John Turner makes one good point in his ‘Healthwatch’ article (Sentinel-Times, May 9, page 22); many patients don’t tell their GPs that they are taking nutritional supplements, and they should.
Some nutrient/drug interactions can be potentially hazardous, so patients should always disclose this information to their doctor. The doctor can then advise the patient accordingly and/or confer with health practitioner who made the nutritional recommendations for the best patient outcome.
Mr Turner then goes on to make a series of sweeping statements about complementary therapies, of which he includes chiropractic care.
I do not profess to be an expert in all of these therapies but with degrees in pharmacy and chiropractic and post graduate nutritional education I would like to correct some of the inaccuracies and omissions that he makes.
Chiropractic is a five-year full-time university degree course. Mr Turner claims we are “self-regulated”, but, like medicine and dentistry, we are regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Chiropractors help people with musculoskeletal problems like back pain, neck pain and neck related headaches. It is false for Mr Turner to say chiropractic care is “bereft of evidential basis”.
The weight of the evidence is such, that the 2007 American College of Physicians Guidelines, recommends manual therapies, like those performed by chiropractors, ahead of pharmaceuticals in the treatment of acute low back pain.
At the same time, there are growing concerns about the safety and efficacy of common medical approaches for back pain and sciatica such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories/ibuprofen and Lyrica.
Whereas there is a growing body of evidence recommending nutritional support such as magnesium, curcumin, ginger, boswellia for musculoskeletal conditions.
There are up to 300,000 visits to chiropractors in Australia every week. Studies have shown that patients who see chiropractors for spinal pain have higher satisfaction than when they see medical doctors for similar conditions.
Chiropractic care is multi-modal, meaning that we use multiple treatment approaches depending on the age and presentation of the patient.
Chiropractic is a low risk profession with an enviable safety record. Complaints from patients to the regulatory body about chiropractors are half in number (per percentage of practitioner) than that for medical doctors.
The father of Evidence Based Medicine, David Sackett, made it clear that best practice is about looking at the available research, considering practitioner experience and listening to the patients’ needs and desires.
This is what patient centred care is all about.
Better outcomes are achieved when chiropractors and medical doctors work together, as evidenced by a recent study on acute low back pain.
I would respectfully suggest Mr Turner focus on professional and respectful dialogue, rather than biased commentary, as this would serve the best interests of the most important person… the patient.
Neil Smith B.App.Sci.(chiropractic/pharmacy), Wonthaggi Chiropractic and Natural Health Centre.