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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 8, 1993, Vol. 11, Issue 21
Dynamic Chiropractic
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Dynamic Chiropractic

Chiropractic: A Scientifically-Based Profession

By Chester Wilk, DC

If we were to poll the average person on the street and ask them why they believe the medical profession generally has not accepted chiropractors as partners in health care, we would get a variety of answers.

I suspect that an informed person, one who had personal experience with chiropractic, might suggest that greed and the desire to monopolize the health care field would be the reason. However, I don't believe that would be the most common answer, rather it would be that chiropractic, unlike medicine, is not scientifically-based; that the medical profession is leery of anything not scientifically proven.

This kind of answer demonstrates that the medical propagandists have done a very good job of selling to the public. It makes the medical profession sound altruistic and makes chiropractic sound like a suspect profession to be avoided.

During the trial against the AMA, our attorney would repeatedly advise witnesses that he was going to ask them if they could come up with any evidence that chiropractic doesn't work. Witness after witness could not provide such evidence.

The mentality seemed to be that even if chiropractic seemed to work, until there was proof of why it worked, it would not be accepted as effective.

There is an expression: "Technology precedes science." If something works, you accept the truth and then try to establish why it works. The medical mentality might be compared to a person looking into the sky and saying, "I see the plane flying, but will not accept it can fly until you conclusively and scientifically prove how it can fly." Ignorance cannot justify rejection.

Developments in recent years may now put mud in the face of those critics who would feel justified to boycott chiropractic based on the scientific issue.

In 1992, the British Medical Journal published the editorial, "Where is the Wisdom ... The Poverty of Medical Evidence." As is so often the case, the article was published abroad, even though the author was American Dr. David Eddy, a cardiothoracic surgeon and professor at Duke University.

Dr. Eddy became alarmed when he found the the lack of evidence from studies of any kind to support many of the medical treatments. He found many treatments had been handed down from generation to generation, and where void of any research to support their effectiveness.

One classic example was a treatment used for many years for glaucoma. It is well established that the lack of appropriate treatment for glaucoma can result in blindness. Regardless of such serious consequences, the treatments continued, totally void of any scientific evidence of effectiveness.

He evaluated 21 different areas within the medical field and found that 17 of them had validation ranging from poor to none.


In 1989, the U.S. formed a federal agency to assist in the development and maintenance of national health practice guidelines, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). One of the most respected advisors for this agency is Dr. Eddy. He evaluated 21 different areas within the medical field and found that 17 of them had validation ranging from poor to none. He found that only one percent of the articles in medical journals were scientifically sound, and that 85 percent of medicine had no scientific basis.

Since chiropractic has often been a target of criticism based on its lack of scientific evidence, it has prompted numerous studies: The randomized control trials of the well-known British study provided some outstanding support for the effectiveness of chiropractic. We have fine prospective studies: such as the ones done in Canada by Drs. David Cassidy and Kirkaldy-Willis. We have some observational studies: such as the workers' compensation studies form Oregon, California, and Utah. If fact, we can now honestly claim that chiropractic has more of a scientific basis for what it does than does medicine; this is not chiropractic propaganda.

There is another fact that demonstrates the disingenuous attitude of the medical propagandists. If they don't want to associate with any professional that is not scientific, then why does the medical profession associate with psychiatrists? Psychiatrists are unscientific, yet the medics associate with them. The answer is obvious: they are fellow MDs and part of the same club, the good ol' boys.

I think it is high time the world knew the truth. Unfortunately, until the world knows that chiropractic is more scientifically based than medicine, within its realm of therapy, the public will continue hanging on to an institutionalized falsehood.

Now that we have the more scientifically-based profession, I'm sure that most of us will still wish to associate with the MDs in spite of their shortcomings, because it's still in the best interests of the public to do so.

Chester Wilk, DC
Chicago, Illinois


Click here for previous articles by Chester Wilk, DC.

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