Chiropractic poll needs adjustment

I wouldn’t let one of those quacks get near my neck, let alone any other body part, but apparently Connecticut chiropractors are fighting hard to suppress the information about risk of serious injury from cervical manipulation. And it’s poll time!

Chiropractic Warning: Should chiropractors be required to tell their patients about the remote risk of a stroke from cervical manipulation?

Yes (505 responses)
No (1155 responses)
Depends (163 responses)

Nice spin in the question, too. It’s only a “remote risk” of paralysis, stroke, and death from an ineffectual ‘treatment’. Maybe Connecticut should go further and require that patients also be informed that chiropractic is also a pointless exercise that in good hands is nothing but physical therapy, and in ill-informed hands is dangerous nonsense based on 19th century pseudo-science? Yeah, tell your patients about “subluxions”.


  1. Carlie says

    What the?? Pharm companies have to disclose every side effect found in clinical trials of their medicines. Patients have to sign informed consent forms for surgeries stating that they’ve been told by their doctor about all possible negative outcomes. Why would this group be treated any differently?

  2. arachnophilia says

    so, i went to a chiropractor for a while. i’d injured my back, and it actually sort of helped.

    this guy was a family friend, and not the quack sort of chiropractor. to the extent that he actually warned me about a lot of the BS, woo-tastic kind of crap in his business — and outright refused to perform and kind of neck manipulation for specifically this reason.

    from what i gather on the interwebs, this guy was the exception.

  3. Michael Suttkus, II says

    Obviously, they don’t need to disclose any risks because Chiropractic is all natural and therefore good. All natural always means good! Volcanoes, ebola virus, earthquakes, hurricanes, insanity, and cancer are all natural occurrences, and thus really, really good!

  4. Glen Davidson says

    It’s about time the quack “cure” (and I’m not denying that chiropractic can produce some benefits) has to give warning of risk.

    For some reason, most junk remedies require no danger warnings, let alone having to tell people that there are no studies to show that it works.

    It should be like with psychics, sold for “entertainment value,” plus all of the possible damages from such “treatments.”

    Glen D

  5. lenoxuss says

    Sometimes I worry about people’s ability to calculate expected value when remote risks are taken into account. Think of how many people gamble because of how high the potential reward is, without taking the exteme low “risk” into account. I think people often do the equivalent with “negative lotteries”, and become overly paranoid.

    I even went so far as to think to myself, Should doctors be required to inform vaccine-receivers of the remote risks? Huh?!

    The answer, I realized, is whether or not they should, they do anyway. Remember the pamphlet? So, um, yeah.

  6. MadScientist says

    The honest question:

    Should we allow quackery like chiropractic to go on despite the fact that it can cause serious injury or death?

    @Brownian: That’s fine. I wouldn’t let anyone touch the vaginas I have hanging on my wall – the sort that holds daggers and swords you know.

  7. Blind Squirrel FCD says

    chiropractors hell, I’ve had Asian barbers offer to “crack my neck”.


  8. lordshipmayhem says

    Doctors are required to tell the patient about dangers from minor surgery and get their release, at least in Canada and I’m certain in most countries around the planet.

    Why shouldn’t quacks chiropractors about their treatments?

  9. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    When I had a colonoscopy a few months ago the doctor spent gave me a form listing various adverse risks involved in the procedure. I had to sign the form signifying that I’d read it and was aware of the risks. Why should chiropractors not be subject to the same requirements as real medical personnel?

    Incidentally, my doctor has a practice in Connecticut but the colonoscopy took place in Rhode Island. The requirement to notify medical patients of adverse risks is the same in both states.

  10. --PatF says

    A while ago, the thought crossed my mind of going to see a chiropractor since I had a chronic pain in my back that I thought might benefit by something like massage.

    A little while after this, I walked passed a storefront chiropractic center and decided to look at some of the exhibits in the window. There were pamphlets about back health and chiropractic massage and why Jesus is the way and the light and …. HUH? All of a sudden, I decided to find another way to deal with back pain.

    I eventually signed up at a health club that had a whirlpool near its swimming pool. The back pain has gone away mostly. Never going to a chiropractor.

  11. JGCmass says

    If they’re claiming to offer a medical benefit why then are they reluctant to abide by common standards re: informed consent?

