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Author Topic: What alternative health practitioners might not tell you  (Read 5401 times)


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What alternative health practitioners might not tell you
« on: September 23, 2007, 11:45:11 AM »


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What alternative health practitioners might not tell you

"Either it is true that a medicine works or it isn't.
It cannot be false in the ordinary sense but true in some 'alternative' sense."
Prof. Richard Dawkins, Oxford, April 2001
from the foreword to 'SNAKE OIL' by John Diamond

This web site has been created as a voice of reason in response to the
substantial amount of uncritical media coverage currently being given to
alternative medicine.
Despite the fact that a large number of alternative health therapies lack
any scientific validity, the perceived benefits of such therapies continue
to be promoted. In reality, claims of therapeutic success can usually be
attributed to an ailment being self-limiting (i.e. it will resolve itself
in time without any treatment), or to an unpredictable placebo response
brought about by the patient's deep belief in the therapy and/or the
practitioner's sympathetic attention. In both these cases the practitioner
will normally take the credit for having elicited a cure and the patient
will become a believer in the therapy.
Although most alternative health therapies are seen as being relatively
safe, this is not always the case. It is known that some can be
potentially harmful. Also, unlike fully qualified medical doctors, many
alternative health practitioners have not received adequate training in
the skills of differential diagnosis (i.e. the determination of which two
or more diseases with similar symptoms is the one from which a patient is
suffering based on an analysis of the clinical data). Consequently, this
can place patients at risk of not receiving proper medical attention.
Further, other factors such as patient dependency, misleading information,
and patient exploitation due to an undefined and/or unlimited scope of
practice can also cause a delay in appropriate medical advice or treatment
being sought.
With these concerns in mind, it is the aim of this web site to alert
consumers to questionable alternative health practices whilst encouraging
them to always seek evidence-based medicine (EBM) first.

You are in Home : Chiropractic (evidence-based) : Chiropractic > News
Chiropractic > News

Significant issues and developments related to chiropractic. [This page was last updated on 14th September 2007]
Prior to clicking on any of these links, please read our disclaimer

Postage stamp honours crusader against chiropractic malpractice approved by US postal service
Victims of Chiropractic Abuse (VOCA) has released a stamp honouring the life and legacy of Linda Solsbury, the courageous activist who started the push for chiropractic reform by working diligently to warn the public that chiropractic is not without risks. In 1985 Ms Solsbury became mute and paralysed as the result of chiropractic manipulation. She died in 2006 during an operation to relieve some of the effects of her injuries. PRWeb Press Release (29th August 2007)

Warning over spine treatment dangers
“Manipulating the upper spine during back treatments could result in serious injury, experts have warned. A review of studies published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM) concluded that spinal manipulation should not routinely be done on patients. When performed on the upper spine, it may result in serious and possibly fatal complications, such as stroke, the experts said.” The Scotsman (1st July 2007)

Deadly Twist: Neck adjustments can be risky
Four-page article revealing how chiropractors’ moves can trigger strokes in healthy patients. MSNBC News (17th June 2007)

Chiropractors must follow the scientific standard
“The scientific standard developed by families and by medical specialists, and by chiropractors who have given up highest neck manipulation, is very simple. In essence it states that highest neck manipulation should not be performed on infants and children or on people who have no neck pain, or as part of a philosophy that falsely believes it can be used to prevent or treat organic illness. This standard cannot be argued against rationally and scientifically.” Article in the National Post (18th May 2007) [pdf]

No to alternative regulation
Professor Edzard Ernst is reportedly against regulation of alternative
medicine until there is evidence. In an article in the British Medical
Journal on 5th May 2007 he argued that regulation would be interpreted by
the public as having sufficient evidence to recommend it. He said: “The
evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic, for example, is very slim
indeed. And since it has been regulated, research for establishing that it
works has diminished. People are saying: 'We are fully regulated so don't
ask us questions about whether this works or not.'” Science and Progress
(7th May 2007)

Chiropractic adjustment contributed to woman's death, Quebec coroner concludes
“A Quebec coroner has recommended a full review of chiropractic neck treatments, saying a cervical adjustment contributed to the death of a woman in 2006. Coroner Paul G. Dionne released his recommendations Thursday, more than a year after Pierrette Parisien died following chiropractic care for severe neck pain.” CBC News (12th April 2007)

'More Effective Reporting Needed on Spinal Manipulation in Children'
"Few serious harmful events stemming from spinal manipulation in children have been reported compared to the number of manipulations delivered," says new University of Alberta research. "Part of the obligation should lie with those providing the procedure to help systematically collect data on the outcome, including harms. Some of the providers may not be regulated and even those who are, such as chiropractors, have no formal reporting mechanism for collecting adverse events." Medical News Today (26th May 2006)

UK chiropractor admits liability for patient’s stroke
The story of a UK chiropractic patient who, in 2003, suffered an arterial dissection which caused a brain stem stroke. Her chiropractor admitted liability for her injuries. NOTE: The UK General Chiropractic Council claims that there is no evidence that neck manipulation causes stroke, and currently there is no official system in place in the UK to monitor adverse reactions/injuries caused by chiropractic treatment. Action for Victims of Chiropractic (May 2006)

Little evidence that spinal manipulation is effective in the treatment of any medical condition
BBC News report on a new study published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. (22nd March 2006) [Click on the link below to read the paper]

Click here for the Ernst and Canter systematic review

Many chiropractic methods excluded by ASH Network
American Speciality Health, Inc. (ASH) has issued clinical practice
guidelines for 81 “complementary” techniques and procedures, most of which
are used mainly by chiropractors. The documents (all of which are
contained in this link) indicate that 68 of the methods would not be
covered under the plan because they are considered unsubstantiated,
unsafe, or both; 67 of the methods are classified as experimental or
investigational because credible scientific evidence is inadequate to
support their claimed applications; 48 of the methods are scientifically
implausible because they require the existence of forces, mechanisms, or
biological processes that are not known to exist with the existing
framework of scientific knowledge; 11 of the methods are considered
unsafe, either directly or indirectly; and 53 of the methods would render
the practitioner ineligible to participate in the network. The methods
include: Acutonics/Sonotonics, Addictionology, Advanced Biostructural
Correction (ABC), Applied Kinesiology, Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy,
Axial Decompression Therapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Bio Energetic
Synchronization Technique (BEST), Bio-Cranial Therapy, Bioenergetic
Sensitivity and Enzyme Therapy (BioSet), Bio-Geometric Integration (BGI),
Biological Terrain Assessment (BTA), BioMeridian (MSA Machine), Clinical
Kinesiology (CK), Cold Laser-Low Laser Light Therapy (LLLT), Colonic
Irrigation, Colorpuncture, Concept Therapy, Contact Reflex Analysis (CRA),
Craniosacral Therapy (CST), Current Perception Threshold (CPT) – Sensory
Nerve Conduction Threshold (sNCT), Diagnostic Ultrasound –
Spinal/Paraspinal, Directional Non-Force Technique (DNFT),
ElectroAcupuncture by Voll (EAV), Electrodermal Screening Test (EDST),
Force/Functional Recording and Analysis System (FRAS), Functional Leg
Length Inequality, Gemstone and Crystal Therapy, Holistic Kinesiology,
Homeopathy, Infratonic/Infrasonic or Qui Gong Machine (QGM), Intradermal
Needles (Needle Implants/Ear Tacks), Iridology, Jaffe-Mellor Technique,
Live Blood Cell Analysis, Logan Basic Technique, Magnets – Static,
Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA) – Spinal, Manual Muscle Testing –
Psychological Disorders, Moxibustion – Direct, Nambudripad’s Allergy
Elimination technique (NAET), Nasium Vertex X-Ray Views, Network Spinal
Analysis, Neuro Emotional Technique (NOT), Neurolinguistic Programming
(NLP), Neurolink, Neurovascular Dynamics (NVD), New-Stim Bio-Kinetics,
Organ/Visceral Manipulation, Ortho-Bionomy, Radionics, Reflexology –
Diagnostic, Reiki, Rolfing, Ryodoraku and Electro Meridian Imaging (EMI),
Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) – Diagnostic, Surface Electromyography
(SEMG), Surrogate Testing, Thermography, Toftness, Total Body
Modification, Upper Cervical Adjusting Techniques, Vector Point Cranial
Therapy, Vegatesting, Videonystagmography (VNG) and the Webster Technique.
[Most of the guidelines were implemented during February 2006] Information
source: Chirobase

