Controversy Over Chiropractic Findings in Medical Journal


In the May 1, 2012 issue of the Annuls of Internal Medicine from the American College of Physicians is a letter from researchers defending their work against criticism from medical doctors and other researchers who are not happy with the results of the original study. The original study, published in the same journal on January 3, 2012, showed that patients suffering from acute neck pain did better with chiropractic adjustments and showed a statistically significant advantage over medication after 8, 12, 26, and 52 week follow ups.

The authors of the original study responded in the journal by saying, "Our study was a pragmatic trial designed to assess the comparative effectiveness of three commonly used management options for neck pain. The design was chosen to represent as closely as possible what happens in the real-world clinical setting in which treatment is tailored to individual patients."

Some of the letters criticizing the positive chiropractic study tried to question the safety of chiropractic, to which the authors responded, "We disagree with Mr. Chapman about the documented risk for significant adverse outcomes related to cervical spine manipulation. The best available evidence about the relationship between spinal manipulation and vertebral artery dissection comes from several large case–control studies. These studies show that, although there is an association between visits to chiropractors and the subsequent development of vertebral vascular stroke, this type of stroke is extremely rare. Of importance, the risk is no greater than if patients seek care from their family medical physicians, who are very unlikely to apply spinal manipulation."

Dr. Robert Braile, a chiropractor for over 30 years and past president of the International Chiropractors Association and current president of the Georgia Council of Chiropractic responded by adding, "It is interesting to note that there are still some pockets of medical prejudice against a science and practice that have clearly stood the test of time both scientifically and clinically with millions of patients." Dr. Braile continued, "The bottom line has to be the welfare of the patients, and research such as this, plus many other studies shows the benefits of chiropractic over medications for people suffering from many health issues."