Chiropracty is dangerous

An elderly bank manager died after he was left a paraplegic with a broken neck following a “rushed” session with a chiropractor, an inquest heard.

John Lawler, 80, had visited a private clinic in York for the third time in a week to seek treatment for a leg injury he sustained by falling through a garden chair when he received traumatic injuries.

The former Barclays Bank manager was chatting to his wife Joan about where to have lunch when he screamed out in pain minutes into his appointment after his treatment table was dropped and raised “without warning”, his widow said.

An inquest in York heard Mr Lawler yelled at Dr Arleen Scholten, “you are hurting me, you are hurting me” before later adding, “I can’t feel my arms”, during what was supposed to be part of a procedure to manipulate his spine in August 2017.

Mrs Lawler, 83 , told the inquest that despite her husband’s distress, Dr Scholten started to apply an activator, a small handheld clicking device that stimulates the spine, to his neck.

Spine manipulation is not always a good thing…..

22 thoughts on “Chiropracty is dangerous”

  1. Well, because it’s a woo doctor they don’t need to worry about things like osteoporosis. Just need to apply a homoeopathic poultice to the forehead, I’m sure it will get better immediately.

  2. If you’re going to see a quack it’s best to see a good one. As with Thai massage, a certain amount of talent is involved.

  3. Chiropratic can do good work –but a man in his 80s –obv with bone loss–should have been beware. This seems to have been a repeat treatment so he must have thought it was helping him.

  4. I’ve had excellent results with several chiropractors sorting out joint-related and muscle-tension related issues. My current one doesn’t even cause much cracking, which was weird at first but still works. Even in an acute case of getting a muscle spasm in bed causing my neck to be blocked solid and incredibly painful the next day I saw one at short notice and he gave me instant relief.

    Stay well clear of the quacks that claim that they can do anything else though…

    Reminds me… I have an appointment before lunch…

  5. I’ve never used a chiropractor but I’ve successfully used an osteopath. Someone told me that the secret of osteopaths is that their theory is rubbish but that they, or some of them, do become skilful manipulators of your body.

    My most recent experience of physiotherapists has been of people who don’t really want to manipulate your bod; they simply want to instruct you to do various exercises. My experience of that has been mixed.

  6. @dearieme – pure physios have been completely useless in my experience. They just want to give you impossibly long lists of exercises to build certain muscles to compensate for a problem rather than actually fix the underlying issue which is sometimes a joint being out of whack.

    Manual therapists, chiros and so on who build in some physio exercises have been great, but pure physios have been pants.

  7. I was recently referred to a physio and, as mentioned above, he never touched me after diagnosing the problem. He gave me some exercises to do but they were exactly the same exercises as a few minutes on youtube had indicated to me in the several weeks I was waiting for an appointment. If I had been a bit more trusting of the youtube exercises I would have cured myself before the physio saw me.
    As it was NHS I wasn’t (directly) paying, but another time, and certainly if I had to fork out cash, I would try the youtube route first.

  8. I found some interesting discussion on this topic here:

    There is more in the comments. A more common issue than paralyising patients:

    patients cannot be properly assessed when chiropractors have no reliable methods to screen for all patients who might be predisposed to suffering a vertebrobasilar artery dissection after neck manipulation … Even after performing the relevant case history, physical examination, and vertebrobasilar function tests, accidents may still occur. There is no conclusive, foolproof screening procedure to eliminate patients at risk

    That seems to be the state of the art. That said there are risks to any endeavour. It would be useful to quantify them.

  9. Physiotherapists?
    We used to call them pain technicians. Before that, torturers.

    Its nice for them to know if the NHS ever goes bankrupt they can always get a job with the American military.

  10. I stopped seeing physios for sports injuries when every time I saw them they spent 55 mins talking and then 5 mins massaging the sore part (hip, knee, whatever) which seemed to be the most valuable part. So then I just started going to see sports massage practitioners instead. Same cost but 60 mins of value rather than 5.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    My (private) physio is very good. She’s not beyond bending my body if it needs it and even gave me acupuncture when I was in serious pain following a back spasm that damaged some nerves. What’s she’s really good at is deep tissue massage.

    My one and only visit to a chiropractor left me distinctly underwhelmed and reading that I’ve no desire to try another one.

  12. I had some excellent physio in Queensland once. It’s the sort of practical stuff that’s often done well in Oz. The lass was in the final year of her physio degree in the uni Medical Faculty: I was evidently part of her Practical Class. Her every move was scrutinised and coached by her tutor. Brill!

    Stray thought: I once had a frozen shoulder. My GP said “I’m good at that” and removed 95% of the problem in one minute. He knew his strengths and weaknesses, that bloke. He once said to me “Feet? Too complicated for me!”

  13. Bloke in Lower Hutt

    I think the art of a good physiotherapy or chiropractrickery is giving the patient something that makes them feel like they are doing something positive while their body repairs itself like it would’ve done anyway with rest and patience.

  14. ‘when he screamed out in pain minutes into his appointment after his treatment table was dropped and raised “without warning”, his widow said.’

    Pain from lowering and raising a table? Sounds emotional and not physical.

    ‘An inquest in York heard Mr Lawler yelled at Dr Arleen Scholten, “you are hurting me, you are hurting me”’

    Perhaps all his patients yell, “You are hurting me,” so he keeps on going.

    Treating elderly people can be freaky. My late mother was no exception. She needed surgery, but no one would touch her (rightly – she had heart/lung issues prohibiting general anesthesia, and if awake, she would fight them).

  15. @BiND November 12, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    My experience too. Physio who does is good. Chiro made problem worse by adding another pain source.

    @dearieme November 12, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    frozen shoulder – what did your GP do?

  16. He stood up, told me to stand up arms by my side, to relax as much as I could and NOT to use my muscles. Then he took my arm and slowly, steadily raised it to shoulder height. Then he returned it, with him still bearing all the weight. He then took my wrist and gently moved it around in a clockwise circle of about six inches diameter.

    And that was it. He told me not to load the arm much for a few days and to repeat the circling motion from time to time using my own muscles. The last traces of stiffness and pain eventually vanished. But he’d achieved 95% of the cure in his minute. I was mighty impressed.

  17. We call it “physical therapy” in the States.

    When I tore a rotater a few years ago, my orthopedic surgeon fixed me up with a physical therapist. The therapist knew what exercises to do, and guided me – and pushed me – into doing them. I did them with him for 6 weeks, then told the PT, “Hey, I know what to do now; I don’t need to come here to do them.” Being a gym rat, I had what I needed to continue without going there.

    I thanked him for his help and never went back. Never went back to the surgeon, either. When I told the surgeon that I was going to see how far I could get with rehabbing it before having surgery, he said, “You’ll be back.”

    HAH! I rehabbed it on my own. Living alone, with nobody else, I was in no position to deal with post surgery problems. It took me many months, but I was successful.

    I believe surgery is a quicker path to recovery, but I was in no position to deal with it.

    The physical therapist was quite knowledgeable, and knew exactly what I needed to do. I was impressed. I was also amazed: I didn’t know the realm existed. Now I notice PT businesses all around here.

    My advise? Stay away from chiropractors. Go to an orthopedic surgeon. Get your advice from a real MD.

  18. “He then took my wrist and gently moved it around in a clockwise circle of about six inches diameter.” Bah! Correction:

    He then took me by the wrist and gently moved my arm around in a clockwise circle of about six inches diameter.

  19. When I broke my ankle the physio was pretty good, did some manipulation as well as exercises, it was one that specialised in sports so some good advice given on running after rehab including changing up my shoes to get more support

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