Science-Based Satire: Chiropractors… in Space? | Science-Based Medicine

NASA Names First Chief of New Space Chiropractic Division

Washington, DC – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has named Frank Grimes, DC as the first Director of its new Space Chiropractic Division (SCD), which will begin offering full spinal analysis, maintenance of optimal spinal health, mission support services , and management of nervous system complications related to space travel to United States astronauts and other NASA personnel.

A NASA certified activator, shown here correcting a C1 subluxation in a man with stage 4 text neck, will be available for use on the ISS with an option to be set to stun or kill in the case of xenomorphs.

“NASA is dedicated to ensuring that our astronauts are mission ready at all times,” JD Polk, NASA’s Chief Health and Medical Officer explained. “And that also means doing everything we can to promote recovery after those missions have been successfully completed.”

Space wreaks havoc on the spine because humans didn’t evolve in microgravity like tardigrades or space penguins. We weren’t designed to function optimally in that environment, which can result in spinal stress and ultimately a subluxation. According to Dr. Grimes, our understanding of the chiropractic subluxation has advanced significantly since the early days.

We weren’t always sure exactly what they were, only that they existed and that they were bad. Now we know that subluxation is a complex of functional and / or structural and / or pathological articular changes that can involve our bones, muscles, joints, brain, other organs, and every individual cell throughout the human body. I can’t help but wonder how many lives could have been optimized if we had figured that out a hundred years ago!

In addition to offering services as specialists in spinal health, the Space Chiropractic Division will also help design and implement scientific experiments in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). According to Dr. Grimes, they will also actively participate in planning for an eventual crewed mission to Mars.

You don’t tell an astronaut to stop brushing her teeth just because there aren’t any dentists in space. You give her the tools and you teach her how to use them. Who knows what spending two years in microgravity with all that cosmic radiation will do to the communication between the brain and the various organ systems? We need to be ready for anything!

SCD Chief Frank Grimes, shown here smiling, is offering a “Lauch into Spinal Health” special for only $ 59.

First announced a year ago, the creation of the SCD has been well received by a chiropractic community that has fought for recognition as a legitimate healthcare field since inventor Daniel David Palmer made it all up in 1895. Grimes, who began his career as a private practice chiropractor in Belvidere, Nebraska, obtained a diploma in space chiropractic from the American Academy of Space Chiropractic upon completion of a grueling online course and 3 weekend seminars at the Best Western Vista Inn at the Airport in Boise. Though it may be a long shot, he hasn’t ruled out a visit to the ISS.

I’ve had this dream for a very long time and it’s an honor to serve my country, and to serve as an inspiration for anyone out there looking for a way to make a difference on this planet and off of it. Like in space.

Dr. Grimes, who claims to perform more than a million chiropractic adjustments each year, is not very good at estimating and is afraid of heights, which would make becoming an astronaut a bit of a challenge. But overcoming obstacles is something that the chiropractic profession has always excelled at. The men and women at NASA can now rest a little easier knowing that experts at the SCD are going to infinity and beyond to ensure that they stay healthy and safe.

Deorbiting the nonsense

What was my inspiration for this attempt at satire aimed at pointing out the absurdity of certain aspects of the chiropractic profession, such as goofy toys like the activator, special training in bogus specialties, and deals on spine exams? Well, space medicine is an actual specialty and it sounds fascinating. Though many chiropractors function like physical therapists and can provide helpful, science-based services, many also see themselves as an equivalent to conventional medicine. Thus space chiropractic was born.

  • Clay Jones, MD is a pediatrician and a regular contributor to the Science-Based Medicine blog. He primarily cares for healthy newborns and hospitalized children, and devotes his full time to educating pediatric residents and medical students. Dr. Jones first became aware of and interested in the incursion of pseudoscience into his chosen profession while completing his pediatric residency at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital a decade ago. He has since focused his efforts on teaching the application of critical thinking and scientific skepticism to the practice of pediatric medicine. Dr. Jones has no conflicts of interest to disclose and no ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He can be found on Twitter as @SBMPediatrics and is the co-host of The Prism Podcast with fellow SBM contributor Grant Ritchey. The comments expressed by Dr. Jones are his own and do not represent the views or opinions of Newton-Wellesley Hospital or its administration.

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