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Thread: Article on Chiropracty

  1. #1 Article on Chiropracty 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Just finished reading an article in New Scientist about Chiropracty.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ropractic.html

    The author is a professor of complementary medicine at the Peninsular School of Medicine in Exeter, and has collaborated with Simon Singh in a book on alternative medicines. Trick or Treatment. Alternative Medicine on Trial.

    He states quite clearly that chiropracty, when tested scientifically, has no value whatever in most medical conditions, and even when used for bad backs, the evidence tends to disappear when tested using rigorous methods with proper controls.

    Yet most chiropractors are very happy to use chiropracty for a wide variety of ills, for which it appears to have no value at all.
    http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/link_fil...Profession.pdf

    Simon Singh is now in the nefarious position of being sued for libel, for saying, absolutely correctly, that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that chiropracty should be a part of therapies for most maladies.

    How far should society's tolerance extend to quack therapies, in which practitioners, self deluded and sincere, or outright con artists, accept money for treatments that have no medical value??


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  3. #2  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    So I've been interested in some things such as acupuncture and chiropractic for a while and due to an injury in my back I had a reason to try them out. I must say I had higher hopes; or at least I wanted to but my skepticism didn't allow for it.

    I used an electronic therapy in acupuncture which seemed to add temporary relief (however, I believe acupuncture is supposed to be daily until a condition subsides, whereas I was once or twice a week).

    Chiropractic felt good. It honestly felt like I was more flexible after each session. But, I had a hard time saying that it had any direct effects on my pain.

    In the long run I'm doing quite better now and I noticed the most improvement through lots of stretching and slow, careful strengthening with some tips by a physical therapist.

    The chiropractor keeps trying to suggest a "monthly plan" as though the only way to stay better is to pay them $300 a month. It's kind of bothersome. If I had noticed more improvement I would have probably signed up for a yearly plan (maybe once a month or two) but that's not even an option. Pushing more than once is poor customer service, and hints to alternate agendas in my mind. I only see my current primary care doctor once or twice a year.

    I remember my orthodontics doctor try to set me up with a retainer to wear for the rest of my life after the braces were gone. I haven't spoke with him since.

    If it is all BS than what do these people spend years of school doing? They can't all be con artists.


    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    To DaBOB

    The reason I first got interested in chiropracty, and interestingly, acupuncture, was because of a doctor I know. This guy is a GP who decided to add to his practise by adding chiropracty and acupuncture to his normal medicine. Since he already had all the anatomy, physiology, human medicine knowledge he might need, he just had to do a couple of abbrieviated crossover courses to become qualified as a practitioner of both.

    He found both were very commercially successful. Lots of people came for his needle and back manipulation services. He was making $$$$$!

    The first thing that got him suspicious was his observation that, when he made mistakes, his patients did just as well. He experimented, and tried acupuncture with the needle going in quite the wrong place for the condition. The therapeutic results were just the same. He tried the same thing with chiropracty - giving exactly the wrong massage for the condition being treated, and found it made no difference. All the manipulations, whether 'correct' or totally wrong, gave the same degree of therapy.

    In the end he decided that both therapies were placebos only and since he is an honest man, he went back to standard medicine, and now would not touch alternative therapies with the proverbial 40 ft barge pole.
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  5. #4  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Sometimes a placebo is good for you. I know this from tricking my sister when she complained of pain, for instance after badly bruising her arm. It always did the trick.

    My point is, if someone wants to pay for a therapy that they think will help, then it will help. Personally, I would not pay for such a treatment, for the reason that I do not believe it would help.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  6. #5  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    it's rather unfair towards standard medicine, isn't it, since there the use of a placebo without telling the patient (which obviously spoils the whole point really) would be considered unethical
    however, just because alternative medicine insists that their practice is more than just the placebo effect, they're allowed to use practices that are commonly considered pure placebo
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The first thing that got him suspicious was his observation that, when he made mistakes, his patients did just as well. He experimented, and tried acupuncture with the needle going in quite the wrong place for the condition. The therapeutic results were just the same. He tried the same thing with chiropracty - giving exactly the wrong massage for the condition being treated, and found it made no difference. All the manipulations, whether 'correct' or totally wrong, gave the same degree of therapy.

