Chiropractic Controversy And Criticism
Throughout its history chiropractic has been the subject of internal and external controversy and criticism. According to Daniel D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, subluxation was the sole cause of disease and manipulation was the cure for all diseases of the human race. A critical evaluation stated "Chiropractic is rooted in mystical concepts. This led to an internal conflict within the chiropractic profession, which continues today." Chiropractors, including D.D. Palmer, were jailed for practicing medicine without a license. For most of its existence, chiropractic has battled with mainstream medicine, sustained by antiscientific and pseudoscientific ideas such as subluxation. Chiropractic has been controversial, though to a lesser extent than in past years.
Chiropractic authors have stated that fraud, abuse and quackery are more prevalent in chiropractic than in other health care professions. Unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of chiropractic have continued to be made by individual chiropractors and chiropractic associations. The core concept of traditional chiropractic, vertebral subluxation, is not based on sound science. A critical evaluation found that research had not demonstrated that spinal manipulation, the main treatment method employed by chiropractors, was effective for any medical condition, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain., whereas, another review found manual therapies in general to be effective for back pain, neck pain, some forms of headaches and some extremity joint conditions. Although rare, spinal manipulation, particularly on the upper spine, can also result in complications that can lead to permanent disability or death; these can occur in adults and children.
Chiropractors historically were strongly opposed to vaccination based on their belief that all diseases were traceable to causes in the spine, and therefore could not be affected by vaccines. Some chiropractors continue to be opposed to vaccination, one of the most effective public health measures in history. Early opposition to water fluoridation included chiropractors in the U.S. Some chiropractors opposed water fluoridation as being incompatible with chiropractic philosophy and an infringement of personal freedom. Recently, other chiropractors have actively promoted fluoridation, and several chiropractic organizations have endorsed scientific principles of public health.
In 2008, Simon Singh was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for criticizing their activities in a column in The Guardian. A preliminary hearing took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in front of Justice David Eady. The judge held that merely using the phrase "happily promotes bogus treatments" meant that he was stating, as a matter of fact, that the British Chiropractic Association was being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for treating the children's ailments in question. An editorial in Nature has suggested that the BCA may be trying to suppress debate and that this use of British libel law is a burden on the right to freedom of expression, which is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. The libel case ended with the BCA withdrawing its suit in 2010.
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