Class action lawsuit against the Canadian Chiropractic
Protective Association (CCPA) being planned by the advocacy group Families
Against Abusive Chiropractic Treatments (FAACT)

"Vancouver, B.C. – October 19, 2005 – A class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association (CCPA), a leading insurance provider to 22 chiropractic associations across Canada, may be the only way justice can be obtained for persons who have suffered debilitating injuries following chiropractic treatments, Michael deChamplain, founder of the non-profit advocacy group Families Against Abusive Chiropractic Treatments said today. CCPA and chiropractic associations are among the most powerful lobby groups for chiropractors in the country and through their legal and political maneuvering thwart the efforts by injured individuals seeking justice,” said Mr. deChamplain. “Their national and provincial associations say they have a public complaints committee but it appears only to be a smokescreen to stall and frustrate people who have suffered a chiropractic injury. Getting the provincial governments responsible for health care in
their respective provinces to look into any claims of injuries resulting from chiropractic treatment is also met by indifference which I suspect is due in large part to the pressures exerted on the politicians by the chiropractic lobbying organizations.”
FAACT is asking victims of chiropractic in Canada who do not have the financial resources or have been devastated financially while seeking legal recourse to contact them as soon as possible to be considered as part of a class-action lawsuit. FAACT was established over a year ago by Mr. deChamplain to make the public aware of the danger of certain chiropractic treatments, especially neck manipulation, and to seek an impartial public inquiry following injury to his wife
after being treated by a North Vancouver chiropractor. Mrs. deChamplain was hospitalized in 2001 and to this day still struggles with partial paralysis and blindness in the right eye as well as continuing emotional and psychological complications. Those wishing to obtain more information or who want to be considered for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit should contact: Kathryn deChamplain at 1- 250-954-9563 or visit the FAACT website at: ."

Action for Victims of Chiropractic (UK)
Latest news. Includes correspondence with the UK General Chiropractic Council (GCC) regarding the risks of chiropractic and the validity of a number of chiropractic practices. The GCC appears to avoid directly answering many of the questions put to it, most notably on the issue of the safety of neck manipulation where the risk/benefit ratio for the procedure is in question due to the availability of safer options. [NOTE: In its August 2005 reply, the GCC stated that it understood that the British Chiropractic Association(BCA) was in the process of establishing a national database to which UK chiropractic patients could report complications following their treatment. However, in a letter to Nature on 22nd September 2005 (in response to an article which questioned what complementary and alternative medicine [CAM] organisations were doing to monitor adverse reactions) Barry Lewis of the BCA stated that the association had, in conjunction with the Anglo-European Chiropractic College, “set up a chiropractic reporting and learning system; more than 1,200 practitioners who are members of the BCA have recently received an information pack to enable them to participate in the scheme. Resulting data will be analysed at the Anglo-European Chiropractic College and outcomes will be relayed to the profession, through our newsletter, journal and website, so practitioners may learn from the experience of others. The intention is that the scheme will, if successful, be offered to other chiropractic associations within Europe in 2006”. No mention was made of a database to which the patients of all (approx 2,300) UK chiropractors could report complications following their treatment.]

