Are Chiropractors Quacks?

I am wondering if chiropractic methods are proven scientifically to help heal, or just unproven quackery? If it is quackery how come there are so many chiropractors, it must work on some people.

Some think that the popularity of chiropratic is due to the ‘hands on’ approach. If you go to your GP or DO or whatever, they look in your ears, tap your knee and maybe give you a pill. You fell better in a couple of days. You go to a chiroprator, he/she cracks your back, you feel better right away.

The ICA lists a page of facts about chiropraty.

One has to suspect quackery when one the facts presented is: “Hey, we’re doctors, too!”

Another claim is that a good back crack can cure all sorts of things. Including deafness (at least once).
As you can tell, I’m of the belief that it’s all a bit of quackery. Maybe not as much as magnetic bracelets or psychic surgery, but it’s surely not all it’s “cracked” up to be. :dubious:

You might also want to check this link:

Besides, a doctor should be able to get his/her degree in a strip mall.

We’ve done this more than once before. Search, and you shall find. I won’t rehash the issue here again, but feel free, the rest of you.

My brief answer: If the chiropractor follows the principles laid down by D. D. Palmer, and manipulates the spine in order to cure a wide range of diseases, including predilictions towards cancer, diabetes, etc. then yes, said chiropractor is a quack in my book.

But if the chiropractor uses short-term spinal and related joint manipulation along with other modalities such as ultrasound, TENS units and others, to reduce musculoskeletal back, neck and joint pain and dysfunction, then no, said chiropractor is NOT a quack in my book.

Of course, there’s a lot of middle ground between those two types of practices.



Q the M said it best.

in the search box, type in Chiropractor

The website name says it all…

Of course, the best test might be to take the chiropractor to a cavern and see if he echoes! :wink:

Having used chiropractic services in the past I have little doubt that they can relieve some symptoms and that the spine does benefit from an occasional adjustment. Where I lose respect for them is in their insistance on multiple visits for a given problem.
I have one area of my back that when it is misaligned results in severe heartburn. A quick adjustment can fix me right up but going back 3 times a week for 3 weeks does not stop recurrence nor does it help past the initial adjustment.

I went to a chiropractor as a child, for – get this – asthma. When it became obvious that the treatments weren’t working, my mother expressed concern. The chiropractor told her that it wasn’t working because she didn’t believe enough.

She never took me back there.

The entire point here, I think, is whether the treatment is appropriate to the causative factor of the ailment.

The modern school of chiropractic tends to look on the discipline as a corrective for postural and musculoskeletal problems, which appropriate massage and chiropractic therapy will serve to correct or at least alleviate.

The original, and bizarre, theory was that many diseases could be corrected by these means – and therein they were wrong.

It’s much like homeopathy – Mithridates to the contrary, most cases of poisoning cannot be corrected by giving small doses of poison. But the entire principle of inoculation is based in a homeopathic concept – giving the body a subcritical dose of a given pathogen will cause its immune system to react and therefore give immunity to the virulent form of that pathogen.

Naturopathy is another form of quackery – but there is good evidence that ingesting essential nutrients in their “natural” sources is better for the healthy body than in an isolated massive dose of them.

The intelligent therapist applies or prescribes whatever therapy will best serve to cure or alleviate the ailment, pragmatically, without doctrinaire theories.

They take a whole semester class in that.

As I have mentioned before, my wife used to be the cleaning lady at the “National College of Chiropractic” and we have both known students there. As a REAL medical person she was appalled at their lack of medical knowledge considering they are, in her words, “quacks,” though she will go to one for the care Q the M describes. I laughed at the little black doctor’s bags some would carry, like some caricature of a REAL doctor from 1930, but mostly recall listening to one student extoll the medical virtues of coffee enemas.

The school has changed its name to the “National University Of Health Sciences” (my emphasis) but that does not mean they aren’t teaching Chiropractic anymore.

