In the last two years chiropractic has received a lot of negative press in the UK, largely because of the decision of the British Chiropractic Association BCA to sue Simon Singh for criticising their members in the Guardian newspaper. I fully supported Simon’s right to express his opinion in a newspaper, even though his expertise is in physics not clinical science and he had a book to sell which was very critical of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).  The BCA’s decision to sue Simon Singh drew much attention on a chiropractic profession that is split into many factions and demonstrated how incompetent the representatives of the chiropractic profession are. Some choosing to cut and run hoping nobody would notice and then the BCA, like rabbits caught in the headlights made their defence on the basis that there was strong scientific evidence for the claims being made by chiropractors. When many of these claims were being made on the basis of the experience of practitioners and case studies, yes the lowest forms of evidence, but to “skeptics” with little knowledge of clinical science and a “fundamentalist” dislike of touchy feely CAM practitioners , these claims were viewed as downright lies, aimed at exploiting the vulnerable and taking all their money.

The claims involved mainly the treatment of infants and children, this enabled the skeptics to generate much heat and little light around a subject which accounts for a tiny proportion of most chiropractors income. Little research money has gone into this area, because most of it  goes into musculoskeletal pain syndromes which is what most chiropractic patients are complaining of.

No doubt things may have been  different if we had big multi national companies doing research for us, no doubt that would require us to use their products which is an anathema to the basic principle of chiropractic. Over the last few years I have debated with Simon Singh and the skeptics, the view me as an uneducated quack (even refusing to recognise my masters from Brunel university in Health Promotion. Their lack of understanding of clinical science, anatomy and physiology means the content of any meaningfull discussion  goes in one ear and out the other and gets lost in the blogosphere.  I find I am repeating myself all the time so I have tried to put all the issues we have debated about in on place here at www.familychiropractic.co.uk which ironically is the domain I used  when I set up the first chiropractic website in the UK in 1997. Having trained at the Anglo European College of Chiropractic I am confident in the ability of their graduates  to make the case for chiropractic and invite all chiropractors to share their clinical experiences so the public will have a resource which has a bit more information than chiropractic is good for back pain. If they make suggestions for posts they would like to make in the comments I will get in touch.

Most people have heard that chiropractic helpful for people suffering from back and neck pain, this is because restoring spinal joint function inhibits pain and reduces muscles spasm. Back pain is the most common reason patients visit chiropractors and  is supported by the NHS’s NICE guidlines which reccomends spinal manipulation by skilled practitioners for back pain

Chiropractic is based on the principle that living organisms have incredible healing and adaptive capacities which respond to physical, chemical and emotional stress. The nervous system coordinates and controls every physiological system the body requires for good health, the spine and skull protect it.

Whilst forming this protective structure, the spine has to allow joint movement between each vertebra. Chiropractic theory maintains that by keeping the nervous system free from interference and maintaining normal spinal joint function, the body’s neural communication network works better, enabling cells and organs to perform their respective functions and contribute to better health and well-being for all the family

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Chiropractic: “A health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromuscular system and the effects of these disorders on general health. There is an emphasis on manual techniques, including joint adjustment with a particular focus on subluxations. Joint dysfunction where physiological integrity of the spinal joint is altered”(WHO 2005)

I, Richard Lanigan DC. MSc Originally trained as a PE teacher in the 70s. Moved to Denmark 1979 to play football where a serious knee injury got me focused on rehabilitation and fitness techniques. In the 80s injured joints were immobilised in plaster for 12 weeks, now it is universally accepted, that joints need to move and maintain their normal range of motion, the same principle applies to vertebral joint dysfunction (subluxation) and its affect on health and performance.

In the 80s I was fitness and rehab consultant to the Danish national badminton teams, handball teams and many club sides. I was one of the pioneeres of the type of warm up, stretching and resistance training programes which are now the norm in sport. I helped prepare many athletes for the 1984 and 88 Olympics. ThenI started working with chiropractor Ole Wessung DC, who demonstrated the effectiveness of Chiropractic. In 1990 I decided to move back to the UK to study chiropractic at Anglo European College of Chiropractic gaining my DC (doctor of chiropractic) in 1995. I was student president for two years between 1993-1995 and was ellected the chiropractic professions representative on the chiropractic regulatory body (GCC) in 2007.I received a Masters in Health Promotion from Brunel University in 2004 and in 2008 was awarded a Fellowship by the UK College of Chiropractors. In January 2009 I resigned from the UK’s General Chiropractic Council register in a letter because they have attempted to medicalise chiropractic and restrict the practice to musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Chiropractic is not a treatment for any condition, in this blog people who practice chiropractic will try to explain why its an ongoing process like going to the gym to maintain spinal joint function which is a prerequisite for health and well-being for all the family and will improve the quality of life for people with many condition. In April 2011 I was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer. The medical treatment has been excellent and a massive learning curve. Cancer is different for everybody its not an exact science, doctors prescribe treatments and cross their fingers, I have much more confidence in a practitioner with experience and knowledge than someone who things all the answers can be found in a data base of published “scientific evidence”

There are many anecdotal reports of all sorts of conditions benefiting from chiropractic care. I see these positive responses every day in practice. Skeptics would call these effects placebo, I explain these responses as the effect spinal joint dysfunction can have on organ function and the “autonomic nervous system” (ANS). The vast majority of patients who present at Spinal Joint have musculoskeletal conditions. In 2008 I did an analysis of all the conditions patents had presented with at my clinic. Some patients might have 2 or three of the conditions listed. Most people present with many different complaints and I would say the vast majority of them benefited from chiropractic care.

Sensory information that drives ANS activity arises from three sources: The surface of the body from sensory nerve receptors in skin and muscles in the form of stretch, pressure, and temperture changes. (B); The external environment in the form of light and sound, special sensory receptors (C); and and stimulus from the internal viscera. However it should be remembered the density of sensory endings in the viscera is very low (10%) compared to sensory endings muscles and skin. This means that while there is a very high chance of chiropractic benefiting conditions related to the musculoskeletal system its not going to be nearly as high for visceral conditions.

In skilled hands a chiropractic spinal adjusment is perfectly safe. I participated in the Boltonstudy and have practised in Kingston since 1995, I have never witnessed a serious adverse response to chiropractic and rarely witness people feeling worse after an adjustment. I like most chiropractors  check  patients response after their first visit and do not accept the criticism of the study by skeptics that people who did not come back for further treatment may have died.

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