Chiropractors and your sinuses

Dr. Rob: “Driving in to work today I went by a Chiropractor’s office with a marquee sign reading: Got Sinus Problems? See how Your Chiropractor can Help! . . .

. . . I am also fairly certain that this sign will do more for the chiropractor’s bank account than for the maxillary sinuses of the people he sees, he will continue to sell his wares to an eager public. This is not science, it is capitalism.”

Comments are moderated before they are published. Please read the comment policy.

  • Matthew


    I’m a little curious on your take on chiropractors as a whole. I’ve heard the whole range of opinions, from those that refuse to go more than two weeks without seeing one to people who see them as complete and total frauds. It seems that most actual MDs don’t think much of them. Is that the general case, and is that your opinion as well?

  • Anonymous

    The problem with chiropractors is that there are not enough people with back pain to go around.

    Therefore, in order to attract new “customers” they branch out WAY BEYOND their scope by claiming they can treat everything under the sun, from autism to blood clots.

    If chiropractors would just stick to back pain, most doctors wouldnt have a problem with them. But as long as they keep up this charlatan game by claiming they are “primary care physicians” then they will incur the disgust of physicians.

    Treating back pain however, doesnt pay as well as treating everything, so the choice for the scumbag pricks is obvious.

  • Anonymous

    Kevin, this has to THE stupidest f*cking thing to be posted on a medical website in ages. Where to begin??

    I sincerely hope Dr. Rob is ending his entry in a tongue and cheek fashion when he makes an appeal to doctors to look for the beam in their own eye before criticizing the mote in the chiropractor’s.

    You have to read the responses by chiropractors to the entry to believe your eyes. One guy writes about the impressive literature supporting chiropractic treatment by citing a single “paper” from 1996 about a case study on a single patient who underwent treatment and got better from her “sinus headache.”

    Wow. Now THAT’S what I call s-c-i-e-n-c-e!

    The problem that Dr. Rob inadvertently highlights is the extremely poor accuracy of diagnosis that is rendered in the general medical community with respect to this diagnosis.

    As an otolaryngologist I spend most of my time UN-diagnosing patients sent in with this condition. The ones whose cardinal complaint is pain, i.e “sinus headache” have no such thing. They have a normal physical exam and a normal CT scan. These patients invariably have a finding of TMD, C-spine DJD, or migraine variant. Sometimes all three. Conversely my patients with true sinusitis on PE and CT RARELY complain of pain.

    Many in my field have no problem operating on patients with a normal PE’s and CT’s on the strength of an unscientific belief that the “Sinus Pain” is originating from the sinuses. When said pain doesn’t get better, is it then any surprise that sinus surgery is often considered by the lay public to be worthless?

    Do I think that chiropractic or other manipulative treatment helps headache and face pain? You bet I do. But it helps in those cases whose etiology is a musculoskeletal in origin. The mechanism of this efficacy is beyond my comprehension.

    If chiropractors and other manipulators stuck to what they know best and stopped engaging in induction theories about their treatments, I’d have a lot more respect for them. But I can assure you they don’t have the foggiest idea of what they’re talking about in this instance.

  • Kristie McNealy

    I got an email a while back from a relative who wanted to know what I thought about chiropractic adjustment instead of tubes from chronic otitis media. I told them what my husband’s own chiropractor told him – “Any chiropractor that claims to be able to cure infections in little kids is a fraud.”

  • Criminallopath

    Chirofraud. What a load of bunk. The next chirofrauder you see… inquire of him of any double blind studies that show the difference between a spine with subluxed motion segments and a normal spine. Then again those that have given us railway spine, fibromyalgia and made-up pain syndrome don’t really have much room to talk.

  • SpineDoc4

    Wow, where to begin. Where are all the double blind studies that show the effectiveness of lumbar fusion? You’d think there would be a plethora of evidence supporting it since it is so costly and irreversible, right???


    (crickets chirping)

    There is statistically no solid evidence supporting lumbar fusion surgery, especially when comparing those who had surgery and those who elected to wait it out and get help from a chiro, PT, accupuncturist, etc. Yet they’re still doing lumbar fusions all the time. There’s an orthopod in my town that does them all the time and many of them see me afterwards. I’m not saying it isn’t necessary for some, but it’s horribly overutilized. Not to mention that there is no statistical evidence that the prescription of antibiotics for otitis media does anything, which is significant because that is the most common reason for doctor’s visits for children. It keeps big pharma’s stock up and pediatrician’s offices busy, though, doesn’t it?? Where’s the science in THAT? Don’t throw stones when you live in the biggest glass house on the block.

    And Criminallopath I (gasp) treat nurses, pharmacists, a couple of MDs (OMG) and a bunch of MDs wives, so you’re not as ahead of the curve as you might think with your close-minded hateful speech. We haven’t gone away and we won’t. You may not agree with everything we have to say, and that’s alright. But to call it “bunk” and “fraud” is not only wrong, but it makes you look like an idiot. Kristie McNealy, there’s a lot to chiropractic and otitis media. It’s all about Eustachian tube drainage, which, when obstructed, leads to a great habitat for viral and bacteral infection. The upper cervical spine has a lot of impact on the Eustachian tube. Don’t listen to these haters. They’d be happy if you kept your kids on a constant antibiotic drip in between several tube surgeries.

  • SpineDoc4

    Kristie, after re-reading your post, what that chiropractor said was ABSOLUTELY right. Chiropractic adjustments don’t cure infections. Again, antibiotics can’t cure viral infections, but MDs prescribe them for ear infections, althought the majority of ear infections are viral. (Hmmmmm) However, by making certain aspects of your anatomy less hospitable to viruses, one can help prevent chronic ear infections. Ask that chiropractor (or your MD for that matter) if they’re familiar with the tensor veli palatini muscle. It connects to the Eustachian tube and the upper cervical spine. Upper cervical misalignments put undue tension on this muscle, obstructing the Eustachian tube. This is especially true with children, because their Eustachian tubes run more horizontal than in adults, making the tube more prone to obstruction. I had a patient who had a “plugged ear” for DECADES and had seen multiple MDs, ENTs, etc. who told her to “deal with it.” She didn’t come into my office for that, but she had neck pain and headaches, and she didn’t even mention her ear until after I treated her. After one treatment to her upper cervical spine, her ear became unplugged. Was it a miracle? Nope. Did I “un-pinch” a nerve so some mystical energy could “flow,” allowing her to heal? Nope. The adjustment most likely corrected dysfunction in the musculature. Restoring that system, affecting the patency of the Eustachian tube, and the ear becomes unplugged. She’s thrilled. Do all people with plugged ears or hearing loss need a chiropractor? No. It could be an acoustic neuroma, for all I know. But don’t let anyone tell you that adjustments NEVER affect ear infections, plugged ears, or tinnitus, because it can. Maybe not every time, but there is no treatment, be it medical, chiropractic or otherwise that works EVERY time. Unfortunately, some chiropractors do believe that adjustments are a magic bullet. Unfortunately, some medical doctors are just as overzealous with drugs and surgery being the only options available in regards to your health. Things are changing, however, and for the better, but old prejudices die a very slow, but necessary death.

  • Anonymous

    Some people do not realize why chiropractors target customers who have more than just back pain. The reason they are targeting sinuses, in this response, is because we have sinuses in our necks. Any esthetician or massage therapist will also say the same thing. They study these sinuses of the body. If a person’s neck is out of alignment, then yes, an adjustment can help a person’s sinuses. If you have never been to a chiropractor before, try one, before you judge and post again.