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Research Into Chiropractic Treatment

A systematic review of systematic reviews of spinal manipulation

E Ernst P H Canter

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Article, April 2006.Chiropractors in the UK were very disappointed that this article received so much publicity. As with all news it was spread throughout the world and appeared in several newspapers, not just in the UK. Having said that, it didn’t get much publicity in the world of research!

There were just 16 studies examined and the authors selected negative articles in support of their conclusions when national clinical practice guidelines, based on much more and better research than the studies this article has selected, has come to exactly the opposite conclusion.

The usefulness of manipulation is that it can be added, substituted or modified as part of a package of care that provides management, pain control and advice. Recent clinical trials funded by the Medical Research Council (UK BEAM 2004) and published in the British Medical Journal, show that manipulation is effective and cost-effective within such a package for back pain. The BEAM trial is new research, and is much more relevant reading since it was put in a clinical setting. Here is the reply from the British Chiropractic Association to the JRSM article.

If you want to read some comments from some of the most prominent researchers, commenting on Professor Ernst’s research, go to this page on the British Medical Journal’s website. We wholeheartedly recommend it, especially the comments from Lynton G F Giles, Director. Spinal Pain Unit, Townsville General Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

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