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British Chiropractors Drop Case Against Simon Singh

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the quacks-like-to-duck dept.

The Courts 182

SJrX writes "Several sources are reporting that the British Chiropractic Association has dropped its lawsuit against famed writer Simon Singh. He had recently won a High Court ruling in his favour, but this had been open for appeal." Also covered at The Independent and at MacLeans. Singh had angered the chiropractors' trade group with his published claim that certain chiropractice treatments were "bogus."

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182 comments

Most are bogus... (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860618)

But the placebo effect is really great!

Not completely bogus (5, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860728)

They can make back pain marginally better. That's not bogus at all. They can not, however, fix much of anything else, which was Singh's complaint against them, because they claim they can fix everything from gout to cancer.

Re:Not completely bogus (4, Insightful)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860788)

The one that got me was their claims that they could cure colic.

Back pain? Sure, no problem.
Neck pain? Sometimes; depends on why the pain is there.
Shoulder pain? I'll even buy that one.

Colic? Often caused by gas, treated by moving the baby around. (Driving works, for some reason.)

But [Eddie Izzard] cracking the bones [/Eddie Izzard]??? Not so much.

I'm wondering how many chiropractically treated colic cases are going to wind up phsycially screwed up because of this... We won't know for another dozen years, tho.

Re:Not completely bogus (2, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861038)

When you have a baby with colic, you'll do just about whatever it takes to make that baby stop crying.

Chiropractors who say they can fix it are capitalizing on the desperation of parents.

Re:Not completely bogus (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861556)

Spinal manipulation triggers release of endorphins which ease pain. But, probably the main reason the baby stops crying in some cases is that it is either scared or being turned on its stomach eases gas pains. I doubt it is completely bogus as a treatment for colic.

Re:Not completely bogus (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861686)

I'm a fan of whiskey and soundproofing. Doesn't matter who you use it on, the crying isn't so bad after.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861640)

Hi. I'm one of those babies who was colicky, was taken to a chiropractor, and STFU because of it.

I'll agree that it's not good for much else beyond back/neck/shoulder pain, and some chiropractors are lousy for even that.

Re:Not completely bogus (2, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862058)

Colic? Often caused by gas, treated by moving the baby around.

Hehe... I've seen a few babies that wouldn't stop screaming get better after an adjustment.

Not Colic per se, but you can knock bones out of place at any age.

The chiropractors I know do a lot of muscle work too, so they're more like Chiropractor-Physio hybrids. My favourite Chiropractor also knows a lot of nutritional stuff. She just radiates knowledge compared to my MD.

But they are people. I'm sure there's quacks, or less educated members of the profession. That happens with every profession.

Re:Not completely bogus (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31862172)

Posting AC to keep my state Chiropractic Licensing board from revoking my license.

Yes, many things claimed by chiropractors are bogus, but you have to keep in mind that many people do not understand the simple concept that correlation does not equal causation. If you bring the baby into the office for treatment and the colic stops, they automatically assume that the treatment "cured" the colic. There was at least one study done at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in the early 1990s that showed what could be a positive correlation between chiropractic treatment and reduction in colic, but I do not know if the sample size was large enough to be considered statistically significant.

Chiropractors can treat many things that some people may not necessarily consider "chiropractic" cases, but it is my opinion that too many chiropractors make too many wild and wide claims.

Yes, shoulder pain... if it is caused by a musculoskeletal problem, or even some neuromusculoskeletal problems. Fracture? No. Sorry. Take that to the ER or an orthopaedist. Sport injury other than a fracture or a tear? Chances are a chiropractor can help.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862734)

Chiropractors used to be pretty controversial a long time ago, because if these claims that most illnesses derive from spinal misalignment. Ie, good old fashioned quackery. Then along the way it suddenly became more mainstream and acceptable. I think most people just think of chiropractors as just a cheaper form of orthopedics or relief of back pain.

Re:Not completely bogus (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860820)

> They can make back pain marginally better.

Massage can make back pain a bit better. Since some of what chiropractors do resembles massage, they can sometimes improve it. The theory under which they operate, however, is completely bogus. If you want a massage see a massage therapist, not a quack.

Re:Not completely bogus (3, Funny)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861438)

My health insurance covers a chiropractor, and not a massage. I'll see the cheaper (for me) quack and just schedule a massage there.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861850)

> My health insurance covers a chiropractor, and not a massage.

