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News Opinion Readers Respond

Chiropractors aren't doctors, and their treatments aren't based on medical science

Chiropractor Alan K. Sokoloff, who was mentioned in a recent story about meningitis, stated that "lots of times, primary care doctors ... go the extreme route" ("Outbreak spotlights back pain treatment," Nov. 5). Lots? How many?

I offer the kind of primary care he's talking about, and I would ask that any alternative provider who treats my patients show the evidence his or her treatment is effective. People shouldn't have to rely on just anecdotes or testimonials to be confident that chiropractic works, is safer and worth the money.

But to show such treatments are effective there must be multiple randomized, placebo-controlled trials involving at least 200 patients and done by investigators with no financial interest in the outcome. Chiropractors don't or won't understand this, and so as they massage your back they seek to draw your children in as clients to "cure their bed wetting."

What is the scientific evidence for such claims? Though they advertise and refer to themselves as doctors, chiropractors are not physicians, and they cannot prescribe medications.

They are indeed correct that we have come to expect a pain-free existence, but that doesn't mean we can have one.

Assuming you can still walk, your best bet is to walk, stretch and lose that extra weight. I have discouraged patients from shots for years. Epidural shots are marginally effective and facet shots are useless.

And for the record, the only "extreme route" I go as a primary care physician is running to work year-round. I am very cautious with my patients.

Theodore Houk

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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