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Is Chiropractic Legit ?



Research is the necessary hallmark of any mature healthcare profession.  A profession that has undertaken a significant contribution to proven scientific knowledge of its own area of speciality can consider itself a ‘grown up’ in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of modern medicine.


If we wind back to the 1980s there was barely even the beginning of such research from chiropractors and the chiropractic profession. There were in fact only three chiropractors in the world with PhDs – Drs S. Haldeman and R. Phillips in the US and Dr L Giles in Australia. There was not a single ‘medical specialty text, whether on radiology, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports chiropractic published by a chiropractor anywhere.. but not for a lack of knowledge.


Medical journals absolutely refused to publish or even consider reading studies submitted by chiropractors. When Dr Howie Vernon submitted results of a controlled trial to Manual Medicine in 1984 the editor returned it with a short response that the journal did not accept studies undertaken by chiropractors.


To say that a lot has changed would be an understatement. The profession has undertaken and explosive increase in its research capacity and has made a substantial contribution to the global understanding of pain management.


In Denmark alone 27 chiropractors hold PhDs and lead the world in generating chiropractic specific  research data. Canada also leads the world in Chiropractic scholarship because at present most large universities in Canada have a Chiropractic Research Chair, and there are chiropractors with PhDs on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto alone.


If we look at the international healthcare guidelines for managing back pain we see ‘Spinal Manipulation’ is right up around the top of the list of recommended interventions.. this is because of the hard work done by chiropractic researchers to validate what chiropractors do in their clinics.


The law has spoken globally on this also with chiropractic being deemed Primary Healthcare in most if not all developed countries. This means that govt. legislation looks at chiropractic the same way it looks at dentistry or how it looks at your GP. Believe it or not it was NZ who blazed this trail of legally validating chiropractic globally.


So next time you are at a dinner party and someone is dissing chiropractors for being quacks ask them why the international MEDICAL guidelines for managing back pain have Spinal Manipulation right up the top of the list next to pain killers ? And if they don’t believe it refer them to the ACC for clarification … in most cases it will be the first time they have even considered researching the topic they deem themselves qualified to speak on.