Chiropractic is scientific!


Some medical professionals, and even some patients, argue against the benefits of chiropractic care because they falsely accuse the chiropractic profession of being “unscientific.” Chiropractic deals with the functioning of the nervous system, the major controller of all processes in the body. Through thorough examination, evaluation, and notation of the progress made within the nervous system, chiropractors are able to demonstrate the efficacy and science of chiropractic. Through their past experience with similar situations, the chiropractor applies the intervention he/she has already seen to benefit such a condition. By observing physical and neurologic changes in patients, chiropractors adapt their care to the needs and desires of the patient.

Science is defined as “the systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms.” Based upon this definition, no one can deny that chiropractic is scientific. Don’t let the simplicity of the intervention, ie. the chiropractic adjustment, fool you into thinking that chiropractic is not scientific. Chiropractic is rooted in the study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, and the ease and proficiency with with chiropractic benefits people should be seen as a strength, not a weakness.

Some critics label chiropractors as being “unscientific” because they lack sufficient research to substantiate their claims of its healing benefits. It is true that there are significantly more double-blinded research studies concerning medicine in comparison to chiropractic care; however, much of this discrepancy is due to a lack of funding. Unfortunately, the chiropractic profession is not privileged to the same research funding as the medical profession; thus, there is less published research on the benefits of chiropractic.

However, in recent years, the government has slowly begun to realize that regular chiropractic care is a feasible means of reducing our countries skyrocketing healthcare costs. With this in mind, the government has granted approximately $4 million to fund chiropractic-based studies. This $4 million is pennies in the bucket to the medical and pharmaceutical companies, but to the chiropractic profession, it is a means of validating through scientific research what chiropractors around the world have already witnessed in clinical practice.  Some research demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of chiropractic care:

  • In a study comparing chiropractic to traditional medical approaches for low-back pain, chiropractic was found to cost less when chiropractors were the first doctors visited(Med Care 1996; 34:191-204).
  • An Oakland University study gathered data on 395,641 patients with one or more of 493 different conditions, with roughly one quarter of these subjects cared for by Doctors of Chiropractic. The study found that, “Patients receiving chiropractic care experienced significantly lower health care costs.” Specifically, chiropractic patients saved approximately $1,000 each year over the two-year period (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1993; 16:291-9).

Those same individuals that criticize the chiropractic profession for its lack of research fail to realize that many medical procedures fall prey to the same logic. Most medical procedures have not been scientifically researched, yet they do not label the medical profession as “unscientific”. According to David M. Edy, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Health Policy and Management with Duke University, only 15 percent of all medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence. In fact, some members of the research community and the medical profession argue that chiropractic has more scientific credibility than many medical procedures: “There are considerably more randomized controlled trials which show benefit of chiropractic than there are for many, many other things which physicians and neurosurgeons do all the time.”—Paul G. Shekelle, M.D., M.P.H., of the RAND Corporation, interviewed on ABC’s 20/20.

If you would like to learn more about the science of chiropractic and how it could benefit you, contact Wilderness Chiropractic at