Here’s the latest attack by yet another yellow journalist/blogger with an inflated ego, an ax to grind, money to make, and a not so subtle title:
“Chiropractors are Bullshit”
By Yvette d’Entremont
Obviously this is not an average person delving into the issues of spine care or chiropractic, but a professional with a mean-spirit. This is a blog bitch whose goal is to inflame public opinion against chiropractors based on spurious events or anecdotal incidents. For whatever reasons, her blog is another slap on the face of our profession.
Here are excerpts from her June 22, 2017 article:
The first time I dealt with a chiropractor was in 1999 at a mall kiosk, which seemed like an odd place to encounter a medical professional. I was a teenager working a few storefronts down selling butterfly clips, and I made the mistake of looking at one of the kiosk’s spinal models. The chiropractor on duty promptly came over to let me know how he could fix all my health ailments. Back issues! Period pain! Even weight loss! Whatever was ailing me, this chiropractor was on it.
You shouldn’t trust them with your spine or any other part of your body.
Chiropractic care, I’m sorry to say, is little more than the buffoonery of a 19th-century lunatic who derived most of his medical theory from séances. It has not evolved much since its creation. Chiropractic beliefs are dangerously far removed from mainstream medicine, and the vocation’s practices have been linked to strokes, herniated discs, and even death. Chiropractors can’t replace your doctor, and I’m amazed that they’re still even allowed to practice. You shouldn’t trust them with your spine or any other part of your body, and here’s why.
It all started with a séance…
Though some chiropractors are now making an effort to introduce evidence-based practices into their treatment, chiropractic as a whole hasn’t evolved like other areas of medicine — with hypotheses, experimentation, and peer review. Instead, it was birthed by a strange combination of hocus pocus, guesswork, and strongly held religious beliefs. I’m not being hyperbolic when I cite hocus pocus. Palmer held séances to contact a dead physician named Jim Atkinson, and said that those séances helped him develop chiropractic. As he wrote in his 1914 book The Chiropractor:
“The knowledge and philosophy given me by Dr. Jim Atkinson, an intelligent spiritual being, together with explanations of phenomena, principles resolved from causes, effects, powers, laws and utility, appealed to my reason. The method by which I obtained an explanation of certain physical phenomena, from an intelligence in the spiritual world, is known in biblical language as inspiration. In a great measure The Chiropractor’s Adjuster was written under such spiritual promptings.”
Will a backrub save your life?
In the past, some chiropractors have made cagey statements about whether vertebral subluxations can be seen via x-ray; in the 1970s, Stephen Barrett, the founder of Quackwatch, contacted the Palmer School of Chiropractic to see some of its teaching files on the subject. The school replied: “Chiropractors do not make the claim to be able to read a specific subluxation from an x-ray film. [They] can read spinal distortion, which indicates the possible presence of a subluxation and can confirm the actual presence of a subluxation by other physical findings.” Ohh-kay. But according to Barrett, the chiropractic community in 1972 met to determine what a subluxation was so they could receive Medicare payments. The resulting document “described the supposed x-ray manifestations of 18 types of ‘subluxations’”… some of which were “fancy names for the minor degenerative changes that occur as people age.” An actual joint subluxation, however, can be seen on an x-ray and the appropriate treatment generally involves a physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon, not fancy back cracking.
The medical community disavows chiropractic
The American Chiropractic Association has long claimed that the American Medical Association discriminates against chiropractors by limiting “patient access to care by chiropractic physicians and all other duly licensed non-M.D.” But the AMA is not being discriminatory here — they are acting in the interest of their patients. Medical doctors often refer patients to the proper experts, and outside of a narrow scope of experts, this rarely includes someone who is a “duly-licensed non-M.D.,” because that person’s views on medicine would not be aligned with their standards of care. A doctor is not a doctor is not a doctor.
Chiropractic “celebrities” are here to scam you
Nothing has been better for the doctors who want to spread the word of chiropractic and separate you from your money than social media. On Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and maybe even Tinder, these friendly and blandly attractive chiropractors dole out health advice that appeals to people who tend to trust the medical professional with the appearance of being smart. Those loyal to their chiropractors might say that the practitioners who rule the social media landscape are a misrepresentation of the field, but when it comes down to it, there’s no difference between a chiropractor who peddles pseudoscience on Facebook and one who works in an office — they’re both accredited as doctors of chiropractic.
