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This alternative medicine related article has been awarded SILVER status for quality. We like it, and you should too! See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Editorial notes
  • Needs a few more citations in the chiropractic theory section

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Praxy, innit?[edit]

Isn't the noun form of "chiropractic" "chiropraxy"...? Sake Fueled (talk) 21:14, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

It is actually "chiropractic". I know it sounds like an adjective, as if the full thing is "chiropractic medicine", but that's the actual noun. "Chiropractry" or anything like that isn't an actual word, even though it sounds like that's what it should be. ADK...I'll construct your copy-paste! 21:26, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

Much as it pains me (in the lower back) to say anything good about woo the recent study linked by BoN does show that chiropractic therepy can have better outcomes. If we're not to be accused of being biased then we have to be fair. Bad Faith (talk) 09:20, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Wish we had more than the abstract. Anybody wanna fork it over so we can look at this study? It seems completely legit, but the thing about conventional treatments being less successful than nothing or chiropractic is shocking, to say the least.--User:Brxbrx/sig 09:27, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
For non-specific lower back pain, it works. This isn't disputed too much in the skeptical arena. That's not to say that it cures cancer or that subluxwhatevers are real, and it may be that just cracking your spine gives a nice strong placebo effect. And the outcomes aren't so superior. ADK...I'll erect your bevel! 09:41, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't have access to the full paper. But the main drawbacks are clear; it's 1 year study, it's not randomized, it uses workers compensation claims rather than any medical diagnosis, the selection routines aren't reported. In fact, there's very little data in that abstract to make an assessment of how good the conclusions are. ADK...I'll eat your can opener! 09:49, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't suppose that you, with a job and all, could procure it and share? Of course you don't have to, and I'm pushing it by asking you to spend money. But this really startled me.--User:Brxbrx/sig 13:54, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I have the study. E-mail me and I'll pass it along. B♭maj7 (talk) Member of the Kara Duhe fan club since 2010 14:04, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I can think of a number or reasons why this report would be true but two stand out:
  • Firstly I would imagine that any chiropractor would have to be a reasonably skilled masseuse as opposed to the average overworked GP who would probably do little more than prescribe pain killers - which also explains the way that the GP has similar outcomes to no action. A more realistic test would be to measure the outcomes of chiropractic therapy against other massage based therapies.
  • Secondly there's the factor that patients who are 'coddled' do better than those who aren't. Along these lines my father, a professor of Medical Statistics, had no issues with my mother going for aroma therapy when she was dying of cancer - as long as it didn't replace the standard treatments. As he put it "Mum goes and feels nice with lots or nice smellies and that does her good." Similarly being coddled by a chiropractor probably improves the outcome - as long as the patient believes it's doing them good.
So, I am not shocked or particularly surprised. What the report doesn't say is that the theory behind chiropractic therapy is valid. Bad Faith (talk) 14:09, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
My understanding is that there are really two "kinds" of Chiropractic. The original fruitloopery and something more effective for some kinds of back pain which grew out of that. But that the line between them isn't as clear as it might be. I've got no sources for this - just what I've heard at various times.
Also the fact that we don't fully understand the basis for something doesn't mean that it won't "work" at some level. For instance the basis for some aesthetics wasn't initially understood - they were used because they worked. Of course "we don't know why this works" isn't the same as saying "this obvious fruitloopery is therefore true".--BobSpring is sprung! 21:38, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
What Bob said. Though the effect even in this effective "legitimate" form of chiropractic could be a form of placebo in that cracking your back just tends to feel good, so as a form of physical therapy could actually just make you feel much better rather than producing any long term effect. As I said above, this study under question looked at compensation claims as a measure of disability and only looked at it for a year. This would assess short term benefits about how people feel, but it doesn't assess long-term actual medical benefit - it's effectively self-report data, although a clever way of getting around some of the drawbacks of self-report data. It may well be the case that people under constant physical care of a chiropractor will be willing to go through more pain at work because of their treatment rather than call it quits and claim disability. And I'd wager this is the actual main mechanism rather than that spinal manipulation cures back pain, never mind the magic side being right. This is emphatically not the same as saying "those who had chiropractic treatment are less likely to become disabled". ADK...I'll mollify your operating system! 12:35, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

DrMarkViner - most recent edit as of this post.[edit]

I've made these revisions as you can compare using history function based on my own knowledge, anecdotes of interactions with chiros, being a psychiatrist myself, and finding studies. This is the citation which failed for some reason - the link to the study. I'm open to comments on the revisions and changes I just made to this article. I expect it to be changed soon, but there's the citation if you can use it for me. I decided it should not be written in such an offensive manner...there's a difference between "rational" encyclopedic writing and the kind of stuff you find written by 8channers on Encyclopedia Dramatica.... (talk) 22:54, 24 January 2016 (UTC)Dr. Mark William Viner - Board Certified Psychiatrist Sparks Nevada

