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The Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic

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Policy Analysis


An Analysis of the General Chiropractic Council's Policy on Claims Made for the Vertebral Subluxation Complex


Christopher Kent D.C., J.D. Bio 


Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic ~ Volume 2011 ~ Issue 2 ~ Pages 1-9 


The United Kingdom's regulatory body for the chiropractic profession recently issued a document on claims made for the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC), which states that the VSC is an historical concept not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease or health concerns. The document goes on to provide "must" statements regarding beliefs, values, evidence based practice and advertising.


The GCC has resorted to a "straw man" fallacy in their Guidance document thereby misrepresenting others' positions on the topic.  Clinical research evidence exists to support a nexus between vertebral subluxation and health concerns and evidence-based practice (EBP) is not limited to those interventions supported by randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Despite allusions to the contrary, subluxation-centered care and patient-centered care are not mutually exclusive and the suggestion that subluxationcentered chiropractors do not or cannot practice in an evidencebased model is another "straw man" fallacy.


The practice of imposing a more burdensome evidence standard on subluxation-centered chiropractors than on musculoskeletal/pain treatment oriented chiropractors, or medical practitioners, is unacceptable, discriminatory, and an application of the fallacy of "special pleading." Despite the GCC's contentions, vertebral subuxation is recognized by the World Health Organization and major chiropractic organizations worldwide, and manifestations of vertebral subluxation may be
assessed utilizing reliable and valid examination procedures.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the management of vertebral subluxation is the chiropractic profession's unique contribution to the healthcare system.


Key Words:  Chiropractic, Vertebral Subluxation, Evidence based Health Care, Regulatory Boards