Good for her. My wife told me a few months ago that a friend of hers took her toddler daughter to the chiropractor for allergies. Here’s how the chiropractor diagnosed the problem. The daughter sat in the mom’s lap. The DC held the mother’s (!) hand. The DC would mention a kind of food, like “corn,” then tug at the mom’s hand. He did this with several kinds of food, and based on the resistance to his pulling the mother’s hand, determined that the child is allergic to chicken. I kid you not.

There are valid uses for chiropractic, although as far as I’m aware they’re no more effective than any physical therapy. But the field of chiropractos is rife with quackery, so if you choose to visit one, be ready to head for the door if he starts to go beyond what we know chiropractic can do.

In my experience Chiropractic can be benefitial to treat muscular-skeletal pain IF said pain is caused by a bone/vertebrae being dislocated. It’s worked for me too many times for me to dismiss it. However, if your pain has other causes it probably won’t be of much help.

Using Chiropractic to cure asthma, cancer, blindness, etc. is quackery. If you’re thinking of going to one for some type of muscular/skeletal problem make sure he/she uses other forms of PT – muscle stim., ultrasound, exercises, etc. It may help if every MD you go to is stumped and you’re tired of popping pills for temporary relief.

I’m just uncomfortable with the designation “Doctor of Chiropractic”.

  • sounds like something is missing. Like, maybe it should be “Doctor of Chiropracty”

Or, Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.
Carry on.

My fiance used to go to a chiropracter that claimed that humans were still in the transition stages of evolution and had not completely adapted to walking upright. Therefore, everyone’s spines were by default naturally mis-aligned from birth and could only be kept in proper alignment through regular chiropractic visits. :rolleyes:

My chiropractor has never mentioned anything about allergies or other ailments. He merely treats spine disalignments and certain diseases to do with the spine. He is not a quack. When my back hurts, I go to a chiropractor… anyone who goes to them for anything else… well them themselves are maybe a bit mentally unstable.

I had a friend who was killed by her chiropracter.

She was having severe headaches, and he gave her spinal treatments that were supposed to ‘cure’ this. (How something down in her lower back could be causing a pain up in her head was never explained.)

And he actively discouraged her from seeing a real doctor, saying that the xrays that a doctor would take would mess up her spinal treatments. Also that the ‘lack of faith’ she was showing by considering going to a doctor was interfering with the treatments, and was part of the reason her headaches kep reoccuring.

Finally, after nearly a year of this, her husband & friends persuaded her to go to a real doctor. He diagnosed a brain tumor, but by then it was inoperable. He said 'if only she had come in a few months earlier…".

We all went to her funeral a few months later. (The chiropractor did not attend.)

This SOB killed her, a wonderful woman in the prime of her life. May he rot in hell!

To the OP: Yes, they are quacks.

No, that chiropractor is a quack, and an obvious quack. Any doctor that speaks of faith is a quack. I think your friend was killed by ignorance, don’t place blame.

How do you find a good chiropractor? I went to one locally who was a quack (wanted me to come in three times a week, and barely touched me when I came in) but when I was in Florida last fall, I went to my dad’s chiropractor, who did some serious crunching and I was able to walk out of his office upright, where I went in kinda stooped over. He also told me what muscles I needed to exercise to help my particular back problems.

I’d love to go to him when I need one… but he’s 900 miles away. I don’t know how to go about finding a good one in my area.

Get your dad to ask him to recommend one in your area.

A few years ago around my birthday, I woke up in the middle of the night and decided to look to the left, really really fast. I hear a muffled snap, and then had major pain. The only time, I wouldn’t feel incredible pain was when I kept my head looking directly left, and my right shoulder all the way down.
My dad took me to a local chiropractor and by the time he was done, I was able to look straight ahead and could walk around fairly normally. I came back a few days later to get adjusted, and he made my aching neck feel even better after a few bends and snaps.
Not all Chiropractors are quacks, this guy was really nice. We talked about paintballing and bands we liked, and he never said to come back repeatedly nor if he could help fix my allergies.