  12. Newfie says

    you can’t label all chiropractic practitioners the same for each country. US bias again.
    Physicians don’t do the bone crackin’ in this country. And sometimes, all you need is a good joint crack to fix you up. And if practiced correctly, the starting position is: Do no harm.

  13. Newfie says

    and since it’s Friday evening, and my time zone gives me a jump on most y’all for the head start on beer, lets try a real world example:

    a regular golfer torques the back/hip, tendons contract, put pressure and pain on a specific area.
    the medical advice (and likely the best) is: time off, rest it for a week.
    regular golfer has an important 4some that weekend, which could be a deal breaker.
    heat and deep massage with the mechanical device for a half hour, and then, the correct crack from a trained professional, can get you through that weekend. but even after that, I would take a few days off from the game.

    I’m not getting my necked cracked to cure my feckin’ asthma or hiccups.

  14. MikeyM says

    Incidentally, my doctor has a practice in Connecticut but the colonoscopy took place in Rhode Island.

    When you sit around the house, you must really sit around the house.

  15. hairyfro says

    There must be two types of chiropractors out there, because the one my wife sees from time to time never claims any of the woo-ish things that the skeptical community says chiropractors claim. Honestly, I don’t think he would claim to be much more than a specialized form of physical therapy.

    I went one time when I tweaked my hips while doing home improvement stuff. It wasn’t a huge injury, but I found it very uncomfortable to sit. I thought I would try out the chiropractor just to see what happens. I got a massage, he “cracked” my hips back into place, and I felt better shortly thereafter. He gave me some advice about my running and suggested some stretching I should do. It was a very un-woo-like experience.

    The stroke risk is another question, but to characterize chiropractors as quacks seems pretty unfair based on my own experience.

  16. Caine says

    Of course they should have to warn people. Geez. Every time I have to go in for my regular spinal torture tests (with my neurologist at a hospital), I have to read over the warnings of all the things which may happen, and sign my consent.

  17. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    When you sit around the house, you must really sit around the house.


  18. Sastra says

    The article in the Courant looks like it was written by a skeptical reporter who had some guts. He pushes the chiropractic spokesperson to explain his rationale.

    I asked how informing patients — people such as MacDonald, Heck and Harwe — would be harmful? Wouldn’t it actually benefit doctor and patient alike if everyone was more informed?
    Pagano told me that the information patients get would actually be limited if the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners identified this specific procedure for informed consent.
    Pagano said limiting informed consent to a single type of treatment would mean patients would actually learn less about their overall health care.
    I just can’t believe that chiropractors are against informing patients because they fear losing business. I also don’t see how requiring more information about one procedure would stop a chiropractor from more discussion with a patient. So I asked again.
    “This measure would be redundant,” Pagano said, because it would be “singling out” chiropractors. Under state law, all doctors must inform patients about potentially risky treatment. The chiropractors don’t feel that their neck manipulation is risky.

    In other words, following common medical guidelines unfairly “singles out” the chiropractors. It looks like they know that, deep down, they’re not doing medicine: they’re more like religion. In religion, you can pretty much say and promise anything, and the consumer protection folk won’t come after you.

    That is, if it isn’t too specific, and doesn’t involve investment fraud.

  19. Sastra says

    hairyfro #19 wrote:

    There must be two types of chiropractors out there, because the one my wife sees from time to time never claims any of the woo-ish things that the skeptical community says chiropractors claim.

    Yes. As I recall from reading in Quackwatch, there are 3 different types of chiropractors: straight, reformed, and ‘mixed.’ The straight chiros are old-school Palmer method, and they consider virtually all problems result from ‘subluxations’ in the spine (which only they can detect) preventing the flow of ‘innate intelligence’ (vitalism.) They’re the ones who promote all the woo, and denigrate modern medicine.

    The ‘reformed’ have broken away just about as much as they can break away, and still call themselves chiropractors. They confine themselves mostly to back problems, and usually stay away from jerking the neck around. Basically, they’re doing physical therapy, and many of them are quite good at it.

    The third group — the ‘mixed’ — are somewhere in the middle. Just a little woo, maybe you won’t run into it much. Or at all, if you’re lucky. Though it might sneak up when you’re not expecting, and take you in.

    I’d just go to a physical therapist, myself, and not try to play the guessing game.

  20. Stephanie says

    don’t ligaments pretty much immediately undo any sort of bone adjustments chiropractic does? do they just keep manipulating until they tear/stretch them or what?

    I talked to one once (I was asking him about the anti-vax-chiropractor link) and he was bragging that he took ‘some’ of the same classes as doctors do at the same schools. I wonder which ones?

  21. Rorschach says

    don’t ligaments pretty much immediately undo any sort of bone adjustments chiropractic does?

    They claim to fix your subluxations, you see !


  22. aratina cage says

    Yes (2741 responses) 67%

    No (1200 responses) 29%

    Depends (175 responses) 4%

    4116 total responses

  23. Levi in NY says

    Should be “subluxations”, not “subluxions” in the last sentence, PZ. Though on the other hand, it’s all gibberish anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter.

  24. JimL says

    John #24: You can’t have an article that dismisses chiropractic successes (or any kind of successes for that matter) as mere anecdote and then hold up an anecdotal failure and say, “See, it’s bad for you.” Either consider all accounts– both the hits and the misses–or consider none of it.

  25. Xenithrys says

    Thanks Brownian @ 5; that winds me up too; the other one is the cervix (neck) of the womb.

    I remember a fuss some years ago (early 90s) when chiropractors claimed they could diagnose dyslexia in kids (by muscle-testing woo, holding a word on a piece of paper against “patient’s” stomach) and then fix it with cranial manipulations. Some school board was paying for it. I think it was written up in Skeptical Inquirer.

  26. John Morales says

    JimL, I was not dismissing it on the basis of harm to one individual, I was making a reference to a site which explains its woo basis and itself provides a lot more references.

    I do dismiss it, but because it’s woo, not because of incidents.

    Basically, it’s mostly harmless (except to the wallet), and occasionally will provide some relief based on ordinary principles of physical therapy.

    On the other hand, when it’s not harmless…

    By all means, feel free to try to justify Palmer’s fundamental idea. :)

  27. says

    Yes vote now up to 74%.

    Anyone undergoing any kind of treatment has a right to be informed of any potential risk so they can make a personal cost/benefit analysis to base their decision on.

  28. Reginald Selkirk says

    I think the correct answer should be “depends.” It depends on whether chiropractors are allowed to continue their practice, or are convicted of quackery and locked up in prison.

  29. Doug Little says

    I’m sure its not 100% woo, like faith healing, but they definitely need to disclose all risks that could lead to death just like anybody else. I’m just curious, since I have never been to one, as to what claims they make that put them on the woo side of the fence in the first place. Maybe someone can recommend a site so I can educate myself. Not knowing the medical facts about manipulation my guess would be that some form of manipulation could be beneficial in some circumstances, right? Or is it just the loosening of tight muscles that a good massage can provide that provides the benefit?

  30. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    The poll is now closed. Here’s the final results:

    Yes (4980 responses) 77.7%

    No (1237 responses) 19.3%

    Depends (189 responses) 3.0%

  31. skylyre says

    WTF? Not sure what’s up with CT, but I work for a DC in MA and we have patients sign a consent form, which includes risks of adjustments, before they see the doc.

    And just to note, the doc I work for isn’t drowning in woo thankfully. He refers people out and doesn’t try to get them into homeopathy or ionic foot baths and that crap.

    Some others I’ve met though… yeesh. I understand why people are frightened and think they are quacks.

  32. Matrim says

    chiropractors hell, I’ve had Asian barbers offer to “crack my neck”.

    Yeah, a lot of barbers in other countries do that. I used to get an impromptu neck adjustment AND a neck, scalp, and shoulder massage whenever I’d get a haircut in Qatar. I found it entertaining.

  33. Rincewind'smuse says

    as a response to # 16, actually, yes D.O.s are trained in manipulation, and do manipulations in the U.S. As for chiropracters…as an M.D. I’ve no problem with the ‘reformed’ school, and used to work in a group with a D.C./M.D. who more or less had the appropriate treatment for the specific condition,yeah it can be a good thing….I do have a problem with pro-woo anti-vax Palmer graduates who spread more misunderstanding and ignorance based on anecdotes and a poor understanding of basic science concepts.I personally have attempted to show a little respect for their profession when appropriate so it annoys the hell out of me when I hear about certain clowns in around our community dismissing allopathic medicine when they clearly don’t understand the underlying principles. My daughter went with a friend to his chiropracter some time ago. The D.C. spent her time talking about the ‘toxins’ in vaccines and the ‘toxins’ that are released after chiroprctic manipulation and my skeptical daughter came back to me with the ‘question what are toxins’….weeeelll,I had to admit that other than the release of endorphins , perhaps some lactic acid,(depending on the amount of stetching and manipulation) and interleukins this sounded a little dubious and general a term,but ,having an undergraduate degree in molecular and cell biology I would be interested to hear more ,so have her ask what specific agents she’s referring to….long and short, ‘toxins’ is apparently woo shorthand for “I’m pulling it out of my ass as I go along, but it sounds good so don’t ask questions”. She got irritated said that specialists in the area agreed with her ( no Orthopedist I knew had a clue what the fuck she was referring to) and what did I know I was just a pediatrician(who should be a relative expert on vaccines, which she apparently also knew more about than me). She never answered the question. And for what it’s worth anyone who ever treats another person whether by touch or medical therapy owes that person information regarding risk, it’s simply the ethical thing to do.Anyone balking at that shouldn’t be in the business of treating others, period.

  34. BoxNDox says

    My lifelong avoidance chiropractors began with an incident back when I was maybe 10 years old.

    My mother was out of town and I was home alone with my dad – who was in family practice. This was back when house calls were still fairly routine, especially in rural areas like where we lived. It was quite common for me to have to ride along in the car when he got a call and there was nobody to babysit.

    So when a call came in, I prepared to take a car ride somewhere. What I didn’t expect was the expression on my father’s face. I had never seen him so angry.

    He didn’t saw a word as we got in the car and drove – not out into the country but into town. We stopped in front of the local chiropractor’s office. My father went inside, emerging after only a couple of minutes and said quite curtly, “This is going to take time time and you will have to wait.” He was, if anything, even angrier.

    A police car showed up a few minutes later. And then an ambulance. And while I was very young, I nevertheless knew exactly what it meant when the head of the person on the stretcher was covered by the sheet.

    I found out later that the good “doctor” had subluxated a bit too far. And the patient had a nice big CVA. And expired right there in the office.

    I also found out that my father’s presence was the result of him being the county coroner at the time – a rotating position taken up in turn by various doctors in the area.

    We drove back home in silence, but as we pulled out to our house he said, “Never go to a chiropractor.”

    So now when I’m in need of PT, I go to a physical therapist.

  35. Rincewind'smuse says

    John Morales @ 33,

    Basically, it’s mostly harmless (except to the wallet), and occasionally will provide some relief based on ordinary principles of physical therapy.

    Incidentally, my mother worked for a health insurance company locally and it always amused her to no end how often the length of therapy and number of sessions required always seemed to just correspond perfectly for a couple of them to the number allowed by the insurance company.

  36. Kagehi says

    you can’t label all chiropractic practitioners the same for each country. US bias again.
    Physicians don’t do the bone crackin’ in this country.

    Ok, first problem here is, at least in the US, these people are *not* generally doctors. You may find some people that are, who opt to get training in it, but in general, the AMA isn’t involved, medical experts are not, etc. The closest you get to the medical community endorsing it at all is the distressing tendency of “some” colleges recently to offer both medical classes and “alternative” classes, which include everything in the woo category. Other countries.. have been more open to teaching such woo, and even treating it as medicine, so its hardly a surprise you might find people with *actual* licenses in chiropractic treatment.

    That said, its also been shown that at least *some* of the effect, even on the less hazardous manipulations, is a direct result of **nerve damage**. Usually temporary. But, given how the body can, usually, adjust for minor damage, its difficult to say what kind of permanent damage might be happening in someone getting it once a week, like some idiots do.

    These people need to be flat out shut down. When they are in the so called “reformed” category, they are basically just doing a very specialized “physical therapy”, but usually *unlicensed* by any medical board, which means there is no legitimate reason they can’t get a damn license and go into practice doing real medicine. The rest… are not just dangerous, they are selling a product that is only licensed by a board run by their own quacks, and shouldn’t even be recognized as a legitimate licensing board *at all*, especially when it won’t follow the same rules as any other such board, in the real medical field.

