The Wellness section of the paper, section C of Feb. 16 edition, had an article on chiropractic and children. That it can improve infant sleep. They talk about the nerves leaving the base of the brain and adjusting them helps babies sleep better. Really? Then there was some anecdotal claims by happy parents and some article published in the chiropractic literature. In the chiropractic own literature on pediatric manipulation a review article called “Chiropractic Manipulation in Pediatric Health Conditions – an updated Review” authored by Allan Gotlib and Ron Rupert published 12, of September of 2008 of Chiropractic and Osteopathy states; “The health claims made by chiropractors with respect to the application of manipulation as a health care intervention for pediatric conditions continue to be supported by only low levels of scientific evidence. Chiropractors continue to treat a wide variety of pediatric health conditions. The evidence rests primarily with clinical experience, descriptive case studies and very few observational and experimental studies. The health interests of pediatric patients would be advanced if more rigorous scientific inquiry was undertaken to examine the value of manipulative therapy in the treatment of pediatric conditions.”
In a book published last year by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, MD (who holds the chair and first professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exter in the UK) states in a review in 2006 of the worlds literature Published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in a paper entitled “A Systematic Reviews of Spinal Manipulation” large range of conditions, pediatric and adult, concluded that spinal manipulation was ineffective. One review of chiropractic manipulation could be effective when used in combination with standard treatments. However, the combination effect is hard to disentangle and say anything significant from this. They also showed that chiropractors tend to generate more optimistic conclusions than scientists, maybe because they have an emotional investment in the result. All in all the evidence was insubstantial in the author’s words.
The history of chiropractic is long and interesting. There were mistakes made by the medical profession in dealing with it early. But as for misaligned spines causing other medical ailments then we should expect to see people with back problems to suffer with other ailments. In 1995 Donald Nansel and Mark Szlarzk at the Palmer College of Chiropractic found no sign of this in the large body of published medical literature. They said in their work; “There is not the slightest suggestion that patients suffering from severe primary mechanical low back pain, are more prone to develop higher incidences of prostate or testicular carcinoma, colititis, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pancreatitis, appendicititis, diabetes, melitis, or any other category of regionally or segmentally related organ disease. In a follow up study two years later they failed to find any evidence that theses disease were more likely in patients with broken necks or backs. And this comes from the Harvard of Chiropractic schools.
So I would take the article, published with good intentions by our local paper, with a very large grain of salt.
The Skeptical DoDo