[BPSDB] I emailed Bassett Chiropractic (they have clinics called St Albans Chiropractic Clinic, The Hertford Chiropractic Clinic, Watford Chiropractic Clinic, and Kings Langley Chiropractic Clinic) to ask on what evidence they based their claims to be able to treat certain conditions. In this blog post, I discussed the evidence for chiropractic in treating headaches and whiplash.
Here’s my email to Bassett:
I note that on your website it is claimed that your chiropractors can help with headaches and whiplash. Please can you tell me what evidence these claims are based on?
Here’s their initial response:
Thank you for your e-mail. Besides the evidence of 37 years of practice,there are numerous studies to show that cervico-genic headache and whiplash injury respond well to chiropractic treatment,vis. Forman and Croft , Dan Murphy and Johnny Cook to namea few .
Focussing first on whiplash, I replied:
Thank you for responding. I would like to concentrate in this email on your claim to help with whiplash injury.
I note that the GCC state in their guidelines (Code of Practice, C1.6) that “[Chiropractors] may publicise their practices or permit another person to do so consistent with the law and the guidance issued by the Advertising Standards Authority.” I wondered if you were aware that the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against BritChiro due to a claim they made to be able to help with whiplash. The ASA stated that they “instructed an independent expert to assess the evidence BritChiro submitted in support of the treatment of whiplash and arthritis. Our expert concluded however that the studies were not sufficient to support efficacy claims for either condition.”
I further note that a review  of the evidence for chiropractic and other treatments in treating whiplash associated disorders found that there were no randomised controlled trials for treatment of whiplash with chiropractic. The authors concluded that “Future research should be directed toward clarifying the role of exercise and manipulation in the treatment of WAD” and did not recommend chiropractic as a treatment for whiplash.
I acknowledge your reference to studies by “Forman and Croft , Dan Murphy and Johnny Cook” and I would like further information – please could you pass on the citations for these papers in order that I might read them? I assume the Johnny Cook paper is the 1996 retrospective study that called for randomised controlled trials to be conducted?
I note that despite the 1996 Cook paper I saw on Pubmed recommending RCTs be conducted into the use of chiropractic for whiplash, the authors of the 2005 review I linked to in my email stated that they found three non-randomised trials looking at chiropractic for whiplash. This is a sorry state of affairs – why didn’t anyone take up Cook’s recommendations? It’s also interesting that a 1996 retrospective study is being cited as evidence in 2009 for chiropractic in treating whiplash, when a more recent review has found only three non-randomised trials and recommended mobilization but did not recommend chiropractic for this condition.
I look forward to receiving a response to my follow-up email.