    In the end he decided that both therapies were placebos only and since he is an honest man, he went back to standard medicine, and now would not touch alternative therapies with the proverbial 40 ft barge pole.
    Great, your doctor friend is a criminal who engages in illegal human experimentation on his patients without their knowledge or consent. He should have his medical license revoked at the very least.

    Your story is so outrageous that I have a hard time believing it, simply because it's hard to believe that a doctor would expose himself to that sort of professional and legal liability.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Scifor

    That doctor had already pretty much determined that he was applying placebo. He used a simple scientific procedure to confirm it, and then stopped using either chiropracty or acupuncture, since he considered both dishonest.

    I seriously doubt he would have been using chiropracty or acupuncture on any patient, if he considered they had a serious problem. Let's face it - placebos work best on imaginary illnesses.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    That doctor had already pretty much determined that he was applying placebo. He used a simple scientific procedure to confirm it, and then stopped using either chiropracty or acupuncture, since he considered both dishonest.
    His "simple scientific procedure" was performing medical experiments on uninformed and non-consenting human test subjects, which is unethical. Worse than that, his experiment was to deliberately give patients the wrong treatment so that he could see what happened - which is incredibly unethical. Obviously he wasn't sure what effect performing the "wrong" treatment would have on his patients, because otherwise he wouldn't have been doing the experiments in the first place. If he's unsure enough to need to perform the experiment, then it's unethical to conduct the experiment on people without their informed consent.

    And medical ethics issues aside, if his patients were paying him to give them a certain kind of treatment and he was deliberately doing the wrong thing, that sounds like a clear-cut case of fraud to me. If anything, he should have been paying them to serve as his test subjects.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    scifor

    That may or may not be correct. However, he was engaged in fraud long before that, (even if the fraud was not deliberate) in that he used chiropractic and acupuncture techniques on patients. He discovered his error and changed his ways, which is more than can be said for most such practitioners.
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  11. #10  
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    At least the chiropactor or acupuncturist is actually giving his patients what they pay for, even if it's of no benefit to the patient. It sounds like your doctor friend was taking people's money and then not providing the service that they paid for, all so he could trick them into being part of a medical experiment.

    If I owned a pharmacy that sold an expensive herbal supplement that I thought was bullshit, so I secretly took the herbal pills out of their bottle and replaced them with worthless sugar pills, then sold them to customers who thought they were buying the herbal pills, that would be a clear-cut case of fraud and I would likely face jail time if anyone found out. The argument "But the herbal pills wouldn't have helped them anyway!" is irrelevant - you deliberately tricked your customer into paying for something other than what they thought they were buying. What your doctor friend did seems no different.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    scifor

    That is NOT an argument I want to get into. You are free to think whatever you like about what that doctor did.

    The point is that he demonstrated that both chiropracty and acupuncture were no better than placebo. Let's not get sidetracked here.

    By extension, I argue that anyone who sells acupuncture or chiropractic treatments is engaged in long term fraud. I accept that some of those people will be sincere and believe utterly in their 'remedies'. That is a consequence of the inability of many people to engage in evidence based logic, and their capacity for self delusion. However, whether deliberate or not - knowing or not - it is still fraud.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    this "Friend" of yours, I would like to talk to him, can that be arranged?
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    marcus
    I would prefer not to, in view of the negative comments from scifor. You are correct to put the word friend in inverted commas. The reason I know him is that he is a member of the NZ Skeptics, as am I, and he has spoken at our conferences, expressing his experience and views of alternative medicine. I have sat with him over dinner, and spoken to him at length over this and other topics. However, he and I live on different islands, and see each other only once a year at the annual conference, so I could not call our relationship that of friends. More just infrequent acquaintances.

    If you want to learn more of the sceptical view of chiropracty as seen from the viewpoint of evidence based medicine, then try quackwatch.
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01Quackery...ics/chiro.html

    The author, Dr. Barrett, is a retired doctor who has devoted many years to studying and reporting on alternative medicines. You may not agree with everything he says, but his articles are always very well informed.
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  15. #14  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    skeptic, have you met our admin SkinWalker. You two may have something in common.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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