing my pain. It is 50-50 on if I come away feeling better, and when I do massages most aren't really properly qualified to address my issues. I recommend him to my friends, and afterwards they are generally appreciative of the care given.

  • They might pull crap in California or New York, but I've never seen a chiropractor recommend scented candles, hugs, or witchcraft. Just a few adjustments here and there for about half an hour as needed and send you out the door. All a doctor is going to do, if they don't schedule a chiropractor, is prescribe you an opiod. Pharmaceutical companies are getting pissed at alternative medicine and you wouldn't believe how many of them are forking the bill for these "studies" and conferences to descredit people.
  • What the fuck Chiropractor has this author been going to? Some new age one? Mine has a degree is biology and teaches at a university. She knows how joints and the skeletal system works and actually fixes problems.
  • Using "birth" as a verb is the mark of an illiterate.

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