Probably because your state law requires that it do so.

Re:Not completely bogus (5, Interesting)

backdoc (416006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861576)

I had a bad experience with a plumber one time. Should I say the entire profession is bad?

I am a chiropractor. I no longer practice though. Why? Because I never subscribed to the chiropractic philosophy. I don't agree with the philosophical principles that chiropractic is founded on. But, that doesn't mean that it doesn't benefit millions of people beyond what any other health care profession can provide. Chiropractic provides more than symptomatic relief. It restores normal mobility to the joints. And, this is what I believe provides relief. I guess an Osteopath could provide that service, too.

The problem I've seen is that percentage wise, only a small number of people seek Chiropractic care. So, to make a living, that forces the unscrupulous chiropractor to treat conditions outside of their scope or keep the patient coming in longer than necessary, under false information. I could never do either. So, I went back to school and got a degree in CS. I'm much happier.

But, I want to correct you. Although my personality conflicts with the principles of the profession, Chiropractic does not resemble massage. It is not quackery.

I am fully convinced that Chiropractors prevent thousands of unnecessary surgeries every year. When it comes to neuromusculoskeletal conditions, I don't think other health care providers can make that claim.

I think the key is to find a Chiropractor by referral. If you they are helping you (give it a couple of weeks), then good for you. Otherwise, try something else.

Re:Not completely bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861698)

When it comes to neuromusculoskeletal conditions, I don't think other health care providers can make that claim.

With regards to "neuromusculoskeletal" manipulations, I've never seen anything a Chiropractor can do to help that a Physiotherapist can't. The difference is that Physiotherapists don't make absurd claims or require a "philosophy", and they actually *work*.

I've been to chiropractors to treat my back pain. He kept telling me I had to go back twice a week (probably for the rest of my life) for manipulations. This is typical.

I went to a physiotherapist. He did a manipulation *once*, and said "come back in six months, so I can make sure you're still OK." I haven't had a problem since.

Re:Not completely bogus (0, Offtopic)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861786)

> I am a chiropractor. I no longer practice though. Why? Because I never
> subscribed to the chiropractic philosophy.

Then you were never really a chiropractor.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862596)

That doesn't make any sense.

There are plenty of priests (of any religion) who do/have/will question their faith. That doesn't make them non-priests (or even bad ones).

There are plenty of soldiers over in the sandbox (god, jargon makes my nipples hard) who don't believe their mission in Iraq is a good idea. That doesn't make them non-soldiers.

There are (apparently) plenty of tech support people who don't have a damn clue as to what goes on inside the magic box. That doesn't make them n... oh wait it does. Screw them.

Re:Not completely bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31862864)

Then you were never really a chiropractor.

And, furthermore, no true Scotsman.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862424)

I had a bad experience with a plumber one time. Should I say the entire profession is bad?

But this isn't one chiropractor, this is the British Chiropractic Association that claims to represent some (presumably large) portion of British Chiropractors. So no, one bad plumber doesn't reflect badly on all plumbers, but if a large plumbing association is behaving badly, it does reflect on all their members.

Re:Not completely bogus (4, Informative)

rikkards (98006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862540)

I appreciate your honesty. My wife experienced a mild stroke in 2004 due to an upper neck adjustment that ended up bounding back a couple days later and pinched a blood vessel. She has experienced vertigo since which is finally subsiding. She also was seeing a chiro for years before that happened. She ended up seeing a physio therapist afterwards and since then has had a lot of the initial problems dealt with.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861674)

I believe Chiropractors may also be good for fixing pinched nerves (anecdotal evidence from my father). However, I think Chiropractors grossly overstate the number of conditions that can be helped by spinal manipulation, and that telling the truth was an affirmative defense against slander claims in this case.

Re:Not completely bogus (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861262)

They can make back pain marginally better.

Not just back pain, and not just marginally. My dad hurt his back on the job, and the MDs could do nothing for him except give him drugs and offer surgery that could even make the situation worse. A Chiropractor cured him completely.

But no, it won't help gout or cancer, but giving up alcohol and beans will alleviate gout.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

AleBaba (1566049) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861792)

There was a study some time ago in Austria that let a self-proclaimed healer (basically a quack in my opinion) and an actor "treat" two groups of people suffering from incurable cancer. The patients, being in a "real" study, of course got medical treatment as well.

