CF 177: Spinal Manipulative Therapy Effectiveness & Chiropractic For Colic

Today we’re going to talk about manipulation effectiveness and we’ll talk about working on babies with colic. What’s the research say?

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music


OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around. 

We’re the fun kind of research. Not the stuffy, high-brow kind of research. We’re research talk over a couple of beers.

I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

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You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #177

Now if you missed last week’s episode , we talked about car wreck research. It was part two of a two part little thing we did. Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

On the personal end of things…..

I have set the book launch date. It will be Tuesday, June the 8th. We will be releasing The Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic: A Unique Journey Into The Research on that date and I’ll be hoping that as many of you as want to, will consider being on my launch team. 

That means you download the book for free on launch day and you leave a great review on Amazon to help boost it’s exposure so that when I start charging for it, it’s up the relevant charts and I have a chance to get the message of evidence-based, patient-centered care to more and more people. Which is what it’s always been about in the first place. 

If you have connections with influencers, podcast hosts, TV hosts, radio, bloggers, or anyone like that, let me know and let me know if they’d be interested in an interview about the book. We want as much exposure as humanly possible on this deal. It’s not every day you get to release a book, now is it?

So, send me an email at [email protected] and tell me you want to be on the launch team. It’s that simple. 

As we have discussed, I am still going through the medical integration and hiring a nurse practitioner process. And it is now beginning to proceed a little more rapidly in the last week or so. Which is excellent news because I like to get things done and move to the next thing. I just got all of the paperwork and forward it over to our medical Director for his review and then we will proceed from there. 

While I am the first in my area to form one of these entities, I am hearing Word on the street that there are several others in the process as well so I need to put the foot down on the gas pedal. I know of two other chiropractors that are in the process right now in my area. One of them is a vitalist. 

So I’m trying to figure out how a chiropractic vitalist is offering medical services but whatever. Anyway it’s time to get this done and move on and be the first. There’s value to being the first one to do something. That’s what I plan on being

We have been taking this time of transition to get more familiar with our nurse practitioner. And fortunately I am more and more convinced that we have made the right decision. Outside of all of that rigmarole, we are just trying to get patients back in the door now that things are starting to cool off with the pandemic. It’s still a little odd. 

For example last week I I only saw approximately 130 patient for the whole week. Those numbers are down fairly significantly for me. However, we had around 23 new patients if I remember right. And this week is starting to look pretty good. It’s hard right now.

One week is up in the next week is down. I can’t quite explain it but we’re nowhere near where we were before the pandemic came along. If I’m being honest, it’s pretty damn frustrating. I’m not a patient person. I feel like I’ve waited over a year to get back to normal and now it’s time. Maybe I just need to take some Valium or something like that.

Since I don’t really have a lot more to share from the personal side of things, let’s just keep it short and jump right into the research.


Item #1

This first one is called “Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations” by Santilli et. al. [1] and published in Spine Journal in the March/April edition from 2006. Not hot at all. But still interesting when you have randomized, double-blind research.

Why They Did It

Acute back pain and sciatica are major sources of disability. Many medical interventions are available, including manipulations, with conflicting results. So the purpose was to assess the short- and long-term effects of spinal manipulations on acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion.

How They Did It

  • Randomized double-blind trial comparing active and simulated manipulations in rehabilitation medical centers in Rome and suburbs.
  • 102 ambulatory patients with at least moderate pain on a visual analog scale for local pain (VAS1) and/or radiating pain (VAS2).
  • Outcome measures took into account pain-free patients following treatment, quality of life, number of days on anti-inflammatories, drug prescriptions, pain scores, and disc protrusion reduction on follow up MRI
  • Manipulations or simulated manipulations were done 5 days per week by experienced chiropractors, with a number of sessions which depended on pain relief or up to a maximum of 20, using a rapid thrust technique.
  • Patients were assessed at admission and at 15, 30, 45, 90, and 180 days
  • A total of 64 men and 38 women aged 19-63 years were randomized to manipulations (53) or simulated manipulations (49). 

What They Found

  • Manipulations appeared more effective on the basis of the percentage of pain-free cases, number of days with pain, and number of days with moderate or severe pain
  • Patients receiving manipulations had lower mean VAS1
  • A significant interaction was found between therapeutic arm and time
  • There were no significant differences in quality of life and psychosocial scores

Wrap It Up

Active manipulations have more effect than simulated manipulations on pain relief for acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion.

Now, why include a paper from way back 15 years ago?? First, because it’s a solid paper and still has value and is still relevant. 

Secondly, because I’m seeing more and more chiropractors starting to diss or completely poo poo spinal manipulative therapy. We have the Airossti crew and then we have the exercise/rehab only crew. Which….shouldn’t they just have become PTs?? Seems more fitting to me. I didn’t want to be strictly an exercise coach. 

As with anything in life, there are extremes, aren’t there?? You have the vitalistic/philosophic extreme that embarrasses those of us in the profession trying to drag it forward and change it for the better. Then you have the evidence-based faction’s extreme aspect that are so evidence-based and evidence woke that they basically discount their own profession all together. The whole damn kit and caboodle!

So, let’s talk about it shall we?

I’ve beat up on vitalism quite a bit. Because it deserves it. You have the ones that are just embarrassing and then you have the ones like Nepute that have some legal challenges from what I hear. Then you have the fools talking about 99 patients and 9 new patients by himself all in 3 hours. Garbage. That’s stuff clowns do, folks. So, that end of it all goes without saying to most sensible people. 

But what about the extreme evidence-based crew? We’ve never talked about them before. Most because there’s been no reason until recently. 

Lately, they’ve gotten particularly vocal. There is a saying, “There is an art to disagreeing without being disagreeable.” Well, the extreme evidence-based people are, for me personally, becoming very disagreeable and extremely unlikable. 

Most are fresh out of school with little to zero experience in using spinal manipulative therapy so to turn around and bash those using SMT as their biggest tool in the toolbox is a little dumb. Is SMT everything? Of course not. But neither is exercise. Neither is only worrying about the cognitive aspect. Neither is acupuncture or massage or laser by themselves. Yet, while he makes fun of all of these, the American College of Physicians recommends them for low back pain. 

A good chiropractor should know when to mobilize and when to stabilize. I agree that chiropractors shouldn’t just use SMT all of the time no matter what. Ehlers-Danlos folks don’t need much SMT if any at all. Those having spinal instability, why would you use SMT on them when they need stabilization? I think you get my point. 

But again, it is not all about exercise either my friends. It is a multimodal approach. So to say that SMT doesn’t do all that much and all people need is to be moving is not accurate. 

And it falls on deaf ears and gets people riled up when done in a smartass, smug, and denigrating manner. When they’re making up cute little terms to label SMT docs into some sort of laughable crew, you’ve overstepped and have some things to learn. 

There are more and more of them lately but, the one particular person I have in mind with regard to the labeling, the kid….which is what he is….the kid is an online, virtual doc that has been out of school only a year or two. So, if he’s virtual only, makes sense that he is going to be an advocate of no SMT right? You can’t be an advocate of SMT but expect to make your living online only. 

So, even knowing his extreme business bias, he makes fun of people, pisses his colleagues off right and left, and seems to be trying to burn down the profession with all of us evidence-based SMT docs inside the building. 

For example, he has a video making fun of chiropractors in the instance that someone on a plane would ask if there are any doctors on the plane and a chiropractor would stand up. Making fun of his colleagues because they consider themselves doctors I guess. There’s no point to it other than being a smartass, getting clicks, and pissing off everyone in your profession. Making fun of the activator. No, I’m not an activator guy but is that really who you want to be?

Making fun of the idea of maintenance care while completely discounting anything that Andres Eklund has done over the past few years. 

Question #1 is why even be a chiropractor? Honestly. 

Look, I’ve been trying to change the profession for years. But not burn down the house. Let’s get more specialized Fellowships and Diplomates. Let’s get active in our state and national associations. Let’s follow researched guides. Let’s consume more and more research every day and every week. Basically, raise the damn game, folks. 

But to be out of school briefly, just to develop your online only bias, and then turn around and trash SMT while grouping them and labeling them with derogatory names…..

Big nope here. Not a fan. The fans say he’s a good dude… Blah blah blah.”

Tigers have stripes and I’ve seen these. Not just on him but others just like him. I don’t like the pattern. It’s not just one person. There are more and more of them lately. As if our profession doesn’t have a hard enough time moving past the vitalistic, philosophy part of the profession. 

Now we have these evidence woke knuckleheads on the complete other end. This kid is no better in my mind than the fools out in Oakland that we covered some time ago telling people they can reduce spinal degenerative bone spurs through 3 times per day for 3 weeks of adjusting. He’s no better. He’s certainly equally as arrogant. That’s a certainty. 