Click here to learn more about chiropractic in the UK

Click here to learn more about the risks of chiropractic

Dangers of chiropractic therapy (including Risks Related to Manipulation
of the Cervical Spine: Consequences for Evidence Based Practice)
This news update contains three films worth seeing, chiropractic references and articles, the FSU School of Pseudoscience Scandal and, with regard to manipulation of the cervical spine, the following suggested PRECAUTIONARY GUIDELINES:
"[1.] Manipulation, especially with rotation (the most commonly used method by chiropractors), should be considered a contraindicated technique.
[2.] Manipulation of C1-C2 should be considered absolutely contraindicated. (This is also the area of the neck most commonly manipulated by many chiropractors.)
[3.] In principle these guidelines and cautions apply to all involved professions, since it is primarily the technique that is the problem, even though chiropractors are by far responsible for the greatest number of injuries, strokes, and deaths. This is a logical consequence of their exaggerated and unwarranted self-confidence and erroneous education, combined with their historically and educationally conditioned overrating of the value of spinal manipulation as a whole.
[4.] All healthcare professions, including Emergency Room staff, must be alert to the possibility of injuries caused by spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). The patient's medical history should include questions about possible spinal manipulation within the last 30 days, at the very least. Symptoms and injuries can include: headache, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, pain, strains, sprains, whiplash type injuries, Horner's syndrome, Wallenberg's syndrome, permanent or transient paralysis, blackouts, fainting, blood clots to the brain, and death. Few of these consequences, especially deaths, are ever identified as results of previous SMT, since autopsies are rarely performed in these cases. Since strokes can occur up to a month - and even later - after manipulation of the cervical spine, a suspicion of any connection is rarely awakened.
[5.] When dealing with stroke cases, all MDs - be they general practitioners, specialists, pathologists, or coroners - should routinely examine the patient's (or deceased's) medical history (including interviews with relatives) for any cases of SMT within the previous 2-3 months, including number of times, since each repetition increases the risk. If this isn't done, the real extent of SMT induced strokes and deaths will not be exposed, and it will be impossible to institute preventive measures in harmony with quality control principles.
[6.] Physical Therapists should encourage patients with such injuries to report them to their own doctors. (I can't be the only PT who has encountered patients with fractured spines, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, paralysis, stable fractures made unstable, severe sprains and strains, torn muscles, and unremitting headaches for years, all as a direct result of a specific chiropractic "adjustment". I have seen all of these injuries, but those who have died haven't come to me or their chiro, for obvious reasons.)
[7.] Whiplash patients should never receive cervical manipulation, especially in the acute phase. Hairline fractures are easily overseen on x-rays at this point in time. This may create a false sense of security, resulting in treatment which can destabilize otherwise stable fractures. Such fractures become visible after a short time, often within a few weeks *if* the x-ray is taken from precisely the right angle, which isn't necessarily one of the standard angles.
NO MORE UNDERREPORTING: The massive underreporting (nearly 100%) that is currently occurring must stop. Neurologists and Physical Therapists encounter these cases regularly, but may not be recognizing them.
Awareness of the problem will help to bring far more cases to light. They should then be reported to centrally established centers in all lands. In Canada the Canadian Stroke Consortium is attempting to uncover the real frequency of these injuries and deaths, since they are much more common than are indicated by chiropractic sources, where there is a vested interest to deny, ignore, and even cover-up, the problem.
NO EXCUSE FOR MANIPULATION OF THE CERVICAL SPINE (MCS): There is no excuse (with rare exception) for the manipulation of the cervical spine (MCS), especially in light of several facts:
[1.] The majority of such manipulations are not indicated, especially when the problem is located elsewhere in the body. MCS in such cases constitutes gross malpractice and reckless endangerment.
[2.] The real problems in the neck, head, and upper extremities, for which treatment of the neck is properly indicated, can be treated
(a) without the use of MCS,
(b) using other methods,
(c) with longer lasting results, and
(d) with much less risk than is involved with MCS.
I hope that these precautionary guidelines will become widely disseminated and formally adopted (and adapted) by all medical professions which deal with the locomotor system."
Guidelines compiled by Paul Lee, PT, (2005)

Chiropractic Index
Paul Lee's extensive range of chiropractic articles at

This web site is a consumer-operated, UK based information directory. It has no funding source and is not affiliated to any doctor or medical organisation. No information on this site should be considered medical advice. Always see a medical doctor if you are in any doubt about any medical matters. The purpose of this site is simply to provide useful links to the general public so they may become better informed on the subject.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 11:48:58 AM by ama »
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