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Health: Chiropractic

Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, with special emphasis on the spine. It emphasises manual therapy including spinal manipulation and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation, and includes exercises, and health and lifestyle counselling.

Chiropractors are regulated by statute and may therefore refer to conditions for which suitably qualified medical advice should be sought, provided they hold convincing evidence of the efficacy of their treatments.

To date, CAP accepts that chiropractors may claim to treat these conditions:

(NB: this advice was updated following a review of evidence conducted in September 2010):

• Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise
  Chiropractors may also refer to general aches and pains including those of joints, muscle spasms and cramp
• General, acute and chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident), including Lumbago
• Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury e.g.  whiplash)
• Headache arising from the neck (i.e. cervicogenic)
• Frozen shoulder, shoulder or elbow pain, or tennis elbow arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
• Prevention of migraine
• Tension and inability to relax (through lifestyle advice rather than chiropractic care)

In line with the review of evidence conducted in September 2010, chiropractors are advised to avoid referencing the following conditions unless they hold suitable evidence.

• Sciatica
• Rheumatoid pain, rheumatism and neuralgia
• Whiplash
• Fibromyalgia
• Peripheral joint/ muscle/ nerve complaints e.g. repetitive strain injury

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