Do not let a chiropractor near your child
Some chiropractors may claim to have a gentle touch with children, but that doesn’t mean what they’re doing isn’t dangerous. There are well-documented case studies of children being severely injured by chiropractic. Though injury rate is difficult to determine, when they do happen they seem to be severe, including subarachnoidal hemorrhage and paraplegia. Chiropractors can also cause damage by being used for primary care or emergency medical needs, as their training is not appropriate for such care. In 2014, the woman behind the blog Modern Alternative Health (one of my favorite pseudoscience enthusiasts) took her toddler to a chiropractor after noticing that he wouldn’t crawl on one of his arms. The chiropractor somehow missed that her son’s arm was broken, and the injury was not detected until many days later when they visited an emergency room.
They warn you about the risks of everything… except chiropractic
Hemorrhages, spinal fractures, and paraplegia, oh my!
Oh, you thought your chiropractor could fix those things? No, they’ve been known to cause them.
I’m sure some of you are thinking “but my chiropractor has never claimed they can fix my liver by poking my spine, all he does is make my back feel less like Nickelback is caterwauling between C2 and C3.” And it’s true, perhaps, there are some chiros who just treat spinal issues. However, that does not change anything about their training or abilities, or the (lack of) science behind their work.
My back hurts. What the fuck am I supposed to do?
In 2017, if a man claimed that he fixed someone’s hearing by cracking their back and then dreamed up an entire field of medicine by conducting séances, he would either be laughed out of the medical community or get his own reality show. Chiropractic is simply not real medicine. A June 2003 review study in the Annals of Internal Medicine — the type of study that compiles the evidence from multiple studies — showed that massage is more effective at relieving pain than chiropractic. Science says that if your back is ailing, get a massage and go to a physical therapist. Unlike chiropractic, physical therapy will address the underlying soft tissue issues that cause pain. I get it, you’re going to occasionally hear a friend say that chiropractic helped him de-clutter his alcove or do 87 sun salutations… but that’s an anecdote, and data is more important, and trustworthy than anecdotes. The data on chiropractic supports that the practice is nothing more than a collection of broken promises and fake medicine.
Now that you’re awake and probably steaming with anger and frustration, let’s take a look at this blog bitch.
Before I address this “foul-mouthed ‘cheeky’ blogger”, Yvette d’Entremont (About SciBabe), let’s see who we’re dealing with before jumping to any conclusion she’s a credible critic. In fact, she’s just a blog bitch with an ulterior motive and money to make.
I’ve lifted a few excerpts from www.WikiTruth.org to reveal this medical troll:
“Yvette d’Entremont, the self-proclaimed ‘Sci-Babe’, is not really worthy of an entire WikiTruth page but health enthusiasts need be sure they are not falling for her publicity stunts and dirty jokes, in her efforts to get people “laughing”…
“Here she acts as if she cares about consumers, while promoting cigarettes, alcohol and diet Coke in her images posted all over the internet.
“She’s basically someone with a couple science degrees who likes to drink, smoke cigarettes, and blast clean food and clean medicine. This is an amateur blogger with a chemical industry agenda to promote dirty food and dirty medicine. It must be why she feels the need to add dirty jokes to the conversations on her social media network…
“She wants to be a ‘skeptical superhero’ and go around ‘busting pseudoscience’ with her Bachelor’s degree in theatre (and chemistry). Describing herself as ‘scientist as drinking buddy’ leaves much credibility to be desired for any advice she may wield from her chemistry background.
“This foul-mouthed ‘cheeky’ blogger goes after anyone that challenges the safety and sustainability of GMO, or the safety and ineffectiveness of vaccines… [or chiropractic care].
“All of this and she smokes cigarettes and is at least 30 to 40 pounds overweight. She says she tried vegan for two years and couldn’t make her headaches go away–the headache she says she’s had since the year 2010. Maybe it’s the 7,000 chemicals in the cigarettes she smokes AND the boatloads of aspartame in the Diet Coke. She says she’s on a ‘seizure medication and an anti-inflammatory that seems to keep it under control…’ Sure. Try vegan and organic while smoking cigarettes and drinking diet cola and wonder why nothing seems to work to get rid of those headaches, but still she believes in science-based medicine, which also isn’t working for her.”
