Consumer Reports and Chiropractic. More Shoddy Reporting

Consumer Reports and Chiropractic. More Shoddy Reporting

A few weeks back I looked at a particularly sloppy bit of consumer reporting on the topic of acupuncture that was about 99% wrong.

This time CR asks Should You Visit a Chiropractor for Back Pain?.

While not quite as awful as the acupuncture article, it is becoming clear that when it come to pseudo-science CR hasn't a clue.

They start with the ever unrelaible appeal to popularity

one of the most popular forms of complementary medicine.

and then move on to whether it works

The founder of modern chiropractic care, a 19th-century Iowan, believed that chiropractic manipulation could cure all manner of maladies. And some chiropractors still offer services for conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure, even though there's no strong evidence that chiropractic treatment helps for those.

No strong evidence? Seriously? Is there any reason on planet reality that asthma, hypertension, or any process would be affected by chiropractic spinal manipulation? None. If one considers the issue of prior plausibility for chiropractic, then any positive study has a high probability of being a false positive.

Not that CR takes any notice of the fact that the underlying basis of chiropractic manipulation is to realign nonexistent subluxations to repair the flow of nonexistent innate intelligence. While they note that osteopathic physicians and physical therapists also perform adjustments, it is not within the context of the fantastical underpinnings of chiropractic. Nor do they mention the complete lack of real medical training of chiropractors

Such gullibility.

Hey, CR: I have a car that runs on water. No reason you should look into the validity of that claim, riiggghhhtttttt?

But most chiropractors focus on skeletal and muscular problems

With a heavy addition of unneeded supplements and equally unneeded diagnostics like spine x-rays, applied kinesiology and more.

They quote a 2011 meta-analysis as showing efficacy but the study really says

There is a high-quality evidence that SMT has a small, significant, but not clinically relevant, short-term effect on pain relief.

Not clinically relevant pain relief.  Good intervention to spend your hard earned money on

and  do not mention the later Cochrane review that states for acute back pain

SMT is no more effective in participants with acute low-back pain than inert interventions, sham SMT, or when added to another intervention. SMT also appears to be no better than other recommended therapies.

Hardly compelling data for any kind of back pain. 

For neck pain? They quote an Annals article suggesting efficacy when the article really says

For participants with acute and subacute neck pain, SMT was more effective than medication in both the short and long term. However, a few instructional sessions of HEA resulted in similar outcomes at most time points.

an outcome duplicated in a Cochrane reviewA few hours of education is certainly less expensive, safer, and will not draw the patient into the wider world of chiropractic pseudo-medicine, 

And migraines? A process above the spine? CR says

Some research also suggests that chiropractic manipulation might work as well as medication for migraine headaches.

Some research? Maybe. But taken in its entirety?

Current evidence does not support the use of spinal manipulations for the treatment for migraine headaches.

But most appallingly for a process that does nothing, the minimize the risk

"It can cause temporary headaches and, rarely, serious problems such as worsening the pain of a slipped disk."

They somehow forgot to mention the probable increase risk for stroke, quite a complication for a fantasy based intervention that at best is equal to safer options and at worst does nothing.

First acupuncture, then chiropractic are reviewed with the shoddiest of research. I wonder what pseudo-medicine CR will get wrong next.

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