I have undone your edit. Claims of conversations with "doctors of chiropractic" and other such personal anecdotes doesn't engender much confidence in the changes you've made. Not that there's any such thing as a "doctor of chiropractic" anyways.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
It is the duty of this website to call pseudoscience pseudoscience. Also nice "I thought this was a rational wiki!" --Aile Dhoo (talk) 08:04, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Some sources[edit]

Here's an article that correctly says that chiropractic sessions lack the medical instruments of standard medical fields. This as a result makes performing studies difficult. The article cites three studies as "proof" that cracking bones is beneficial, but if you actually read th last study,it claims it's difficult to draw a conclusion given the diverse results and that chiropractic may be better than medicine, not is. The first study is from a journal and the second is from the same source as the third. Let's analyze other articles that claim that chiropractics are legit.—CheeseburgerPlate Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 22:29, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

Good, and important work. I think highlighting methodological issues such as these is much more important to our readers than simply barraging them with studies that show X effect. It's important that people realize why it can be particularly hard to test semi-unfalsifiable altmed claims in studies sometimes. With everything from biases (e.g. lack of blinding), the placebo effect, the lack of a proposed mechanism (that isn't woo) and statistical tricks like p-value fishing and cherry picking, it's a situation particularly ripe for those who would wish to dig around and selectively report on single studies with positive findings on chiro. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:42, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Oh Christ, are y'all this brainwashed?[edit]

Chiropractics makes two claims. One - that having a properly aligned spine will make you healthier. Your body will move the way it's supposed to - avoiding aches and pains, and your nervous system will operate better since a neutral spine allows maximum delivery of nerve information. Two - that they can make subtle adjustments to your spine (if it's misaligned) to move it back into proper alignment. They know where you are out of alignment by doing strength tests with your arms and legs. They don't know how you are out of alignment without an X-ray. What they do is push the vertebrae either back into place, or push it harder out of place - causing it to spring back into place. They don't know which will work or which did work without an X-ray, but they can try both fix the misalignment. These adjustments do not last forever because the reason a person is misaligned is either because they are out of balance/have a bad habit (bad lifting of boxes/incorrect gait) or were injured, which both cause the misalignment to return. The Chiropractor can advise exercises to strengthen surrounding muscles to avoid future misalignment.

What about this is pseudoscience? Which part do you object to? (talk) 21:10, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

No one doubts that having a properly aligned spine makes one healthier. It's the wide-ranging specific and unproven claims for health improvement that chiropractic make that are cause for concern. Furthermore, chiropractic theory is based on a theory without evidence: subluxation. Why not just see a massage therapist, pilates instructor or physical therapist? One doesn't have the risk of stroke that way, and one isn't exposed to quack therapies. Bongolian (talk) 21:25, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Double blinded, sham-controlled studies or GTFO. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 21:32, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm just trying to find where there's disagreement so we can argue a sensible point. Is it that you think the spine can't be misaligned? Or that you don't think chiropractors can fix a misalignment (though you think a massage therapists or pilates instructors could?)? Or something else? (talk) 22:00, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Here's an article that might preempt some objections. But still - I'm curious as to what your specific disagreement is with chiropractics' two claims as presented above. (talk) 22:15, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Not one link in that supports your specific claims, you goddamn ass. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 14:21, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

Why pseudoscience?[edit]

Isn't chiropractor simply a medical doctor who helps fix out of place bones? — Unsigned, by: 2600:1:f1a6:119b:c11c:2ee7:6180:4dd5 / talk / contribs

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you.--Cosmikdebris (talk) 17:36, 13 May 2019 (UTC)


The practice is not considered quackery in all nations. Medical Doctors in Canada do refer persons to Chiros. It seems to be more or less 'quackery' in the United States of America. Last comment 2011? ... jeez Fehmgericht (talk) 21:04, 12 January 2022 (UTC) Sunbat (talk) 18:11, 16 January 2023 (UTC) OK, I am a little bit concerned. My father frequently goes to a chiropractor for his lower back pain & herniated disc. If all of that stuff in the article is true, is he at risk of further injury or death at the hands of a quack? (Also, I apologize. I am new to RW and this is the first edit/talk I've ever done here. If I am doing anything wrong please tell me)-Sunbat Sunbat (talk) 12:09, 16 January 2023 (UTC)