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Can Chiropractic Help Everyone?

dad and son kicking footballIn the wonderful world of medical science a main concept running through the last decade has been ‘Evidence Based Care’.

That is to say that to make any claims that a product can achieve results there must be scientific studies, reviewed by other persons who are experts in the area, that clearly show the effectiveness of the treatment in question.

You might have seen the recent Panorama documentary on energy drinks, running shoes and exercise performance supplements. When the claims made by the manufacturers were reviewed by a science team from Oxford University they found no link to the use of the products nor to the claims of better hydration, improved performance or quicker body repair.

So where does chiropractic care fit into this world?

In 2010 the General Chiropractic Council commissioned a research university in the USA to undertake a review of the scientific studies showing the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic care.

The study, known as the Bronfort Report, took into consideration research that was done over the preceding decade and compared chiropractic care to the standard types of care for a large number of conditions.

In general terms chiropractic care performed very well in safety and effectiveness for many things. It is not possible to go into further details here but I was pleased with the outcome of the report.

What is interesting however is that clients continue to describe improvements that are not validated.

If a client comes because of neck pain, back pain or headaches and reports great success we are not surprised. In fact more and more clients are consulting us after extended periods of pain, pain after surgery or just where they have not found help elsewhere.

Why is it that clients report changes that are not proven such as weight loss, reduction in cholesterol levels, improved sleep patterns and other systemic changes?

The scientific studies that are considered are epidemiological, pertaining to a large group of people, not specific to an individual.

For example if we wanted to study the effectiveness of engine oil on the performance of a car we could take all cars in Norwich and change the engine oil; after replacing the oil with a new, improved oil we could assess whether or not on the whole the cars had better performance. We would not be surprised if they performed better.

To get even better results however we might take those same cars and instead of changing the oil we would give them a 50 point automotive check by an experienced mechanic, retuning the engine and looking for problems that the car might have.

We would expect the second test to get even better results than just changing the oil; the individual concerns of each car would be met and any other problems would be addressed.

Comparing chiropractic care to say pain medication is just like this. Simple pain medication varies very little from person to person, whereas chiropractic care differs greatly depending on the needs of the client.

As it impacts the function of the Central Nervous System, the results of properly applied, carefully delivered chiropractic care can be marked. The results for the individual can be greater than that published in the studies, as greater consideration of a person’s condition can be taken into account. Tailored exercises, environmental advice and diet can also be considered.

The scientific studies only compare spinal manipulation at the site of symptoms when analysing the effectiveness of chiropractic care. This does not take into consideration the other benefits and considerations of chiropractic care.

Who do you know who has not had results from the care that they sought, has had failed surgery or symptoms that have continued for longer than 1 month? Why not suggest that they try chiropractic care?

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