Hours after a routine visit to his chiropractor to relieve a pain in his shoulder the super-fit actor was fighting for his life. At one point doctors warned the sportsman turned film star, then aged 38, that they might have to amputate his left arm. The episode has left him with 10 per cent vision loss in both eyes, frequent migraines and problems with his balance.
He suffered three strokes in 1997 shortly after having his neck “cracked”, a technique used by chiropractors which involves a short thrust and/or twist of the neck which often makes an audible sound.
He was told the action of the hard crack had caused some of the clots to move towards his brain.
Whether or not the cracking technique is dangerous is a controversial issue. A study by Professor Edzard Ernst, director of complementary medicine at the UK’s Peninsula Medical School says: “Numerous deaths have occurred after chiropractic manipulations.” He thinks the risks of this treatment by far outweigh its benefit and adds: “In my view a chiropractor should not go near the neck.”
Tip: @EdzardErnst on Twitter
DN has covered this story previously but it’s back in the news as Mr. Sorbo promotes his book. Important to note: Mr. Sorbo had existing problems. The chiropractic may not have been the direct cause of his medical issues. There appear to be numerous factors involved.
Here’s the argument against chiropractic – it does carry risks. And, as Ernst points out, the benefit is not great enough to justfy those risks. People swear by chiropractic (just like countless other products and activities that may be completely placebo effects) but there are many, various and serious issues that ought to be considered. First, does it really help your problem? The chiropractor may tell you that it does and bring you in for regular treatment$. But is there a safer, more medically sound treatment instead? Did you know that the basis for chiropractic is an unproven theory called “subluxations” whereby misalignments in your spine and blockages of nerves cause problems? That makes no sense in light of today’s scientifically gained knowledge of neurology. Research studies have not been kind to chiropractic as an effective therapeutic treatment. It’s typically shown to be no better than other, less potentially harmful treatments such as rest. So, what does this say about chiropractic in general? That there is good reason to be VERY critical of the practice.