Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation Responds to Ongoing Attacks in Canada

Research Shows Chiropractic to be Safe & Effective in Children

In 2010 a paper was published in the Journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy titled: Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. This paper became known as the infamous “Bronfort Report”.

CLICK HERE for a copy

It sent shockwaves through the United Kingdom and reportedly several hundred chiropractors faced investigations and sanctions by the General Chiropractic Council which is the entity that regulates and licenses chiropractors in the United Kingdom. The controversy revolved around claims being made by chiropractors for what types of conditions chiropractic could help people with and much of the focus was on content found on websites. 

The General Chiropractic Council used the Bronfort Report to claim that vertebral subluxation was historic only and that its management had no relationship to positive health outcomes. The Bronfort Report in whole and in spirit spread to Australia where it has been very effective at targeting subluxation chiropractors, sanctioning them and making examples out of them for others to fear. Australia took the Report several steps further and developed outrageous limitations on the chiropractic care available to its citizens.

The Australian version has now spread to Canada and is making its way through the provinces and has been accompanied by several reports in the Canadian press that would be laughable were it not for the fact that people might believe what these reports assert. This wave is being supported and encouraged by organized groups of chiropractors who want to limit chiropractic to the treatment of pain in an effort to legitimize chiropractic in their view. 

The Canadian press giving credit to this nonsense, and the regulatory boards adoption of it, represents a serious public health threat since children that might benefit from chiropractic care may not undergo chiropractic care based on these false reports. 

The Canadian attacks are focused mostly on trying to stop chiropractors from managing children in general and children with neurodevelopmental disorders specifically. What these "investigative" journalists fail to understand (or accept) is that people undergoing management for vertebral subluxation experience secondary health benefits – including many on the list of health challenges being embargoed.

According to Matthew McCoy DC, MPH Vice President of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation and CEO of the ChiroFutures Malpractice Program "We live in the era of so called 'Fake News' and this is a great example of that. It's one thing to hold the chiropractic profession accountable for issues related to safety and effectiveness since all health care professions should be held accountable in this fashion. But stating that there is no evidence for vertebral subluxation is akin to stating that dental caries do not exist. Its laughable and they should be embarrassed by it."

The concept of vertebral subluxation has a rich literature and research base going back to the time of Hippocrates with the earliest English definition arising in the late 1600's.

The problem is not a lack of research or science supporting the central theory of the chiropractic profession, the problem is a lack of understanding by the medical community of the paradigm within which chiropractors manage their patients and vertebral subluxation.

Much of healthcare is mired in the pathogenic model of disease and treatment and increasingly patients are seeking out other forms of healthcare like chiropractic that do not just focus on naming and treating the disease. Instead the focus is on supporting and nurturing the inherent recuperative powers of the body towards health. This type of health care is known as "salutogenic" and such care seeks to support human health and well-being.

"This is a major source of confusion amongst traditional medical providers since they are so focused on naming and treating the symptoms and diseases people come to them with" stated Christopher Kent DC, JD President of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation and Director of Evidence Informed Practice at Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Kent suggests that since medical providers are trained to think and practice this way, and its how they get paid, that they have nothing substantial to offer a patient who comes in and says "I want to be healthier so what can you do for me?"

Kent explained that when it comes to questioning whether there is research to support any health care intervention the first question that needs to be answered is "What level of evidence are you willing to accept?"

Research shows that the vast majority of medical interventions are unsupported by scientific evidence yet medical doctors still practice medicine and patients go to them for their treatments every day.

Instead, decisions regarding health care should be patient centered and evidence informed meaning that while the health care provider should consider any research that applies, they must also consider what the patient's values are and whether or not the research even applies to their particular case. Then the doctor and the patient decide together whether or not a given intervention is right for them or their family. This is truly patient centered care.

McCoy added "What the Canadian press and regulatory boards are doing is engaging in logical fallacies as well as applying a double standard - one they do not hold medicine accountable to. Since they live in a big glass house they really shouldn't throw stones considering that the facts are that they are the third leading cause of death every year. Because they do not want to deal with that and lose their cultural authority they engage in scapegoating and using the chiropractic profession to misdirect the blame for their failures." 

On the other hand what chiropractors do is minimally invasive and typically nothing else but their hands are used to gently ease any obstruction to the functioning of the patient's nervous system. Since the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body it is important to be sure it is functioning as best it can with no obstructions no matter the disease afflicting the patient.

According to Kent "This is where the confusion comes in. Chiropractors are not treating this or that disease. They are checking to see if the patient has vertebral subluxations which obstruct the nervous system and if so they make an adjustment to the spine to remove the obstruction and from that point on its up to the person's body to do the healing."

This is the salutogenic approach to health and most likely seems quite foreign to the average person or a typical medical doctor trained to diagnose and treat symptoms and disease with sometimes dangerous drugs and surgeries.

McCoy added "While its understandable that this is confusing to them, the burden is also on them to get up to speed with the science and research which is light years ahead of their medical practice where much of what they are doing is no different than what was done 100 years ago. They are on the wrong side of science and history on this and they should be held accountable."

CLICK HERE for more on the situation in Canada

The following is a Policy Statement on Vertebral Subluxation from the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation.

The Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation holds that the unique role of the chiropractor is separate from other health disciplines and that the professional practice objective of chiropractors may be limited to the analysis, correction or stabilization of the subluxation.

State laws, the federal government, international, national and state chiropractic organizations and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges all define the unique and non-duplicative role and responsibility of chiropractic as focusing particular attention on the subluxation and its resultant compromise of neural integrity.

The use of subluxation as a rationale for care is supported by protocols that are safe, efficacious, and valid. The literature is sufficiently supportive of the usefulness of these protocols in regard to chiropractic examination and analysis.

The chiropractor uses a variety of procedures to assess the vertebral subluxation in order to determine its presence and arrive at an impression of its location, character, type, and chronicity.

Management of subluxation from a vitalistic perspective is applicable to any patient exhibiting evidence of its existence regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms and disease.

Therefore, the determination of the presence of subluxation may stand as the sole rationale for care. Nothing in this position statement absolves the chiropractor from knowing the limits of his or her authority and skill, and from determining the safety and appropriateness of chiropractic care. The chiropractor has a duty to disclose to the patient any unusual findings discovered in the course of examination, and may collaborate with other health professionals when it is in the best interests of the patient.


Contact Information
Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

ABOUT Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation

The mission of the Foundation is to advocate for and advance the founding principles and tenets of the chiropractic profession in the area of vertebral subluxation through research, education, policy and service.

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation