Revisiting the Chiropractic theory

Here is a generally negative summary on Chiropractic from Ross Pomeroy.

I would only disagree with his conclusion that Chiropractic hurts but doesn’t help with mechanical back problems.

There is no basis for the Chiropractic claim that vertebral subluxations cause disease, and Chiros frequently get into “alternative” forms of medical care, and unfortunately often advocate against vaccines, but they are successful and popular because for some people they provide musculo skeletal pain relief.

Pediatric and preventive Chiro are goofy, and Chiro for job injuries and accidents sometimes is a scam. I had a friend who was a Chiro before he became an allopath and Emergency Physician, and he told me the scam was to milk the accident or worker’s comp insurance with long regimens of frequent manipulation for insured patients. You might say that is always the problem for unethical providers, regardless of their discipline–psych, allopath, chiro, surgical, internal medicine, allergy–you name it.

Manipulation does help. Oseopaths are effective manipulators and I know that what they do can mitigate musculo skeletal discomfort and muscle spasm, pressure therapy, massage, and acupuncture are akin to such manipulation.

I am not so hot on back cracking, and chiros should stay away from the neck because of the vertebral arteries, but manipulation can improve a person’s musculo skeletal condition and reduce muscle spasm. I have a number of colleagues in emergency medicine who trained in osteopathic medicine, and can help people with muscle injuries or malfunction.

As an example of something you might not know, the pain of temporal mandibular joint disorder includes spasm of the pterygoid muscles of mastication:

There are pressure point manipulations that can help people with the terrible pain of muscle spasm of the pterygoids. The pterygoids allow you to move your jaw side to side and are affected by the bruxism of nocturnal teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

As an example–if you have a sore muscle sometime, or a muscle spasm, just put a thumb on the area of soreness and press for 2 minutes.

Massage therapy ring a bell?


5 responses to “Revisiting the Chiropractic theory

  1. Greg Ludvigsen

    “I am not so hot on back cracking, and chiros should stay away from the neck because of the vertebral arteries.” From personal experience, while they have to be very careful, reducing restriction on the vertebral arteries can be very helpful. I also know someone whose migraines went away after reducing restrictions on the vertebral arteries and veins (though that was a Rolfer doing the work). If there is a sudden trauma, chiros can be very helpful. For longer term problems they seem to only treat the symptoms. The muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia are what hold the bones in place. Adjusting the bones can provide relief, until the memory in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia pull the bones back out of place. So, ultimately, to solve the problem you have to fix the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. All this assumes the bones have not been damaged or worn or have arthritis.

    • yeeow, that is not good and sensible thinking–one doesn’t “reduce restrictions on vertebral arteries”–any such nonsense would be potentially lethal.

      Vertebral artery injuries occur because of manipulation of the cervical vertebrae beause the vertebral arteries travel in a tunnel that is intimately part of the cervical spine structure. Ain’t no way to “reduce restrictions” of vertebral arteries.

      any intentional attempt to do such a thing is negligent misconduct.

      It is troublesome to think anyone talks like that and makes claims to patients like that.

      Any fix for headaches related to manipulation of the spine is because of reduction in neck muscle spasm causing tension headaches.

      Occipital neuritis also might respond to manipulation and massage. I have had luck in the past with pressure therapy holding and pressing on the painful scalp muslces–makes them relax sometimes.

      There is no manipulation that has an impact on vascular tone. vascular spasm and expansion is the cause of migraines.

      muscle tension is the cause of tension headaches.

      • Gregory Ludvigsen

        I agree that the old-fashioned head/neck snap is dangerous. But the gentle manipulation as done by a osteopath or Rolfer, that adjusts the fascia/muscles/tendons/ligaments and thereby allows the bones to go in the proper alignment, and thereby allow proper blood flow in and out of the brain, does work, based on personal experience. Restoring proper blood flow in the brain by way of inflating a small balloon inside the vein to widen the passage, is used to treat chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in MS patients. . Why should it be limited to MS ??? Think about it: what blood vessels go through the neck? If the bones in the neck are misaligned could that impact blood flow ? Could restriction on blood flowing into the brain or flowing out have some impact on health ?

  2. My son had a stroke caused by neck manipulation causing damage to the vertebral artery.

  3. “they provide musculo skeletal pain relief” I agree. As someone who has on many occasions over many years turned to Osteopaths and Chiropracters, my experience has only been good. On occasions where I would have been laid up for weeks by my GP, or had steroid injections, relief has been almost instant and lasting. I was self-employed in farming and such treatment kept me at work. I have never had problems with neck manipulation and have confidence in my practitioner.

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