The results quack vs. actor were really interesting:

In both groups nearly the same amount of people felt significantly better after a treatment. A lot of them even reported that the positive effects were noticeable for a few days.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861924)

The placebo effect is very real, but "Feeling better" is not "surviving incurable cancer." In fact, most real treatments for cancer will leave you feeling significantly worse, often for weeks after a treatment.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862214)

Could it be that taking time out of their day, to see a "professional" and lie down for an hour or so, was the actual effector here, rather than any manipulation the healer or actor did ?

Hardly a conclusive sample, but I have this friend who is a major stress bucket, he is uptight about every littlest thing and I occasionally have to "disconnect" him for a month or so, to preserve my own sanity. He used to see a chiro every week or two for back pain, until one day Howard Stern endorsed a book about back pain that basically told him what I've been saying all along: "it's all in your dumb fat head". Since Stern is this guy's idol, he finally read the damn book, stopped seeing his chiro and his back pain is much less debilitating than it once was. Oh, and this guy is 30, not obese or anything, and is moderately active - more than the average /. reader and myself, at least.

His back pain was (and still is) directly related to his stress and anxiety levels, and while I am in no way a doctor or anything close, I would hazard a guess that many people's chronic pain is a direct result of stress. If you're high-strung all the time, your muscles tense up, blood pressure rises, and a whole bunch of other subconscious things happen as tied to the endocrine system. It is only logical to assume that these can lead to soreness and pain, especially if your stress management skills are poor (or nil). Anything that helps you relax is going to help with the pain. What the person does with their hands is irrelevant, it's the ritual, the psychosomatic effect that is at work here.

OK I'll buy in (1)

thephydes (727739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862036)

I went to a Chiropractor about 2 years ago because I realised that my back was getting stiffer and less flexible - not surprising as I had just hit 50, and have a fairly sedentary job. Has my back improved - yes .... Placebo effect? who knows. But what I can say is that the incidence of migraines has improved from 3 a week to one a month over the last 2 years. Coincidence? Maybe but it was never suggested to me that that was even possible, and it was not what I went for. So does Chiropractic work? Hell yes!

Re:OK I'll buy in (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862146)

Migraines tend to diminish in intensity with old age. And I said that chiro works for back pain. But it still won't cure gout or cancer.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862306)

I have stopped going to chiropracters myself and am looking for an alternative. I used to be able to go once every couple of years, get my back popped, come back in a week or two for followup, then go on my way, feeling great. Chiropracters nowdays want to slightly adjust you over 20-30 treatments, and give you shock treatments and roll out your back. These feel great while you are having them and for about 15 minutes after the treatment is over, then I start feeling like crap all over again - manytimes feeling as bad, if not worse, than before I went in. Nice placebo effect.

Chiropracters nowdays also claim to cure cancer, muscular distrophy, adhd, and many other things by simply aligning the back. Granted, it may make my arm stop tingling if my back is really messed up bad, but pretty sure its not going to cure a genetic disorder or cell mutation.

Here is what gets me - I think modern chiropracters ACTUALLY BELIEVE this stuff. I went into one once, and he claimed that he did a chiropractic adjustment on his SIX-WEEK-OLD granddaughter! Should have contacted Child Protective Services - seriously doubt the child suffered from back pain, and I am willing to bet more harm than good was done.

Truthfully, I get better treatment paying the random big muscular guy $5 to pop my back than I have gotten at a Chiropracter in the past seven years.

Re:Not completely bogus (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862478)

Massage has always worked better for me than chiropractic. Start going to a good masseuse or masseur. Not the 'happy ending' kind, a legitimate one. Or Yoga, that's the best if you have the self discipline needed.

Re:Not completely bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31862658)

It's a straw attack to claim that we're saying they can't do ANYTHING, but subluxations and disease curing are 100% bogus.

Re:Most are bogus... (4, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860866)

But the placebo effect is really great!

Let's hope they offer him more than a placebo for his accumulated legal costs.

Frist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31860634)

Frist

Most... (-1, Redundant)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860640)

Most chiropractors treatments are bogus, but if the placebo effect does the job...

Re:Most... (-1, Redundant)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860660)

Damn! I repeat myself! :-\ Must be the Placebo effect...

Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860674)

I was truly surprised that Singh was sued in the first place for seemingly innocuous remarks about chiropractors. Yes, his comments basically called them to task for their industry group's assertion that chiropractic could basically cure all sorts of illnesses.

