Myths About Chiropractic
Myth #1: Chiropractors crack your bones
A chiropractic adjustment is the focused mobilization of a specific joint in the body and acts to affect the joints position and movement. The audible sound sometimes heard (not always!) during an adjustment is caused by the opening of the joint space and the expansion of gases within that space. A chiropractic adjustment does not affect the bones on either side of a joint – it affects the connective tissues that hold that joint together. Not ALL chiropractic treatment plans involve manipulation, and it is not uncommon for a patient’s treatment to include a variety of techniques: electrical modalities, soft tissue/muscle work, exercise advice, stretching, ergonomic advice and nutritional counseling.
Myth #2: You have to go for the rest of your life
If you are being treated for a specific problem, the treatment plan should end when the problem is resolved. If your problem is chronic (you have been suffering for more than 3 months) or recurrent, or you wish to avoid future problems, you may benefit from periodic care to stay ahead of accumulative strains and acute flare-ups. Dental care is similar to chiropractic in this way.
Bottom line is….it’s YOUR choice! You are never obligated to continue treatment! In my practice, most (about 90%) of patients choose to come back for regular check-ups that vary from every 2 weeks to every 6 months – this depends on their lifestyle and health care goals. The most recent research states that patients with a chronic condition benefit best from chiropractic management every week, or a minimum of twice a month. This may seem like a lot, but remember – the problem is chronic for a reason – perhaps you sit hunched over a computer for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week or you participate in sports with your buddies every weekend! Giving up the things you love or that provide a living for you and your family are not always an option!
The main inference of Myth #2 is that chiropractic care is addictive. If continuing to do something that gives you an increased level of heath and decrease pain is addictive, then maybe it is! Remember – the amount of care you utilize is always up to you! Most patients who see huge changes in their energy, immune function, sleep pattern, pain level and general well-being choose to maintain regular chiropractic care as an integral part of their lifestyle.
Myth #3: Chiropractors are not real doctors
In order for a chiropractor to practice in the USA, they must attend and then graduate from a 4 year Graduate Degree Program at a Nationally recognized institution as a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.). A D.C. program takes 4 years to complete and includes at least 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training. This is only possible after completing an undergraduate program. After all the schooling (which includes the study of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, toxicopharmacology, microbiology, and neurology, amongst MANY others) you must pass 4 Parts of National Boards, Physiotherapy and a specific State Board Exam to qualify for a license. To maintain their license, a chiropractor must complete 24 hours per year of continuing education courses to ensure updated knowledge in all aspects of patient care. We are Primary Care Physicians, accepted by Medicare and Insurance companies as such.
Myth #4: It’s only for adults, not children
Chiropractic is especially necessary for young athletes involved in contact sports or informal recreation; however, parents bring their children to chiropractors for everyday health concerns, such as asthma, common infections (most commonly, otitis media, or an ear infection), bed-wetting, falls, ADD, and colds. Research has shown that children under the care of chiropractors have less colds and infections, and, when they do get sick, the symptoms do not last as long!
Myth #5: Chiropractic is only for back pain
The benefits of chiropractic are much greater than helping with back pain! Chiropractors are trained to care for ALL of the joints in your body – from your big toe to your little finger! In fact, my personal philosophy has me examining the FEET of almost all my patients! As your ‘pedal-base’, your feet carry you through life and deserve attention – joints of the foot or ankle that are not functioning properly can cause imbalances up the kinetic chain and can go as far as causing chronic headaches! Conditions such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip osteoarthritis, and knee ligamentous injury are ALL amenable to chiropractic treatment – and it is usually the first line of treatment for them!
Myth #6: It is too expensive
The key to understanding Myth #6: Quality of Life! Those who have experienced long-term care and the chiropractic lifestyle know it doesn’t cost – it PAYS! One specific study showed that 87% of long-time chiropractic patients considered their health as excellent, they took less medications, and experienced less chronic conditions associated with aging.
Myth #7: Adjustments are painful
Most of the time, a spinal adjustment will not hurt at all – in fact, most patients experience a great sense of relief after receiving one! An adjustment should never ‘hurt’.
Myth #8: There is no scientific proof that it works
Over the years, there have been hundreds of studies proving the validity of chiropractic in improving the health of millions of people all over the world! Studies done over the past 5 years have proven the positive benefits of increased immune function, general wellbeing, and increased brain functioning, too! The science is there – all you have to do is look! The ICL (Index to Chiropractic Literature) is a gateway to the literature published in chiropractic journals.
Myth #9: I can crack my back on my own
By trying to crack your own back, you may actually be causing more problems. First off, it is difficult to achieve – there is a reason chiropractors have four years of training! More importantly, however, is that proper positioning is essential for a chiropractic adjustment – this is near impossible to accomplish on your own. When you attempt to adjust yourself, any joint that is capable of moving can achieve a “pop” sound which makes most people think that their self-manipulation was successful; however, this does not mean that you have restored the proper movement to the right joint! Along with the “pop” comes the release of endorphins – giving you a brief sense of euphoria and making you feel that you have cured your problem. Have you felt this before? Unfortunately, you have also probably experienced that the initial pain or discomfort will likely return approximately 20 minutes later. If you continue to adjust yourself every 20 minutes for relief, your joints will become hypermobile (have too much motion) and, thus, unstable. This instability will lead to more serious problems down the road. I highly advise against self-adjusting! As a chiropractor, I see another chiropractor to make sure my spine is in top shape – even with my extensive training, I don’t adjust myself!
Myth #10: Your bones grind against each other during an adjustment.
The noise is actually the release of CO2 gas from the spine that creates the popping sound you hear after the adjustments. It’s called Boyle’s Law in Physics. We do not crack bones, pop bones, crunch them or bang them together. Trust me, if we cracked bones nobody would ever come back to see us.