  37. Newfie says

    When they are in the so called “reformed” category, they are basically just doing a very specialized “physical therapy”, but usually *unlicensed* by any medical board, which means there is no legitimate reason they can’t get a damn license and go into practice doing real medicine.

    Our Chiros are licensed, and often share a practice with physio therapists.

  38. William says

    Chiropractic Warning

    Should chiropractors be required to tell their patients about the remote risk of a stroke from cervical manipulation?


    Yes (5813 responses)


    No (1265 responses)


    Depends (196 responses)


    7274 total responses

    (Results not scientific)

  39. spinedoc18 says

    Is anyone here familiar with the concept of afferentation/deafferentation or joint mechanoreceptor activity?

  40. John Morales says


    No, but they can be looked up.

    What is their their relevance to this post?

  41. David Marjanović says

    Yes (7283 responses) 82%
    No (1349 responses) 15%
    Depends (201 responses) 2%
    8833 total responses

  42. Scyldemort says

    Strangely enough, the only chiropractor I have ever known personally was one who freely admitted that he was just an orthopedic physical therapist, and only got his chiropractic license because he could make twice as much with said license as without. He was of great help in to me after I broke every bone in my left hand.

    Of course, none of what he did had anything to do with chiropracty, and when people came to him for medical conditions, he would invariably send them to the hospital. I take that to be an example of the best case scenario.

  43. Peapoh says


    I have heard that “toxin” shit too! My roommate and I went in circles about this last year. He swears by chirpractors and the “natural is always better” philosophy (marijuana isn’t a drug cuz it’s natural…yea)so you can imagine how far the argument got. I simply asked him “what toxins? Is it bacteria…viruses….allergens?” And his only response was “Just toxins!” I think toxins may just be a woo metaphor for “demons” or something. Who know,

    Of course in the end I was the closed minded and ignorant one.

  44. JimL says

    @John #33:

    I wouldn’t try to justify Palmer’s idea because I think it’s silly. I do think that damage or stress to the spinal cord can cause all kinds of issues due to the interruption of nerve impulses, but 95% of all “diseases”? Er, no.

    That said, I have gone to a chiropractor for the last 6 months or so due to lower back pain caused by scoliosis. I get a lot of relief from the visits, and I’ve noticed that when the frequency of the visits is only once per month the pain comes back. I’ve tried massage and other kinds of physical therapy, but I’ve found chiropractic to be more effective. That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t found the right “other” kind of PT that would be just as affective. Just saying I haven’t found it yet.

    I would never dream of going to a chiro because my stomach hurt or because I have allergies or, dog forbid, because I think I might have cancer. “Chiropractic” claims of efficacy for those things are fanciful at best.

    My 2 cents.

  45. redrabbitslife says

    @Newfie: I think you’re missing the point here. Canadian chiropractors are licensed by their own association only. There is no other oversight. Canadian chiropractors also run the gamut from Palmerist to reformed. There are many woo-soaked chiropractors working in Canada. Our situation is in that way very similar to the American one.

    In my area (in southern Ontario) we have both (all 3?) types, and it can be a real minefield for the underinformed and trusting. I spend a lot of time explaining to my patients that the $40 000 and weekly visits for two years that they are looking at shelling out to the local scam artists is not money well spent.

    No, I don’t crack necks as an MD. It’s a stupid thing to do. If my patients need physio, I send them to a PT. However, that is getting rather woo-soaked now as well, with the local dudes offering therapeutic ultrasound, low-intensity laser (excuse me? WTF?), and acupuncture as extra money-spinners. So PTs and chiropractors working out of the same office? I can unfortuately totally see it.

  46. sidhe says

    My best friend went to a chiropractor just after Thanksgiving for an “adjustment.” Then she flew out to visit me. We spent her entire trip in the ER. Turns out, the quack had torn both of her vertebral arteries and the docs told her she was fucking lucky she didn’t stroke out on the flight. Maybe not all chiropractors are quacks, but I think I’ll err on the side of caution.

