Newspaper portrayals of spinal manipulation therapy: Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom

Abstract: 

Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is a popular form of treatment for back pain among other musculoskeletal disorders, and it has received increasing media attention. Yet, despite its popularity, SMT is surrounded by controversy, mainly in regards to issues of safety and efficacy. To better understand how the media portrays SMT, we explored the content of print newspapers in Canada, the U.S., and U.K., including article framing, evidence of efficacy, risks and benefits, and the overall tone of the article in terms of whether or not the article was supporting, opposing or neutral about SMT. Results indicate that safety concerns and evidence for efficacy are rarely mentioned, but framing plays a large role in portrayals of SMT in each of the countries.

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Published: 

27 February 2013