Did you know chiropractic care has been around for about 120 years? Despite decades of positive results for patients and mountains of scientific research, many in the medical establishment have been slow to embrace chiropractic as a natural, science-based treatment for dozens of conditions, from back pain and migraines to asthma and sciatica.
Most skepticism stems from misconceptions that aren’t based on in-depth knowledge or direct experience with chiropractic care. Fortunately, even the FDA is coming around to the benefits of chiropractic care. Just last year, the FDA proposed changes to its guidelines about treating pain, recommending that medical doctors get up to speed on how chiropractic and acupuncture can help patients relieve pain and avoid prescription opioids.
That’s a big step in the right direction, but a number of myths about chiropractic care continue to linger. Let’s discuss the five myths that I still hear on a regular basis.
1) “It Hurts!”
Crack. Pop. Bone crusher. These are some of the terms that people still associate with chiropractors. But any cracking or popping sounds you hear during a chiropractic adjustment are nothing more than the release of air or gas when pressure in a joint is relieved. Those are typically signs of progress. And they don’t hurt.
The fact is, chiropractors don’t crack or pop backs and necks. We don’t crush bones. Based on our knowledge of the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems, we diagnose the source of your condition and apply pressure to vertebra (bones in the back) – gently and painlessly.
By keeping your spine in line, you make it easier for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. Many patients notice a difference after their first treatment. They often feel looser and less stiff. They stand up straighter. They sleep better. They think more clearly.
But I have yet to have a patient jump off the table in pain.
2) “I’ll Be Going Forever!”
How often you see a chiropractor and for how long depend on your condition. For an acute condition, like an injury, you might only need a few appointments. Chronic lower back pain might require treatment over a longer period of time. Some patients like how chiropractic care makes them feel and come back regularly for maintenance and injury prevention. It’s really up to the patient.
Think of it this way. You brush and floss your teeth every day. You go to the dentist twice a year for cleanings. If you don’t, you could get cavities and develop gum disease. Spinal health requires ongoing maintenance that chiropractic can provide, but one visit doesn’t mean you have to go for the rest of your life.
3) “Chiropractors Aren’t Real Doctors.”
This implies that chiropractors aren’t as educated or qualified as medical doctors. In reality, chiropractors attend four years of undergraduate school and another four or five years of graduate school to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree. Chiropractors also have to pass national and state board certifications to be licensed.
The biggest difference between chiropractors and medical doctors is that chiropractors can’t prescribe medicine. Because our goal as chiropractors is to help the body heal itself, we’re okay with that. We believe prescription drugs have their place but should be used temporarily and sparingly.
Medical doctors and chiropractors each have their areas of expertise. For example, few medical doctors are qualified to evaluate the human spine and perform a chiropractic adjustment. We recommend seeking out a medical doctor and chiropractor who are willing to work together in your best interests.
4) “It’s Dangerous!”
Chiropractic care by a highly trained, licensed chiropractor who takes the time to discuss your history and properly evaluate your condition is far safer and less risky than surgery or prescription painkillers. That’s why many physicians recommend chiropractic care before deciding on surgery, which should always be a last resort.
While no healthcare treatment on the face of the earth is 100 percent risk-free, chiropractic care is widely considered to be a safe, low-risk treatment method.
5) “Chiropractic Is Only for Adults.”
From newborns to seniors, people of all ages can benefit from chiropractic care. This is often a revelation for parents during their own chiropractic appointments. I’ve treated a number of children after treating their parents.
The youngest person I’ve ever treated was my niece when she was just a couple hours old. Of course, chiropractic adjustments are different for newborns, toddlers, teens and adults because of their bone structure.
Don’t let misconceptions keep you from treatment that can help you feel better without medication or surgery. If you have questions or concerns about chiropractic care, contact us for a consultation.