Surveys Show Chiropractic Quackery Still Widespread

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Surveys by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners indicate that the majority of chiropractors are providing services that are unsubstantiated and lack a scientifically plausible rationale. The published reports are based on responses from nationwide samples of chiropractors who stated that they were in full-time practice. The surveys included questions about about the conditions treated and the extent to which the responders used various procedures. The table below indicates the responses that I believe were significant.

 
1991
1998
2003
2009 2014
Number who responded 4,835 3,177 2,574 2,371 1,379
Approaches that use unsubstantiated diagnostic methods to check for "subluxations":          

Activator methods

51.2%
62.8%
69.9%
no data no data

Cranial technique

27.2%
37.3%
38.0%
no data no data

Gonstead

54.8% 55.9% 61.3% no data no data

Meric system

23.4%
19.9%
15.1%
no data no data

Logan Basic

30.6% 28.7% 26.0% no data no data

Palmer upper cervical

28.8%
25.7%
25.7%
no data no data

Pierce-Stillwagon technique

19.7%`
17.1%
15.4%
no data no data

Sacral occipital technique (SOT)

41.3%
49.0%
49.6%
no data no data

Thompson

43.0% 55.9% 61.3% no data no data
Acupressure or meridian therapy
65.5%
66.1%
58.2%
58.2% 41.1%
Acupuncture with needles 11.8% 10.8% 13.6% 13.0% 13.0%

Applied kinesiology

37.2%
43.2%
37.6%
no data no data
Homeopathic remedies
36.9%
53.1%
46.4%
38.6% 38.6%

Nutrition:

         

Counseling, therapy, or supplements

83.5% 90.4% 89.0% no data no data

Nutritional/dietary recommendations

no data no data 97.7% 94.4% 97.0%

References

  1. Christenson MG, Morgan DRD. Job Analysis of Chiropractic: A Report, Survey Analysis, and Summary of the Practice of Chiropractic within the United States. Greeley, CO: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 1993.
  2. Christenson MG and others. Job Analysis of Chiropractic: A Project Report, Survey Analysis, and Summary of the Practice of Chiropractic within the United States. Greeley, CO: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 2000.
  3. Christenson MG and others. Job Analysis of Chiropractic: A Project Report, Survey Analysis, and Summary of the Practice of Chiropractic within the United States. Greeley, CO: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 2005.
  4. Christenson MG and others. Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2010. Greeley, CO: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 2010.
  5. Christenson MG and others. Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2015. Greeley, CO: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 2015.

This article was posted on August 14, 2019.

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