Attadale Chiropractic > News & Views > Hold On!! > Hold on! Evidence Based Scientific Medicine, Non-scientific Chiropractic?

Hold on! Evidence Based Scientific Medicine, Non-scientific Chiropractic?

One of the claims against chiropractic is that it is not evidence based.  This wild claim is demonstrably wrong, and inconsistent with the facts.

The concepts of chiropractic are based on the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology, and the neurosciences.  Some of this evidence has been from chiropractic researchers but other is derived from medical scientists and their published papers.  The successful clinical outcomes of chiropractic health care are further evidence justifying its amazing acceptance by patients. Put simply, if it didn’t work it would not exist.

Both medicine and chiropractic are based on theories known as hypotheses.  It has been claimed that the scientific evidence base for medical care stands at about 15-20%.1,2    Such a figure hardly justifies the pot calling the kettle black.  The hypocrisy is blatant.

Perhaps the most profound of the medical researchers is that of the neuroscientists Sato and colleagues in Japan.3

Another medical text which seems to support the chiropractic concepts was published by four orthopaedic specialists.  Its title “The Essentials of Body Mechanics” conveys the apparent theme.  It was first published in 1934 and underwent five editions.4  But this was not the only opportunity medicine had to develop the model of care now provided by chiropractors.  Over many decades there have been references to the importance of spinal care, although it has never been taken seriously by medicine.

There is exciting research currently being conducted by chiropractors.  Some of this is carried out in medical research facilities, at universities, and sometimes in collaboration with medically qualified personnel.

In a strange contradiction, critics of chiropractic seem to overlook the fact that there are a number of medical textbooks published on spinal manipulation.  These publications claim and advocate the very same principles as chiropractors.  Even more inconsistent is the fact that there are numerous medical papers published on the same topics.  Admittedly these are primarily European based medical doctors who have published, but their papers are listed on the official medical index PubMed.  It is the English speaking medics who seem to oppose chiropractic - for political reasons rather than scientific ones.5 

Pikalov, a Russian medical doctor, has stated that “recognition of manual therapy (manipulation) in Russia started about 30 years ago.”  That would have been about 1965.  There are now 6 institutes teaching such methods in Russia. 6

 It has been claimed that the AMA (U.S.) has “conducted a nearly 150-year war against alternative medicine..,.” and that this was based on “more selfish and cynical motivations…” that “included protecting the financial interests of orthodox practitioners…”  Wolinsky and Brune also claim that the AMA and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association often “joined forces to lobby congress:”  They opine further, that although the AMA (U.S) “despised osteopathy, homeopathy and other unconventional practices, it saved its strongest venom for chiropractic.”  It could seem then, that there may be ulterior reasons behind questionable claims against chiropractic premises.7

Any claimed lack of scientific evidence does not seem to have stopped numerous medical doctors attending chiropractors over the years, to seek relief from their health problem.

I am sure the chiropractic profession would welcome well-constructed comparative research on the patient outcomes for a variety of functional disorders.  After all it is the results and patient satisfaction that counts.

Research into definitive answers as to how chiropractic spinal care is so successful with spine-related disorders, continues. 

If critics would bother to read the readily available evidence, their comments would likely lose validity


I ask our patients to let me know of any errors in the foregoing.   The “Hold On” series of articles debunk some red herrings. Please read and network them.

Michael McKibbin DC



1. Kumar S, Nash DB.  Health Care Myth Busters: Is There a High Degree of Scientific Certainty in Modern Medicine? Two doctors take on the health care system in a new book that aims to arm people with information. Scientific American 2011;28: March 25.

2. Smith R. Where is the wisdom...? The poverty of medical evidency. Editorial. British Medical J 1991;303(Oct 5):798-799.

3. Sato A, Sato Y, Schmidt RF. The impact of somatosensory input on autonomic functions.  In: Reviews of Physiology Biochemistry and Pharmacology. Blaustein MP, Grunicke H, Pette D, Schults G, et al. eds. Berlin Springer-Verlag 1997;130.

4. Goldthwait JE, Brown LT, Swaim LT, Kuhns JG.  Essentials of body mechanics in health and disease., 5th edn. Philadelphia: Lippincott; 1952.

5. Weiant CW, Goldschmidt S. Medicine and chiropractic. New York; Self Published; 1966.

6. Pikalov A. Spinal manipulative therapy – Russian approach.  Kansas City: Cleveland Chiropractic College; 1995.

7. Wolinsky H, Brune T. The serpent on the staff: The unhealthy politics of the American Medical Association. New York: GP Putnam’s Sons;1994.






Your Chiropractor

Michael McKibbin passed his Iowa Basic Science and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa.

Since then both wonderful staff and patients have contributed toward decades of valued experience in his family practice.


October 2010
This is the October 2010 newsletter.

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