Chirobase is a project of Quackwatch, an international network whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, and fallacies. Founded by Dr. Stephen Barrett in 1969 as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, it assumed its current name in 1997 and has developed a worldwide network of volunteers and expert advisors. Our primary focus is on information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere. Our activities related to this site will include:
- To provide comprehensive information about chiropractic history, theories, and current practices.
- To encourage and support the use of science-based practices by chiropractors.
- To identify and oppose the use of unscientific practices by chiropractors.
- To warn the public about inappropriate chiropractic care.
- To advise about how to deal with charges for unnecessary services.
- To help people seeking appropriate chiropractic care to locate it.
- To pinpoint the risks involved in pursuing a chiropractic career.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was Chirobase started?
The news media rarely look closely at the chiropractic marketplace. “Positive” views are readily available from chiropractors and their organizations. We thought it would be useful to create a publicly available archive that discusses chiropractic’s problems. The name “Chirobase” stands for “Chiropractic Database.”
Some of the reports on Chirobase were published many years ago.
What is their relevance to chiropractic today?
Hasn’t chiropractic changed for the better?
We think it is useful to view chiropractic in full historical perspective. In 1968, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare concluded that chiropractic theory and practice were not based upon scientific knowledge and that chiropractic education failed to prepare the practitioners to make adequate diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment. Although chiropractic education and practice have improved considerably, serious problems remain.
Why focus on chiropractors? Why don’t you
talk about the serious problems in medicine?
One has nothing to do with the other. Medicine’s shortcomings do not justify chiropractic quackery.
Doesn’t every profession have its rotten apples?
Yes, but we believe the percentage of chiropractors engaged in dubious practices is very high—much higher than it is in medicine and dentistry, for example. Chiropractors are the only professionals we know that promote courses and books on how to mislead people.
Isn’t the information on Chirobase unbalanced?
The key consideration should be whether the information is accurate, which it is. We provide many links to chiropractic Web sites to enable browsers to explore the full range of prochiropractic viewpoints. We also invite individual chiropractors to furnish comments that we can post. If you would like to suggest additional sites to which we should link, please notify us.
Aren’t you being unfair to chiropractors
who practice ethically and competently?
One of our goals is to help consumers evaluate individual chiropractors. To do this, we have posted guidelines describing both proper and improper care. We strongly support science-based chiropractic care. Chiropractors who believe our guidelines are valid can list their names in our referral directory so that prospective patients seeking such care can locate them. We have also posted a feature article describing what a rational chiropractor can do for people.
Do you have any advice for people who
are considering a chiropractic career?
It is a very risky choice because (a) most chiropractors do not practice legitimately, (b) the field is overcrowded and getting worse, and (c) chiropractic incomes (in real dollars) have been falling steadily since the early 1990s. Medicine, osteopathy, and physical therapy are much better choices. For scientifically minded individuals who still wish to become chiropractors, the Southern California University of Health Sciences (formerly Los Angeles College of Chiropractic) is probably the best school.
This article was revised on October 7, 2009