You might also question her better senses with her article, Diet Coke is not killing you, to give you a clue why she is so wicked—too much junk phood!
The SciBabe’s real goal is to earn money as a blogger, so she’s quite willing to seduce readers with salacious comments, sexy content, and inflammatory remarks to attract attention hoping her viewers will click on the ads on her website.
As WikiTruth said, she wants to be a “skeptical superhero” and go around “busting pseudoscience,” but her real goal is to make money and one of the most common ways bloggers make money is through placing ads on their site.
There are two popular types of ads: Cost Per Click and Pay Per Click Ads are usually banners in the content or sidebar. Each time a reader clicks on the ad, she is paid for that click. Obviously the more attention she creates with her nasty talk, the greater likelihood she gains clicks.
Like other naysayers, her agenda is to defame chiropractic with titillating comments to stir the pot of controversy. We witnessed this with two previous attacks by Steven Salzberg at Forbes who uses the same mantra, “fighting pseudoscience,” with his scandalous articles defaming chiropractic education. In the ensuing verbal fight online, the madder chiros got and responded, the more money he made.
Ms. Ramin, who I discussed in Poisoned Pen, and The SciBabe pose as consumer advocates parroting the fake news and hate speech of Science-Based Medicine, an alt-right group of medical trolls such as the infamous Stephen Barrett who they both quoted.
To give you a flavor of these biased bloggers, here are a few articles by David Gorski, editor of the Science-Based Medicine medical blog:
As quackery in the form of “integrative medicine” has increasingly been “integrated” into medicine, medical journals are starting to notice and succumb to the temptation to decrease their skepticism. The BMJ, unfortunately, is the latest to do so. It won’t be the last.
Chiropractors and acupuncturists have lobbied for a greater role in treating pain. They might well have won it. Last week, the FDA released proposed changes Wednesday to its blueprint on educating health care providers about treating pain, which now recommend that doctors learn about chiropractic care and acupuncture as therapies that might help patients avoid opioids. There’s still time to stop this.
A recent article in Popular Science argues that medicine has a bias against acupuncture, holding it to a higher standard of evidence than conventional medical interventions. Even if there is a double standard, the answer is not to recommend acupuncture, but rather to stop recommending medical procedures that don’t work.
Dr. Gorski is onto something important when he wrote, “to stop recommending medical procedures that don’t work.”
Again, let’s review the incriminating articles in the British Medical Journal that he somehow overlooked.
The Washington Post revealed, “Surprise! We Don’t Know If Half Our Medical Treatments Work,” which reported on an editorial in the British Medical Journal titled, “Nuts, Bolts, and Tiny Little Screws: How Clinical Evidence Works.”
Not surprising, Dr. Gorski and his Science-Based Medicine members have yet to comment on the BMJ revelation that two-thirds of the 3,000 medical treatments reviewed by the BMJ editors were found to be ineffective, unproven or too dangerous to use.
Clinical Evidence selects around 3000 treatments that have been evaluated in research for analysis and divides their effectiveness for specific indications into categories. The results were striking. Only about a third of the treatments were shown to be beneficial (11%) or likely to be beneficial (23%). Another 7% were rated as trade-offs between benefits and harms, with 6% rated unlikely to be beneficial and another 3% rated likely to be ineffective or harmful.
The authors at Clinical Evidence rated the remaining 50% of medical treatments as being of unknown effectiveness. The challenge that evidence ratings like these pose for clinicians is not new.
Nor have the curmudgeons at SBM discussed the allegations that medical care is the third-leading cause of death in the US. A 2016 article in the British Medical Journal revealed the overall danger of medical care in an editorial, “Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the U.S.”
Dr. Gorski also ignored other BMJ articles about chiropractic care:
BMJ 2017; 357: j1843 (Published 12 Apr 2017)
This Week In The BMJ
BMJ 2004; 329: 0-c (Published 09 Dec 2004)
· Primary Care
Just as we witnessed with author Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, The SciBabe and Dr. Gorski turned a blind eye to the litany of new studies, patient surveys, and guidelines in support of chiropractic care:
The updated American College of Physicians guidelines for treating nonradicular low back pain with nondrug, nonsurgical conservative care were published on Feb. 14, 2017, in the Annals of Internal Medicine:
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends in an evidence-based clinical practice guideline published in Annals of Internal Medicine that physicians and patients should treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation.
