Chiropractors: How much can they really heal?

July 23, 2009
By Julie Deardorff
Chicago Tribune

Chiropractors are best known for treating back and neck pain. But can their hands-on manipulations of the spine also help with colic, asthma, ear infections, allergies and digestive issues?

Though it’s a controversial notion, some chiropractors are aggressively marketing themselves as holistic, primary-care healers who can treat a broad scope of ailments ranging from acid reflux to infertility. Others in the field say chiropractors should focus on musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, where evidence for efficacy is the strongest.

The internal philosophical divide has given the profession a confusing image, making it difficult for consumers to know when, if ever, they should visit a chiropractor.

“We often hear from chiropractors that ‘chiropractic is more than just back pain.’ But is it?” Rhode Island chiropractor Donald Murphy asked in a commentary published last year in the journal Chiropractic and Osteopathy. “And more importantly, does it have to be?” More…