Chiropractic: Those lingering colic claims..

Posted on August 24, 2010

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Given the amount of bad publicity the UK chiropractic profession has been through in the past couple of years and continues to bring upon itself, you would think most of them would have taken the hint to remove claims for conditions like colic & asthma from their websites.

There was the very public, very costly and very humiliating climb down by the BCA who tried to sue Simon Singh for libel. There was a record number of complaints submitted to the GCC on treatment claims for colic and many other non-musculoskeletal conditions. As if that wasn’t enough a GCC commissioned report confirmed what many already believed, there is no reliable evidence to support these claims.

The GCC then issued a copy of this report along with some clear guidance on advertising to every registered chiropractor in the UK.  The various chiropractic associations sent guidance out to their members, even the BCA.

On 16 March 2010 the BCA told me they were taking steps to ensure their members complied with the guidance:

The BCA has produced condition specific guidance which was issued to our members on 10 March 2010 in relation to the findings of the Bronfort Study and considerable effort is being expended to assisting members with compliance, but as I am sure you will understand, this will take a little time.

How strange then that over 5 months since this guidance was issued there are still chiropractors who continue to make these unsubstantiated claims.

A simple google search soon turned up a number of websites still making these claims. A total of 32 individual chiropractors (26 websites) were still making clear, unambiguous claims to treat colic and other conditions for which there is no evidence.

There are some defenders of chiropractic who are very vocal in criticising the GCC and would like to place the blame for the lamentable state of chiropractic on the GCC and the BCA.  However the problem is the chiropractors themselves and it is spread  across the whole profession.

Whilst at least 7 of these chiropractors are BCA members they are by no means alone.  These chiropractors are spread across the UK, from Scotland and Northern Ireland down through England, Wales and South towards Plymouth and even on to the Channel Islands.  Judging by the info on their websites there are members from all the different chiropractic associations and attended a range of training establishments (AECC, McTimoney etc).

Regardless on their location or background there are a number of things they all have in common:

  • The all call themselves chiropractors.
  • They are all registered with the GCC.
  • Their websites refer to ‘latest research’ or claim to be ‘evidence based’.
  • They have all chosen to ignore both the evidence and the guidance.
  • They are all now the subject of a complaint letter sent to the GCC yesterday!

All of these websites claim that chiropractic is beneficial in the treatment of colic, some go much further and include conditions ranging from asthma, feeding problems, glue ear and one (BCA member) even says she can treat:

• Infant dislikes lying on their back – also does not like head being touched or stroked (hates wearing hats!)

Hates wearing hats! Is this person serious, do they honestly believe, or have any evidence to show, that manipulating an infants spine will make them want to keep a hat on.

The chiropractic profession in the UK is in a mess with infighting between the various associations, many are openly critical of the GCC, yet it is the chiropractors themselves who are the ones making unsubstantiated and in some cases outlandish claims.

How can anybody take them seriously!

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Posted in: Chiropractic