JAMA Article Advises: “Some people benefit from chiropractic…”
Dear Patients & Friends:
An article appearing in the April 24th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association’s online JAMA Network advises that, “Some people benefit from chiropractic therapy or acupuncture.” This does not seem like an earth shattering statement, and in fact seems like a rather weak endorsement given that in the sentence earlier the writer reports that “Often exercises and physical therapy can help.”
Yet the fact that the medical writer gives any credence at all to chiropractic care, speaks volumes to just how far we’ve come in relations between the two professions.
Consider that less than 100 years ago chiropractors like Dr Mildred Griveling in Ohio, served jail time because medical doctors had them charged with practicing medicine without a license, a charge patently untrue since chiropractors neither dispensed drugs, performed surgery, nor held themselves out to being physicians.
All that changed when on August 24, 1987, US District Court Judge Susan Getzendanner—after two trials that lasted 11 years—ruled that the AMA and co-defendant organizations were guilty, as charged, of attempting to eliminate the chiropractic profession.
Were chiropractors blameless in all this? Surely not. The profession, as my former friend and mentor Joe Keating Jr., Ph.D. wrote, was filled with both genuine, caring and studious Marcus Welby, M.D. type doctors, alongside, “some of the most outrageous quacks I’ve ever met.” Outrageous claims and theories were rampant, and only since 1994 have U.S. government research agencies concluded spinal manipulation is more effective than physical therapies for acute and chronic neck and back problems.
When all is said and done I like to ask my patients this question. Would you rather go to the doctor with good treatment but quack theories, or to the doctor with bad treatment but good theories? It seems as though both professions are learning to temper their comments, and for the patients that can only be a good thing.
Robert A. Leach, DC, MS, FICC(h), CHES
To read the latest from the online JAMA Network about chiropractic: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1681414
To read about the Wilk et al vs AMA trial: http://www.chiro.org/Wilk/
Additional information about Wilk et al vs AMA is available on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilk_v._American_Medical_Association
The first ever US government guidelines on treatment of low back pain were released in 1994 and concluded that spinal manipulation (but not physical therapy procedures) was “safe and effective” for acute low back pain: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK52408/