  47. Nakarti says

    (I also posted this to the fellowprisoner comments on this story)
    As a purple belted martial artist I can easily refute the claim that spinal manipulation, especially upper spinal manipulation, cannot cause a stroke or other severe neurological damage.
    One method of upper spine, or neck, adjustment is turning a persons head to the side until it pops.
    One method of quickly killing or disabling an opponent is quickly turning their head to the side until it pops.

    So you sir, I believe are one of the ridiculous quacks that claims any disorientation after an adjustment is not an emergency(which it is!) but merely releasing toxins, or some other homeopathic garbage.

    Chiropractic is a legitimate method of physical therapy, but since it is physical therapy that acts on a central and remarkably vulnerable part of the human body, it carries a significant risk over less intrusive therapies. People need to understand that.

    One thing nobody seems to notice in all this, a physically healthy person with enough time is perfectly capable of self-adjusting the alignment of their spine. If they cannot, a deal of research must be done into why they cannot, before external force is used to try and correct it. Many chiropractors I have met go with standard techniques that they use for everyone, and the most effective relief from those is only equivalent to a thorough stretch routine, not better.
    The popularity has turned a science into a new-age art heavily staffed with artists who were able to pass exams. The plethora of artists calling their activities science, and that belief being reinforced by their fans, has lead to the problem of quackery and incompetence. The quackery and incompetence cannot be completely removed, as evidenced by pharmaceuticals, but regulation and risk information can reduce it significantly.

  48. drjbonesdc says

    There is much mis-understood about chiropractic care here. There is research in the area of functional neurology and spinal manipulation. Many of you are speculating what you heard from somebody else’s experience with chiropractic care and not from your own research. Look to Drs. Don and Deed Harrison, and there Bio-Physics Model of care and you will find over 100 peer reviewed articles published in journals around the world. If you don’t know what you are talking about, don’t say anything at all. Slander is a slippery slope you are approaching! Chiropractic has the intent to help patients without drugs and surgery, through natural health care.

    When a proper evaluation and care is established with patients, there is a risk of about 1 in 1,000,000 of an “adverse reaction”. It is up to you to determine if this is “safe” or not. What are the risk of side effects associated with surgery, anesthesia, medications, etc.??

  49. martha says

    Whenever I hear people say as evidence things like “over 100 peer reviewed articles” I put my doubting cap on. The sheer number of articles means nothing. What was researched? Where was it published? What was the methodology? (Lots of placebo effect potential with chiropractic).

    I get the same crap from the acupuncturists. Yes, there are studies that show it works on some people for pain relief. But why? The underlying science is questionable. The placebo effect has not been ruled out.

    The underlying theory of chiropractic is not scientific. If you have some chiropractors who do a good job of physical therapy, they should become physical therapists. Insurance companies should not pay for this psuedo scientific practice. Instead, up what is paid for physical therapy.

  50. drjbonesdc says

    @ Martha. Spine, JMPT, European Spine Journal, Archives, Archives of physical medicine & rehabilitation, clinical Bio-Mechanics…just to name a few of the peer reviewed locations you will find on Med-Line, and pub-med. Please research this topic for yourself, the information is there.

    Chiropractic is a vitalistic model of health care, medicine is mechanistic…two different views, two different approaches.

    I don’t know where the term pseudo-science comes from, but chiropractic is a widely accepted profession around the world whose applications are re-producible and predictable.

    Chiropractic focuses there study on physiology (what’s supposed to happen in a healthy individual), medicine studies pathology(sickness and disease)…two different approaches.

    Open up Grey’s Anatomy, the nervous system is the master control system of the body, integrating every cell, tissue and organ in the human body. The nervous system is inside the bones of the back, which is subjected to stress over life. Our spine needs regular maintenance over life. Chiropractors offer a solution to reducing and minimizing the stress on the spine and nerves which result from a condition known as subluxation. In 1980 professor Chung Ha Su from the university of Colorado made a discovery…it takes only 10 mm of Hg pressure to reduce the efficiency of the nerves by up to 40%

  51. PeteB says

    “Chiropractic is the largest, most regulated, and best recognized of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions. CAM patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is very high. There is steadily increasing patient use of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two decades.”
    – Meeker, Haldeman (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine

  52. PeteB says

    There are over 4500 licensed chiropractors in Canada. The likelihood that a chiropractor will be made aware of an arterial dissection following cervical manipulation is approximately 1:8.06 million office visits, 1:5.85 million cervical manipulations, 1:1430 chiropractic practice years and 1:48 chiropractic practice careers. This is significantly less than the estimates of 1:500 000–1 million cervical manipulations calculated from surveys of neurologists.7,8,9 These data also confirm the conclusions of a recent review of the literature in which patients at risk for this complication could not be identified.10

    It is probable that the experience of chiropractors does not reflect all dissections that occur following cervical manipulation. Unfortunately, earlier surveys of neurologists did not review patient charts to determine the type of manipulation that was administered or even whether a manipulation was performed during the chiropractic visit implicated in the dissection. The only manner in which the real incidence of dissection following cervical manipulation can be established and the feasibility of screening patients determined is to carry out research in which both chiropractors and neurologists participate. Failure to cooperate in such research will result in confusing and conflicting information being given to patients and will reduce the likelihood that these complications can be avoided.

  53. Sastra says

    drjbonesdc #59 wrote:

    Chiropractic is a vitalistic model of health care, medicine is mechanistic…two different views, two different approaches.

    I suspect the “vitalistic” model of health care you’re talking about here is vitalism — that there is a life force or energy which flows through the body; disease or other problems result when it gets “stuck” in subluxations. This elan vitale cannot be measured by “mechanistic” science, which only deals with the physical world: neither can the subluxations. They can only be sensed by humans with the skill to sense them, and won’t allow themselves to be tested in controlled situations.

    The two different views and approaches here are science and religion. Religion is very popular. So what? That is not going to help your case.

  54. Evan says

    You uninformed people are so busy thinking they know something about chiropractic, they forget about the 109,000/year, according to the AMA, that die each year forom the “proper” use of drugs in the USA. Maybe they should inform us about that! The next victim could be your child, mother etc.

  55. Evan says

    PZ Meyers is an idiot. Look at the research and quit your misinformation campaign. Oh by the way I don’t beleive in athest’s

  56. John Morales says

    Evan, you forgot to point anyone to the research; allow me: Chirobase.

    Oh yeah, who is this PZ Meyers that you consider is an idiot? :)

  57. Jack says

    After reading these blogs the only bad and woo science I see are most of the bloggers here. I agree with the previous blog of presenting two sides, and my personal opinion is that this getting blown way out of proportion. There is malpractice and bad science in mainstream medicine and chiropractic. It’s about finding the right practitioner wherever you go. I personally have a lot of respect for chiropractors and medical doctors alike. Be cautious! Mostly, of what you read on blog sites, and secondly of who is treating you in whatever medicine you choose.

  58. John Morales says


    There is malpractice and bad science in mainstream medicine and chiropractic.

    That should be “There is malpractice in mainstream medicine and bad pseudo-science in chiropractic.”

    Fixed it for you.

  59. Jack says

    John, I have no problem if you want to argue or refute anything I have to say. However, when you come out mocking what I have written, then I lose all respect for you. If you want to try again and present a feasible argument containing peer reviewed research from both sides, then I will consider your opinion.

  60. Matt Hardy says

    Should chiropractors be required to tell their patients about the remote risk of a stroke from cervical manipulation?
    Yes (8355 responses)
    No (16315 responses)
    Depends (267 responses)
    24937 total responses

    Looks like a late surge for the back crack and quack brigade.

  61. Jack says

    First, your website is an opinionated website that definitely isn’t peer reviewed. With very little money, I could make one just like it. Second, in its mission statement it agrees with what I said about finding the right practitioner. It even suggest attending Southern California University of Health Sciences if you are planning to become a chiropractor. Therefore, if you are a follower of this website I don’t know why you are disagreeing with what I said in the beginning… There is malpractice and bad science in mainstream medicine and chiropractic. It’s about finding the right practitioner wherever you go.

  62. kengnc says

    I have agreed with you on so many items, but for some reason I’ve opened an account with you just to disagree with Chiropractors being quacks. I agree that you should understand the risks with any treatment – and a form explaining those risks sounds fine to me. I have wondered why Chiropractic medicine is allowed through insurance companies – and if there is a serious risk – why insurance companies haven’t don’t more to cover their butts?