Why Are Some Medical Professionals Skeptical About Chiropractors?

Chiropractic care is a form of alternative medicine that has gained popularity in recent years. It focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, primarily through manual adjustments or manipulations of the spine. While many people have found relief from chiropractic treatments, there is a group of medical professionals who remain skeptical about its efficacy and safety. So, why are some medical professionals skeptical about chiropractors?

The Lack of Scientific Evidence

One of the main reasons why some medical professionals are skeptical about chiropractors is the lack of scientific evidence supporting their claims. While anecdotal evidence and patient testimonials may seem convincing, a rigorous scientific study is needed to establish a treatment’s effectiveness. (Even though medical professionals often rely on evidence-based practice, which integrates clinical expertise, patient values, and the best available evidence–chiropractic care sometimes falls short).-

According to a review published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the majority of research on chiropractic care has methodological flaws, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions. Additionally, some studies have shown no significant difference in outcomes between chiropractic treatment and a placebo.(On the other hand, some experts argue that the lack of evidence is due to a lack of funding and research interest in chiropractic care, and not necessarily its lack of effectiveness).

Concerns about Safety

Another area of concern for medical professionals is the safety of chiropractic treatments. While chiropractors undergo extensive training and education, there have been reports of adverse events associated with spinal manipulations. These can include strokes, vertebral artery dissections, and nerve damage. While these complications are rare, they raise legitimate concerns.-

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 2019 that found an increased risk of stroke within a week of visiting a chiropractor. Although the absolute risk is low, medical professionals argue that other treatments with similar benefits and no known risks should be explored first. (However, supporters of chiropractic care argue that adverse events are extremely rare and that the overall benefits outweigh the potential risks).-

The Different Philosophy

The philosophical differences between the medical and chiropractic professions also contribute to the skepticism of medical professionals. The medical field approaches health and wellness through a more evidence-based, symptom-oriented perspective, whereas chiropractors often focus on the relationship between the spine and nervous system for overall well-being. This divergence in philosophies leads to a natural skepticism among medical professionals who value empirical evidence and scientific research.-

Additionally, some medical professionals feel that chiropractors are encroaching on their scope of practice and treating conditions that fall outside the realm of musculoskeletal disorders. This can lead to further skepticism and concerns about patient safety. (However, supporters of chiropractic care argue that the holistic approach of chiropractors fills a gap in the healthcare system and can provide non-invasive treatment options for certain conditions).-


While chiropractic care has undoubtedly helped many individuals find relief from pain and improve their quality of life, the skepticism of some medical professionals persists. The lack of scientific evidence supporting its claims, concerns about safety, and the philosophical differences between the two professions are all contributing factors. In the end, it is up to individuals to weigh the potential benefits and risks and make informed decisions about their healthcare.

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Liyana Parker

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