A similar JAMA study appeared on April 11, 2017, Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, also recommending SMT before medical spine care.
Findings: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 26 randomized clinical trials, spinal manipulative therapy was associated with statistically significant benefits in both pain and function, of on average modest magnitude, at up to 6 weeks.
Consumer Reports published two positive articles soon after the ACP and JAMA guidelines were released:
Stop Back Pain Without Drugs by Sally Wadyka, Consumer Reports, February 14, 2017.
For the first time, the American College of Physicians is advising treating back pain with nondrug measures like tai chi, yoga, chiropractic, and massage before resorting to over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers.
Spinal Manipulation Can Ease Your Aching Back by Teresa Carr, Consumer Reports, April 11, 2017.
A new analysis finds that the hands-on technique works as well as pain drugs and is safer, too.
When you wrench your back, your first impulse may be to rummage through the medicine cabinet for an over-the-counter pain drug or even ask your doctor to prescribe a strong opioid painkiller such as Percocet or Vicodin. But an analysis published April 11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that spinal manipulation can ease your backache and get you moving again without the risk of medication side effects.
Even the almighty Joint Commission promoted chiropractors from the ranks of the medical zombies (recall the Joint led the boycott of DCs leading to the Wilk v. AMA trial) with its Revisions to pain management effective January 1, 2015:
Both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic strategies have a role in the management of pain. The following examples are not exhaustive, but strategies may include the following:
Nonpharmacologic strategies: physical modalities (for example, acupuncture therapy, chiropractic therapy, osteopathic manipulative treatment, massage therapy, and physical therapy), relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
In its attempt to reign in the opioid crisis caused by primary care physicians and pharmacists, the Food and Drug Administration in May, 2017, issued its FDA Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain that included “Complementary therapies – e.g., acupuncture, chiropractic”:
The FDA released its blueprint on educating health care providers about treating pain suggesting they “should be knowledgeable about the range of available therapies, when they may be helpful, and when they should be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to pain management.”
The North American Spine Society (NASS) has released its own guidelines over the past decade supportive of chiropractic care:
In 2007, the NASS published Diagnosis and Treatment of Degenerative Lumbar Spinal Stenosis that found 75% of patients graded themselves as improved under chiropractic care:
This study provides Level IV therapeutic data suggesting that distraction manipulation and neural mobilization may be beneficial in the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis.
In 2010, the NASS released Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain recommending spinal manipulation—5 to 10 sessions over 2 to 4 weeks—should be considered before surgery.
In 2012, the NASS also published Clinical Guidelines for Multidisciplinary Spine Care Diagnosis and Treatment of Lumbar Disc Herniation with Radiculopathy that found “patients with lumbar radiculopathy due to lumbar disc herniation, 60% will benefit from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they undergo surgical intervention. For the 40% that are unsatisfied, surgery provides an excellent outcome.”
This latest attack begs the question:
Will there be a push-back by our organizations and spokespeople or should we just ignore her? More problematic is some of her readers will believe her and never go to a chiropractor’s office.
Until we have a voice in the media, we will continue to be attacked by ill-informed naysayers and medical trolls. Just as the Jewish Defamation League and the NAACP respond to attacks on their group and corporations have spokesmen to defend their brand names, where is our champion who the media seeks for clarification?
Print ads and WOC testimonials will not overcome the decades of medical misinformation people have heard. I believe it will take an army of well-informed DCs to educate the public about the medical defamation of chiropractic.
Just as people understand the history, events, and people involved in civil rights, the same people do not understand our history—they simply don’t know our backstory of events, people and issues—to understand why they think the way they do about our profession.
Indeed, how would you respond to these attacks when your patients ask? What did you tell them about the Katie May accident, the Witch Hunt Down Under, or the anti-vaccine movement unfairly criticized recently by comedian John Oliver?
Perhaps now you see why I began my website, Chiropractors for Fair Journalism.com, to discuss the backstory on these issues. Until we get the public and the media up the learning curve, they will never reach the tipping point to create a new attitude about our profession.
Consequently, we will be subjected to chirophobic people like the Blog Bitch, Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, trolls at SBM, or whichever new bigot surfaces to take a cheap shot at our profession.
So what are you doing to help solve this problem? Any ideas?