Another Chiropractic Dinosaur

Ford PA. Another Chiropractic Dinosaur. Journal of Canadian Chiropractors’ Association. September 2005; 49(3):146-149.

COMMENTS: While the author was taking a course in medical acupuncture, a chiropractic student also taking the course asked him: “…why on earth would anyone want to look at bones!” He said that “he was taken aback that the question would even be posed.” After he explained spinal alignment and other clinical and radiographic findings and their importance in spinal adjustments, the students looked at him as if he “lost touch with reality.” The students explained that it was soft tissue that affected osseous distortions and treatments should be directed to the soft tissues. He feels that the students goal is to be “neuromusculoskeletal specialists,” and they dismiss concepts line “structure governs function,” the vertebral subluxation, and spinal joint dysfunction may have wide range neurophysiological implications.

Dr. Ford continues with examples. The late John F. Boudillon, MD talked in his book about Palmer adjusting the thoracic spine and helping Harvey Lillard with deafness. Boudillon states that in his experience somatic dysfunction in upper thoracic joints can affect inner ear function probably via the sympathetic innervation. This statement has been removed from editions since his death. Paul Sherwood, MD stated that “most coronary [heart] attacks are caused by spams of the coronary artery triggered by malfunction of the stellate ganglion. A state of congestion, brought about by upper thoracic back trouble, sensitizes the ganglion either to an increase in the congestion around it or to a sudden change in it[s] activity.” In 2003, Benjamin Kigler, MD in New York sent out a NBC release called “Spinal Manipulation May Help Treat Ear Infection.” A study from Denmark that was published in JMPT found chiropractic management to be safe and effective for newborns with infantile colic.

He discusses the problems with “evidenced based medicine” and its basis with randomized studies in a field not truly a science. He advocates clinical wisdom as “self-evident based medicine.” Examples of self-evident medicine are casting a fracture or extracting a diseased tooth. To these he adds chiropractic adjustments.

He advocates that we not become neuromusculoskeletal specialist, although that is a part of what we do, but focus on being “doctors of manual medicine focused on restoring health … [and continue] educating the public about the importance of the vital connection between our spines, nervous systems and general health.” We would not be “scientific dinosaurs but would have “contemporary medicine on our side.” According to Dr. Peter Thibodeau, this article was discussed at the December 2005 FCER symposium on evidence-based chiropractic clinical practice.

The article can be downloaded at the journal website: