The Observer reports:
Backache sufferers will receive spinal manipulation or acupuncture on the NHS as a result of official guidance being issued this week on how to treat the debilitating condition.
The move will be welcomed by many of the millions of patients with the ailment, which brings widespread misery and costs the country billions of pounds in sick leave, welfare bills and medical treatment.
The new approach will be unveiled on Wednesday by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which tells the NHS which treatments are worth spending money on. Nice is expected to say that exhaustive research has shown that manipulation of a patient's spine can be effective in relieving the symptoms of low back pain and recommend that GPs refer sufferers for up to nine sessions with an osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist who is trained in manipulation, or an acupuncturist.
It may be timely to look at the Canadian view.
Canadian Neurologists Warn against Neck Manipulation
March 13, 2002
Brad Stewart, MD, FRCPC
Sixty-two clinical neurologists from across Canada, all certified members of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, have issued a warning to the Canadian public and provincial governments about the dangers of neck manipulation. The signers include private neurologists as well as chiefs of neurology departments of major teaching hospitals. Calling their concerns significant, they warn that stroke and death due to neck manipulation has been reported in the scientific literature for over 50 years and that manipulation is one of the leading causes of stroke in the under 45-age group. The neurologists express six basic concerns and you can read them here.
You may argue that with low back pain you should not have your neck manipulated. The problem is that there is a near cult belief in neck manipulation that I feel compelled to warn readers.
See: Paralyzed Alberta woman sues chiropractors, province for $500M
Web: NHS Blog Doctor Quackwatch
Chiropractic: Strokes and Class Action