The Advertising Standards Authority recently released new guidance which has led to some debates as to whether chiropractic can help with sports injuries and whether chiropractors are able to list their services on a website such as SportsInjuryFix.com. The simple answer is yes, but with some caveats.
The British Chiropractic Association told us: Chiropractors can advertise to treat sport injuries but the claims have to comply with the guidance. Putting "minor" before sports injuries is compliant. Advertising on a sports injury website is no problem as long as there is no implication that chiropractors can treat more serious sports injuries.
The General Chiropractic Council told us: The GCC is unable to act in an advisory capacity, firstly, for the reason that, as a regulator, we have a duty to remain impartial and also because we do not set advertising guidelines but issue guidance in line with the governing body (the ASA). Our guidance is based on the ASA guidelines.
The formal view from the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is as follows:
The ASA and the CAP have seen evidence sufficient to support claims that chiropractic can help with a range of problems which may arise from sports injury. However, there are many conditions which may be caused by such injuries for which the ASA/CAP have not seen evidence. Chiropractors may claim that chiropractic can help with minor sports injuries and with specific conditions (for which the ASA/CAP have seen evidence of efficacy) which may be caused by sports injuries, including highlighting that those problems may arise from sports injury.
Problems which may arise from sports injury which chiropractors may claim chiropractic can help with (‘acceptable conditions’):
General aches and pain, including those of joints, muscle spasms and cramp
Rotator cuff injuries, diseases or disorders; soft tissue disorders of the shoulder; shoulder complaints, dysfunction, disorders and pain
Short-term management of ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis
Elbow pain and tennis elbow arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck (but not isolated occurrences)
Claims relating to sports injuries are unlikely to mislead if:
Generalised claims that chiropractic can help “sports injuries” are qualified to either:
a) Make clear that chiropractic cannot help with all conditions caused by sports injuries (e.g. “we treat minor sports injuries / we treat some sport injuries”); or
b) Refer to specific problems which the ASA/CAP accept chiropractic can help with
Explicit or implied treatment claims (including through symptoms referred to) are restricted to those which the ASA/CAP accept chiropractic can help with
They describe methods of diagnosis and treatment that a chiropractor uses for injuries sustained during sporting activities
They give details of the specific qualifications or experience in this area of the chiropractor/s whose services are advertised.
The full ASA guidance can be found here.
If you have any questions or comments about this we'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @SportsInjuryFix