28 August 2011

Chiropractic medicine, in comic form

Darryl Cunningham has a lovely detailed explication of the state of chiropractic "medicine," in a multipanel cartoon format!


Worth clicking through to see the whole thing.


  1. Title generated by the department of redundancies department.

    What I always enjoy is people who are skeptical about homeopathy but swear by their chiropractor.

  2. Great comic! I really enjoyed it, thanks for bringing it to my attention. I forward it on to some of my Skeptical friends - they should enjoy it.

  3. do i have to sign up to be able to click though? or am i missing something? just clicking doesn't show me any more...

  4. A bit one-sided of a comic: there was precious little analysis of reform chiropractic, and yes, it left me sceptical... but of the comic's author and his motivations.

    Here's my experience:

    I had neck pain that wouldn't go away for love or money. Couldn't turn my head to one side at all, and basically had to sit bolt straight in order to be pain-reduced. (Pain-free wasn't an option -- sleep was a rarity.)
    My PCP suggested pills and exercise for two weeks, then started talking about surgery. Repeated visits to his office weren't having much effect: I was still in a lot of pain.
    On the advice of a friend, saw a chiropractor, who took *two* x-rays of my neck (front and side, and none of the whole-spine x-rays that the comic's author mentioned) to see that C-5 was out of alignment. After the first adjustment, I was able to turn my head without pain for the first time in weeks. She suggested I keep up with the Advil and exercise, and I saw her for follow-up adjustments for a few more visits.
    Pain came back a few years later (secondary to physical activity), and I saw a new chiro (closer to where I'm living now.) Same deal, except no x-ray -- just a simple physical exam. He did the adjustment, advised I use Advil for comfort in the meantime, and after about 8-10 follow-up visits, was completely pain free.

    My PCP was suggesting cutting me open, to fix something that was ultimately fixed by someone else without the risks inherent in major surgery. In terms of out of pocket expense in time, physical hardship, and money, getting carved up by a surgeon was by far the poorer option.

    I'm not convinced that either western medicine or chiropractic has all the answers, but I'm sure that both have some of them, and both have a lot to offer patients.

  5. Anonymous 2043: Click the link, not the comic.

    Anonymous 0706: From the comic, "[Your] subjective experience, however positive...does not trump the whole of science."

  6. Gene, Re: Anon @0706

    Not looking for the evidence doesn't mean the evidence isn't there. If medicine is so convinced that Chiropractic is no more effective than homeopathy, medicine should do the research and _prove_ that chiropractic is worthless. Without that research, it's just two people with different opinions.

  7. Gene:
    A comic, no matter how well drawn, is no substitute for empirical study.

    I'm in agreement with Mark: if the western-medicine camp does indeed know something that the rest of us ought, then they really need to let everyone know about it.

  8. medicine should do the research and _prove_ that chiropractic is worthless

    That isn't how science works. You can't prove a negative.

    The study would have to be designed to show that Chiropractic care has value. Those studies have been done over and over again. At best they show some relief from back pain. At worst, in the case of studies involving neck adjustments and strokes, they show it is dangerous.

    The studies have been done. It has almost no value.

    From personal experience, I had lower back pain from a fall. Went to the Chiropractor, he did an adjustment. My legs couldn't support my body weight for 30 minutes afterwords. I had a ruptured disc. Neither the Chiro or myself knew that. Luckily he was honest enough that he realized I had something he couldn't fix and got me to a real doctor.

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  10. The study would have to be intended to show that Chiropractic care has value. Those studies have been done over and over again. At best they explain some relief from back pain.

  11. Chiropractors have been around for as long as the wheels of time has spun. There are certainly lots of bumps along the way. However, no matter how professionals approach the theory of it in the field, what is constant is the need for good service that will really tend to hurts and ailments that folks may have. Thanks for sharing that!

    Vanessa Adams @ Oshawa Chiropractic Wellness and Rehabilitation


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