Hopefully this serves as a warning to other "slandered" groups that they had better have something more substantial than hurt feelings if they want to abridge someone's freedom of speech.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (5, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860790)

The BCA still ruined his life for a good year or two. That's a wonderful deterrant against people with smaller bankrolls.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861186)

There is something very wrong with a legal system where someone can sue you and then drop the case or lose, and you still have to pay and are not compensated for your time.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (3, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861732)

There is something very wrong with a legal system where someone can sue you and then drop the case or lose, and you still have to pay and are not compensated for your time.

Simon sing is going to go after the BCA for costs: http://www.badscience.net/2010/04/british-chiropractic-association-drops-shameful-libel-case-against-science-writer-who-criticised-them/ [badscience.net]

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (3, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860938)

Hopefully this serves as a warning to other "slandered" groups that they had better have something more substantial than hurt feelings if they want to abridge someone's freedom of speech.

In what way did the BCA not get what they wanted? Singh's attitude went from 'you are ripoff artists' to 'please dont sue me'. The courts sided with the BCA. The eventual dropping of the case won't hurt them much, as far as I can tell. The chilling effect on critics, however, is more pronounced. Singh himself will likely not attempt this again without a legally obvious amount of evidence, which by the way, is impossible to ethically gather.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (5, Informative)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861196)

Singh might go after them for his legal fees [badscience.net] . That would be about a £100,000 loss to the BCA (not to mention what they spent already). It doesn't make it better for Singh, but it's still a victory for everybody else. And this might spark a reform in the libel law, which is another win for everybody else.

So far, Singh has been hit the hardest, but the fight isn't over yet. I don't know if we can make things easier on him directly, but maybe the other side can still be hit hard.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862124)

In what way did the BCA not get what they wanted? Singh's attitude went from 'you are ripoff artists' to 'please dont sue me'. The courts sided with the BCA.

Simple solution - don't slander without factual proof. Even if you strongly believe something, or know it to be true, don't say it unless you have actual evidence, because if you don't (and can't provide some), it's slander.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862308)

I do wonder if he could have simply added a legal 'IMHO' and avoided the entire mess.

"I just don't see any compelling evidence" or "I am unconvinced by their argument" for example.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862398)

IMHO, that might help! ;)

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862524)

You are aware that if you demand solid 100% unimpeachable proof, most investigative journalism (by which I mean real journalism, not repeating press releases) and whistleblowing would never get off the ground?

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862262)

Millions of people who would have never heard what Singh said now have.

Singh has lost more than them, but the BCA would have been better off doing nothing.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861414)

It was more than just an innocuous remark. He co-authored a book explaining why it was bogus [amazon.com] . They did this to discredit him.

Now, I'm going to buy the book.

Re:Glad to see the UK upholding freedom of speech (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861546)

It is an interesting read. Certainly worth it.

Chiropractors! (wait for it) (3, Funny)

bugeaterr (836984) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860686)

What a pain in the neck! (At least proctology is based on peer-reviewed science)

Re:Chiropractors! (wait for it) (2, Informative)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860720)

That's peer rear-viewed science.

Re:Chiropractors! (wait for it) (3, Funny)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861214)

As opposed to urology, which is pee-er reviewed scince.

Re:Chiropractors! (wait for it) (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861512)

Good one.

Re:Chiropractors! (wait for it) (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861558)

And urology is pee-reviewed science.

Yeah but (0, Offtopic)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860726)

How is this related to iStuff?

Re:Yeah but (-1, Offtopic)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860782)

What? No mention of the iPhad?

Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back problems (4, Interesting)

el_flynn (1279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860796)

I used to work as a helpdesk consultant -- this was waay back 13 years ago -- and part of my duties was to lug bigass monitors for the company from one workstation to another (they were a publishing house with a lot of DTP guys). One day I lifted a monitor the wrong way, and long story short -- the back pain stayed with me right up until a couple of months ago.

Used to be I couldn't lie face-down for more than 10 minutes before my back would start hurting. And I couldn't carry my kids much. One day the pain got so bad I went to a chiro, and the guy did manage to straighten out my back. Hurt like heck when he "realigned" my spine, but that 13-year-injury is no longer there.

So yeah, I used to think they're bogus. But now I dont. YMMV.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860856)

> So yeah, I used to think they're bogus.

