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CAM & Chiropractic
Seeing a blog recently on CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) made me think of the question of chiropractic as “alternative medicine”. This particular blog, written by a pharmacist, presented CAM, which is how medicine characterizes chiropractic, as practices in the “pipeline”, as he put it, waiting to enter the hallowed halls of medicine when they had made the research grade.
I accept without question that we need good research to test the efficacy of chiropractic procedures. But in order to become medical? I don’t think so. The idea that chiropractic is complementary to medicine, or an alternative, never made sense to me.
Chiropractic is a separate system of healing.
You go to a chiropractor for drugless care that emphasizes the relationship between structure and function, the innate ability of the body to heal itself, and the role of the nervous system in maintaining health.
You go to a medical doctor when you have an organic disease, or need surgery, or for some other medical procedure.
As for seeing chiropractic as needing to be supported with research, there has already been substantial research supporting the efficacy of chiropractic. The chiropractic profession is heavily invested, and committed, to research, without it should be emphasized the support of drug companies.
Medicine has its own research and efficacy issues. Medicine is a prescription drug based practice. Along with effective, safe drugs, many drugs it prescribes prove to be dangerous and are withdrawn. Others have serious side-effects, many are addictive.
Chiropractic has a lot to learn from medicine in areas of professionalism and research, but it would lose its purpose and its unique health role if it was just an alternative or a complement to medicine. Chiropractors are different. Let’s keep it that way.