To be fair, and honest, and transparent, I haven’t watched all of his videos. Mostly because I can’t stomach that whole scene beyond the ten or so that I did watch. From what I watched though, I didn’t completely disagree with what he was saying. I really didn’t. Hell, I disagree with just about anything a vitalist says. I actually agreed with some of his sentiments.  

He’s completely wrong in some videos. He’s completely right in some videos. I think it’s OK to beat up on vitalists. Lol. But when you cherry pick and trash your entire profession collectively like is being done on a weekly basis, even when there is plenty of solid research to the contrary of what you are saying……well, you don’t look so smart. 

He’s disagreeing but he’s doing it in a way that is 100% disagreeable. For me anyway.

I guess I just don’t like feeling like I’m being made fun of. Not after the education I have gone through to do everything I can to be at the top of my game. And I don’t like my friends being made fun of either. Certainly not by a kid that cherry picks his research to confirm his bias while thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room. 

Some of the smartest people on the planet that I call friends are getting trashed almost weekly by people like this and it’s a shame. I have such a high amount of respect for some of my fellow Diplomates and I just don’t think it’s necessary to effect change. That’s it in a nutshell. 

Can you imagine being 20 something or early 30’s something and already having everything all figured out. How amazing that would truly be. What power he must have. Lol. 

He could spread a good message and move his profession in a positive direction in so many other ways. But he’s got those very specific stripes. He is who he is, the smartest guy in the room. There will be no changing these folks. Just like I don’t ever see the vitalistic side ever changing either. 

OK, enough

Item #2

Our second paper is called “The effect of chiropractic care on infantile colic: results from a single-blind randomised controlled trial” by Holm et. al. [2] and published in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies on April 19th 2021 sizzling…..foggin up my spectacles. 

Why They Did It

Chiropractic care is commonly used to treat infantile colic. However large trials with parental blinding are missing. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of chiropractic care on infantile colic.

How They Did It

  • It was a multicenter, single-blind randomized controlled trial conducted in four Danish chiropractic clinics, 2015–2019
  • Information was distributed in the maternity wards and by maternal and child health nurses. 
  • Children aged 2–14 weeks with unexplained excessive crying were recruited through home visits and randomized (1:1) to either chiropractic care or control group
  • Both groups attended the chiropractic clinic twice a week for 2 weeks.
  • The intervention group received chiropractic care, while the control group was not treated. 
  • The parents were not present in the treatment room and unaware of their child’s allocation.
  • The primary outcome was change in daily hours of crying before and after treatment.
  • Secondary outcomes were changes in hours of sleep, hours being awake and content, gastrointestinal symptoms, colic status and satisfaction.
  • All outcomes were based on parental diaries and a final questionnaire.

What They Found

  • Of 200 recruited children, 185 completed the trial
  • Duration of crying in the treatment group was reduced by 1.5 h compared with 1 h in the control group but when adjusted for baseline hours of crying, age and chiropractic clinic, the difference was not significant
  • The proportion obtaining a clinically important reduction of 1 h of crying was 63% in the treatment group and 47% in the control group

Wrap It Up

“Excessive crying was reduced by half an hour in favor of the group receiving chiropractic care compared with the control group, but not at a statistically significant level after adjustments. From a clinical perspective, the mean difference between the groups was small, but there were large individual differences, which emphasizes the need to investigate if subgroups of children, e.g. those with musculoskeletal problems, benefit more than others from chiropractic care.”

Alright, that’s it. Y’all be safe. Keep changing our profession from your little corner of the world. Keep taking care of yourselves and everyone around you. Tough times are upon us but, the sun will shine again. Trust it, believe it, count on it.

Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week. 


Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at 



The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few.

It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient.

And, if the patient treats preventatively after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point:

At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints….

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show and tell us your suggestions for future episodes. 

Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on podcast platforms. 

We know how this works by now. If you value something, you have to share it, interact with it, review it, talk about it from time to time, and actively hit a few buttons to support it here and there when asked. It really does make a big difference. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.



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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & VloggerBibliography

1. Santilli V, B.E., Finucci S,, Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. Spine J, 2006. 6(2): p. 131-7.

2. Holm LV, J.D., Christensen HW, Sondergaard J, Hestbaek L,, The effect of chiropractic care on infantile colic: results from a single-blind randomised controlled trial. Chiropr Man Therap, 2021. 29.

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