They are. A massage therapist could helped you more and with less hocus-pocus.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861140)

No "massage therapist" around here would do anything like that. They seem to be the sunshine and flowers and dreams half of physical therapy, mostly to make you happier after the physical therapist makes you work your butt off.

That's exactly what a chiropractor should be for.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861180)

plus you can get a happy ending to feel even better.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (4, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861270)

Probably not. Massage therapists work on muscles; I've never heard of one doing a spine adjustment. I, too, firmly believe 99% of chiroprators are full of shit, but the one thing they seem to do well is straighten the back... mostly they treat the symptom of back pain. But if the adjustment permanently removes the pain, I call that a cure, regardless of the quackery behind their methods.

I'd never go to a chiropractor, ever. I'd go to an orthopedic specialist that's a doctor of osteopathic medicene, though... but of course, their science IS science. There are many D.O. chief of surgeons and D.O.'s that run hospitals. I'd even go so far to say the D.O. is better than the M.D., as far as the skill of the healer is concerned... just not as popular.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (0, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861890)

> Massage therapists work on muscles; I've never heard of one doing a spine
> adjustment.

Spine adjustments are bullshit.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (4, Interesting)

abdulwahid (214915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861284)

> So yeah, I used to think they're bogus.

They are. A massage therapist could helped you more and with less hocus-pocus.

I had a bad back problem a few years ago after doing martial arts. The regular doctor told me I would never be able to do sports again, gave me some drugs for the pain and I was given some massage session. One year later, I was still in pain. Although it did come and go but at the worst points I couldn't do simple things like lift the kids into the car or push a shopping trolley. I used to take pain killers and tried various different massage techniques.

I went to two chiros. The first was bogus. He pulled and pushed me around and I didn't feel any better afterwards. A few months later I went to a second one at had a greatly different experience. He was very methodical and explained exactly what he was doing and where the problems in my body where. Many clicks later and a few sesssions later I felt much better. I could stand straight again with ease - no pulling pain sensation like before.

Now it has been a good few years and I have no back problems anymore. I even play sport again normally.

My conclusion was that there are a lot of bogus people out their practising these types of techniques but perhaps with a really skilled person and with very specific problems in the back, their techniques really can help.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (3, Interesting)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861608)

My conclusion was that there are a lot of bogus people out their practising these types of techniques but perhaps with a really skilled person and with very specific problems in the back, their techniques really can help.

I currently have some (not too bad) back pain from several years ago. It comes and goes, but I can live with it.

Every time I hurt, my wife suggests I go to a chiropractor. But I don't -- because I don't know who I can trust. How do I know it's not some quack? How do you find that "really skilled person" and know you have one of those "very specific problems in the back?"

My current theory is to ask them what they can cure. If they say suggest wacko things like cancer and ear aches, I'll go somewhere else. You'd think there would be a better way, though, wouldn't you?

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861818)

How do I know it's not some quack? How do you find that "really skilled person" and know you have one of those "very specific problems in the back?"

In my case the chiropractor was affiliated with the physical therapy provider my back doctor recommend I use. I did a combination of standard PT with a chiro session once every other week. It was hard to know which of these made the greater difference, though my back was much better afterwards.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

abdulwahid (214915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862536)

Every time I hurt, my wife suggests I go to a chiropractor. But I don't -- because I don't know who I can trust. How do I know it's not some quack? How do you find that "really skilled person" and know you have one of those "very specific problems in the back?"

For me it was a case of some good personal recommendations. I found people were travelling hundreds of miles to see this particular guy and although he was a bit expensive in the end in my desperation I gave it a go. It is a problem though...how to find someone who is not a total quack.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861466)

Mr. Singh didn't say that all Chiropractic procedures are bogus. It's the stuff about curing allergies and diabetes and stuff - that is the bogus part. But don't take this to mean that a good chiropractor can't work wonders if you have disc problems.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861932)

> Mr. Singh didn't say that all Chiropractic procedures are bogus. It's the
> stuff about curing allergies and diabetes and stuff - that is the bogus part.

But that is an essential part of the theory: that all illness is the result of spinal "subluxations".

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862094)

And you could have got a happy ending.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862180)

They are. A massage therapist could helped you more and with less hocus-pocus.

