Chiropractic is the principal and most-regulated form of complementary
and alternative health care. There are about 60,000 chiropractors
- a number expected to nearly double by 2010. The percentage
of Americans who use chiropractic increased from approximately
3.6% in 1980 to 11% in 1997. The profession may be so successful
because it exhibits characteristics of both alternative and
mainstream health care.
recent review of chiropractic in the Annals of Internal
Medicine highlighted the necessity of research in furthering
the profession, and noted that dozens of well-designed studies
on spinal manipulation have shown favorable results of chiropractic
care. One of the main reasons chiropractic has done so well
is because of studies showing its success. The review presented
some very positive figures, which are presented below:
- Forty-three clinical studies on the effectiveness of spinal
manipulation at treating low back pain have been published;
30 of these showed manipulation to be favorable to other
treatments, 13 found no major effects, and none showed manipulation
to be less effective than the comparison treatment.
- Eleven of the back pain studies included a group receiving
placebo (or sham) treatment; of these, eight indicated an
advantage of chiropractic manipulation over placebo.
- Seven of nine studies on the effectiveness of manipulation
for treating headache showed positive results.
- Serious complications from chiropractic adjustments are
rare: only about one per 100 million lumbar adjustments,
and one per 400,000-10 million neck manipulations.
As a chiropractic patient, you have probably known for a
long time how effective this form of treatment is at resolving
multiple health problems. With more research reaffirming chiropractic's
effectiveness, perhaps others will start to catch on as well.
Meeker WC, Haldeman S. Chiropractic: A profession at the
crossroads of mainstream and alternative medicine. Annals
of Internal Medicine 2002:136(3), pp. 216-227.