Back-breaking work

By Siouxsie Wiles 13/05/2011

I’ve just been informed that the NZ College of Chiropractic will be attending the University Of Canterbury Careers Fair in an attempt to recruit science students. The fair is being held on Monday the 16th May in the NZi3 foyer from 5pm – 8pm.

Given how much it costs to see a chiropractor, this will probably seem like a reasonable career choice for many students. However, one hopes that Canterbury has trained their students in the scientific method so that they are able to fully appreciate what they might be signing up for.

You may think chiropractic is a legitimate field of medicine, as evidenced by the large number of chiropractors, their use of the title Doctor (although that should be qualified as Doctor of Chiropractic [DC]) and the four year degree offered by the NZ College of Chiropractic. In fact, Chiropractic is based on the belief that most disease and illness is caused by misalignment of the spine, and that these misalignments (subluxations), cause apparent ‘blockages’ in the path of the ‘life-force’ or ‘innate intelligence’ that apparently permeates all life.

Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst dedicate a whole chapter to it in their fantastic book, Trick or Treatment?. In particular, they highlight the potential risks associated with spinal manipulation. These include unnecessary X-rays, dislocations, fractures, torn arteries and strokes. Their verdict?

The scientific evidence suggests that it is only worth seeing a chiropractor if you have a back problem….. chiropractors tend to be no better than conventional physiotherapists at treating such conditions.

A student at the Careers Fair may find honest employment with lower additional training costs from the other stalls.

0 Responses to “Back-breaking work”

  • Four years of study to be able to be referred to as Dr?
    Certainly easier than the 7 it takes to get a PhD or the 5 it takes to get a medical degree.

  • Yes, I have a friend who I first met at the Paralymoics in Athens who was a lumberjack from Canada. He had a sore back and his wonderful chiropractor did his neck in with the wondereful “spinal adjustment” technique and broke his neck. Been in a chair since.

  • Ross,
    Do you know if the chiropractor was prosecuted in any way?

  • Just a quibble with Michael, in New Zealand it takes 6 years to become a medical doctor.

  • Ben, I stand corrected.
    5 years of study plus 1 full year in clinical?

  • At Otago there is 1 year of health sciences followed by the five year MB ChB degree course. I’m unsure about Auckland.

    Once graduated the new doctor gets provisional registration with the Medical Council. They then work under consultant supervision as a house officer for a further year in order to gain general registration with the Medical Council.

    Vocational (specialist) training and registration takes a further number of years that depends upon the medical speciality.

  • Just another quibble, the title “doctor” for an MB ChB is only a courtesy title in any case, because they don’t have a doctoral degree. Same for New Zealand-trained veterinarians with a BVSc. The situation is different in the US, where the MD and DVM really are doctoral degrees.
    Medical or veterinary practitioners who have retired from clinical practice, or otherwise left clinical practice, should not use the courtesy title, but some are too vain to quit using it.

  • MD and DCh can be awarded in New Zealand; they are the equivalents of the PhD in the subjects of medicine and surgery respectively.

    My understanding is that the double bachelor degree in New Zealand requires the same amount of study as is required to achieve MD in the US (bachelor then doctoral degree).

    I don’t know the direct comparison between a kiwi MD (or DCh) and the US MD but suspect the kiwi versions require much more study. Could someone with more knowledge than me enlighten us?