You've got your head in the sand. There are injuries where bones need to be realigned. This sounds like one of them.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (5, Informative)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860858)

Did the chiro also offer to cure your diabetes? Cancer? Emphysema? Bad skin? This is what Singh was commenting on - the widespread, and supported-by-the-association claims to actually cure disease via Chiropractic Manipulation.

Bogus, indeed.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (2, Interesting)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862334)

I've never heard of Chiropractors curing cancer. Heh - when my chiropractor got a malignant melanoma, she got it cut out before it could spread. :P

But I have heard the theories that proper alignment can help your body heal itself. I'd be interested in statistics (one way or the other) showing cancer rates in people that regularly have chiropractic adjustments, vs those that don't. Is anyone aware of such statistics?

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860878)

So yeah, I used to think they're bogus. But now I dont.

...When they treat back pain.

The main concern here is how many chiropractors claim to cure things like diabetes- not only having nothing to do with the spine, but often making people think they don't need the real treatment.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860894)

That may be true, but you also don't put a bandage on your knee to cure acid reflux.

The point behind Singh's comments wasn't whether chiropracticy worked at all, it was if it worked for (in a sense) all ailments.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31860910)

They fixed your back not your cancer. The scam is that they claim to be able to help anything.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (5, Informative)

Rantastic (583764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861004)

Used to be I couldn't lie face-down for more than 10 minutes before my back would start hurting. And I couldn't carry my kids much. One day the pain got so bad I went to a chiro, and the guy did manage to straighten out my back. Hurt like heck when he "realigned" my spine, but that 13-year-injury is no longer there. So yeah, I used to think they're bogus. But now I dont.

Except that while you may have seen a Chiropractor, I am willing to bet that he was also a licensed physical therapist. What you have described is a physical therapy treatment, not a chiropractic treatment.

This is the reason that a lot of people think that chiropractic treatments are legitimate: They are receiving physical therapy treatments from so called "mixed" chiropractors.

Strict, or so called "straight" chiropractors claim they can fix any problem in the body (heart disease, cancer, whatever) by manipulating your bones and muscles. That kind of nonsense is right up there with balancing the humors to restore the body's vitality.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (4, Informative)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861048)

Chiropractic treatment (massage therapy and physical therapy) has been well established as an effective treatment for back pain, and many "chiropractors" end both their claims and treatments there.

The problem is, true Chiropractic goes much further, claiming that a wide variety of diseases are caused by "misalignments" of the spine, other joints, and soft tissue. "Traditional chiropractic assumes that a vertebral subluxation or spinal joint dysfunction interferes with the body's function and its innate intelligence." In many cases, these claims are demonstrably false.

"Chiropractic is often described as two professions masquerading as one. Unlike the distinction between podiatry (a science-based profession for foot disorders) and foot reflexology (an unscientific philosophy which posits that many disorders arise from the feet), in chiropractic the two professions attempt to live under one roof, albeit with much tension between them."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiropractic [wikipedia.org]

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862040)

"Chiropractic is often described as two professions masquerading as one. Unlike the distinction between podiatry (a science-based profession for foot disorders) and foot reflexology (an unscientific philosophy which posits that many disorders arise from the feet), in chiropractic the two professions attempt to live under one roof, albeit with much tension between them."

My wife's a podiatrist and sometimes deals with that. She went through pre-med undergrad, 4 years of med school, and 2 years of surgical residency. She has no belief in "alternative medicine" whatsoever, but she'll be more than happy to reconstruct your foot if you need it. Still, she has a surprising number of requests for non-medical treatment.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

ComeTheDay (1732424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862450)

Massage therapy and physical therapy are NOT considered chiropractic treatment. Chiro means spine cracking. You are referring to chiros who now see the light of day (i.e. science) and are branching into more ways they can make $$$. It's called the placebo affect.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861200)

All you know is that the chiro likely did something that stopped the pain. It doesn't mean that what he thought he was doing is what helped.

For example, he might have done X, Y, and Z to your back, X and Y being what he considers chiropractice, and Z something that he happens to do but wasn't intentional. It might have been Z that helped, not necessarily X and Y. You might have gotten similar relief from a masseuse. Or not.

Just noting that your experience doesn't prove that chiropractors aren't quacks who make false claims.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861322)

The claims of fakery had nothing to do with spinal issues, rather with everything else.
"The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence."

