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Giving credit where credit is not due

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 5, 2010

I ran across this Samuel L. Jackson story about his troubles with back pain. It turns out he had to get an epidural to finish shooting SWAT, and had to have back surgery after the filming was over.

“When I was doing S.W.A.T. I woke up one morning… I couldn’t move. I rolled out of bed, crawled to the bathroom, I took, like, eight Advil (painkillers) and eventually I ended up getting an epidural so I could finish the movie,” he explained. “Then two days after the movie was over they discovered I had a cyst on my sciatica so they plucked that off and I was done, I could walk. Then last year I ended up with a crushed nerve between my L4 and L5, so I have what’s known as a coflex device which is a titanium piece built like a seat and is clamped to the upper phalange and the lower phalanges so when I bend forward it opens and when I bend backwards it closes so I can still turn fully without getting fused. So I’ve had a couple of back things.”

It’s always nice to see stories of actual science-based medicine helping people, and it doesn’t hurt when a celebrity sings its praises. But then, the article had to close with this:

The 61-year-old now relies on acupuncture to keep himself in shape, saying he can’t get enough of the practice. “It’s one of my favourite things. I get it all the time, like twice a week, for my well being,” he told American talk show host Ellen Degeneres. “I just go and get my ‘waa’ put in place, and get everything moving.”

*Sigh* Samuel, Samuel…Samuel! Why? Acupuncture is bunk; acupuncture did not come to your help when you really needed it; in fact, acupuncture could not have helped you with your back problems (check out a few studies I link to in my Important Studies page). Why is it that all these alt med modalities can’t seem to help with anything that can be objectively measured, such as the problem you had when shooting SWAT for example? Why is it that it is only those very subjective things that acupuncture seems to help with?

Samuel, I know money is not an issue for you, but still I urge you to stop wasting it. Donate it to charity instead; trust me it will make you feel better.

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