Let's see, last time I checked, claims of panacea have ALWAYS PROVEN TO BE A CON. Sure, that snake oil you just bought may actually settle and upset stomach, but it's not going to make you younger, restore missing limbs, or restore eyesight. So if your favorite purveyor of cures starts claiming they can fix anything, you'd best kick them in the nuts and go find a respectable one.

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861764)

> So yeah, I used to think they're bogus. But now I dont. YMMV.

It's not so much that all chiropracty is inherently totally bogus in all circumstances. There *are* people who claim this, but it's not really a mainstream view.

The issue is more that there's not nearly enough consistency, from one chiropractor to another, in terms of how much training they have, whether they have any idea at all what they're doing, and, importantly, whether they limit themselves to performing legitimate and useful services or go totally off the deep end promoting bizarroid rituals with all manner of obviously unrealistic claims. There's a lot of bogus woo-woo chiropracty out there.

My advice about chiropractors is as follows. First, don't go on a whim just because you have a backache today. Take 500mg of acetaminophen and a hot bath. Most people never need to see a chiropractor, so it shouldn't be the first thing on your to-do list every time you have a muscle twitch.

Second, if you are considering going to a chiropractor, see a licensed medical doctor about your back at least once first, preferably one who specializes in backs. Sure, sometimes the doctor comes up blank and just prescribes some pain meds, which doesn't really solve anything. In that case, you'll probably go to a chiropractor next. But sometimes the doctor will discover that you have a real medical problem, such as a torn disc or whatnot, which needs to be treated. It would be a very rare chiropractor who could deal effectively with something like that, and it's even possible they could inadvertently exacerbate the problem. See a doctor first.

Third, and most important, never EVER go to a chiropractor you know nothing about. Always speak first to other people in the community who have been to chiropractors in the past, so you can get some idea which ones are any good. Be very wary of chiropractors whose fans go in on a regular basis. Try to find one whose patients say things like, "Oh, yeah, when I was having back problems a couple of years ago, I went to [name] a couple of times, and it really helped."

Re:Chiropractor fixed my long-standing back proble (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862454)

I want to know where this chiropracter is at, because he is obviously an old-school chiropracter that ACTUALLY DOES REALIGNMENTS. The modern thing for chiropractors is to slightly adjust you over 30 visits, give you electrical shock therapy, and try to tell you they can cure any medical condition you throw at them.

Long story short, an old fashioned chiropracter CAN cure back pain. A modern chiropractor is a quack.

If you drop it just right... (5, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860812)

"British Chiropractors Drop Case Against Simon Singh" -newspapers
"Well that's a load off my back" -Singh
"See! Our treatment works!" -chiropracters

Re:If you drop it just right... (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861682)

"British Chiropractors Drop Case Against Simon Singh" -newspapers "Well that's a load off my back" -Singh "See! Our treatment works!" -chiropracters

So how heavy was the case that they dropped against his back?

McLibel (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860896)

They dropped it out of fear they'd lose it, customers and £30million just like McDonald's did with their libel case. This is rather encouraging to see. Perhaps a few small voices can make a difference.

Re:McLibel (2, Informative)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861034)

A few small, rich voices can make a difference!
Part of his complaint with regard to the lawsuit was that the Chiropractors' Association that sued him also sue poor people who should have free speech rights that are socked with having to settle because they can't afford the legal costs.

what's bogus is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31860950)

The summary is total fail. Something was dropped.

unwittingly... (3, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31860960)

Several sources are reporting that the British Chiropractic Association has dropped its lawsuit against famed writer Simon Singh.

Now they've unwittingly made this the even more famed writer Simon Singh. Before this, I hadn't even heard of him. Sometimes it's smarter to let the writer write what he will then to have a high court make him look even better. Now their illusionary world looks even more like it is.

Mythbusters-style (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861000)

"Bogosity confirmed"

Boycott? (3, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861056)

I propose that anyone living in Britain who was seriously considering seeing a chiropractor- and still is- avoid any members of the British Chiropractors' Association, and lets them know exactly why.

Though I suspect most people who would be willing to support this boycott wouldn't be planning on seeing a chiropractor now, if they ever were.

For American Readers: (0, Offtopic)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861064)

When you read the article, you have to say 'sheeropitist' and not 'chiropractor'.

I think. I seem to remember it from a cartoon.

*bashes head against desk* (-1, Offtopic)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861066)

There's no such thing as the Placebo effect!

Study in the Cochrane Review shows that in studies where placebo and no intervention were both performed, placebo performed as well as no intervention(see below for reference).

No such thing as the placebo effect.

Further more, this is 2010. Not 1890. We know that the interaction of chiropractic doesn't actually *do* anything other than give you a firm massage.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Jan 20;(1):CD003974. Placebo interventions for all clinical conditions. Hróbjartsson A, Gøtzsche PC. PMID: 20091554 Complement Ther Med. 2009 Oct-Dec;17(5-6):249-56. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

Re:*bashes head against desk* (3, Informative)

Rantastic (583764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861240)

There's no such thing as the Placebo effect!

I'm curious how you can to that conclusion. I just read the study you referenced and that is not at all what it says.

What is actually says (emphasis mine):

We did not find that placebo interventions have important clinical effects in general. However, in certain settings placebo interventions can influence patient-reported outcomes, especially pain and nausea, though it is difficult to distinguish patient-reported effects of placebo from biased reporting. The effect on pain varied, even among trials with low risk of bias, from negligible to clinically important. Variations in the effect of placebo were partly explained by variations in how trials were conducted and how patients were informed.

Nowhere in that study do the authors claim that there is no such thing as the placebo effect.

Re:*bashes head against desk* (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861310)

Ben Goldacre (http://www.badscience.net) has done some research into studies about the Placebo effect, given talks about the topic & made a radio documentary on the subject.
What sets him apart from a lot of others is that he references the studies as he goes - I'd recommend looking up some of those studies, or even getting in touch with him before making your mind up completely about the Placebo effect - from a purely scientific point of view it is true that in the case of many problems, the body is able to do more than it would normally do - so there's room to "coerce" it into helping itself.

Re:*bashes head against desk* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861366)

Saying it twice doesn't make it so. I read the paper and while it suggest long standing conclusions about the placebo effect are untrue/overstated/badly concluded, it is far from the end of the discussion. I would be happier if it was true, but this paper flies in the face of decades of other scientific conclusions. i.e., I'm not convinced yet.

Re:*bashes head against desk* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861534)

No such thing as the placebo effect

So one study offsets the thousands of studies done since the late 70s that show a demonstrable placebo effect? Some of these studies show observable reduction [sciencemag.org] of pain-related activity in the spinal cord on an fMRI (For a relatively small subset of the larger work done in the field, see the source citations 37-170 in the Wikipedia placebo article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo [wikipedia.org] )

Even the abstract of the study you cite shows that there are clinically significant effects on pain and nausea.

At last! (3, Insightful)

QuasiRob (134012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31861544)

Thats put those stupid Quacks in their place. Glad it's over, it was distracting me from ridiculing homeopathy. http://www.1023.org.uk/

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31862078)

are the important our ability to ofone single puny list ofU other any parting shot, balance is struck, From one folder on Who sell another posts. Therefore suucesses with the 1. Therefore it's

Ch0m (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31862252)

ne7working te@st.

See a Physiatrist instead. (3, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862394)

For all those considering seeing a Chiropractor, consider seeing a Physiatrist [wikipedia.org] instead. This is a MD specializing in restoring optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues, and nervous system. Quite often they have Chiropractic training (or the equivalent) as well. They know when to stop "cracking the bones" and start doing medicine and have the MD to do so. They also don't seem to want the "maintenance" income - I mean - visits that Chiropractors seem to want...

Personal example. My wife injured her neck hiking. The Chiropractor did one x-ray and wanted to start her on routine (weekly) manipulations to get and keep things "aligned". The Physiatrist did several x-rays, took a complete medical history, did one manipulation and a gave shot of cortisone into the controlling neck muscle and told her she only had to return if she re-injured it. She never needed any further treatment.

Another example. A friend hurt her foot, but was actually dating a Chiropractor. He said he could fix her foot with manipulation and massage. After a week of pain, he took her to his office for an x-ray - that revealed her foot was actually broken.

It's amazing (1)

ComeTheDay (1732424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31862522)

How many irrational/unscientific thinkers there are on slashdot. Chiro is a recent scam from past 100 years or so, completely unlike accupuncture/pressure which also rely on placebo affect (or perhaps not...jury still out). At least accu* has 100s of years of history behind it...not some boozing charlatan who made all his money off of chiro schools and engaged in water dowsing/etc. Go see a massage therapist for less $$ and a better result. Google is your friend on the chiro issue.
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