Getting your back or neck “fixed” with a chiropractor has become very common today. People are now more aware about alternative therapies such as physiotherapy, Yoga, Pilates, chiropractic treatment and other type of therapies that can heal without having to undergo surgeries. Most good doctors also advise patients to undergo physiotherapy before considering surgeries. However, doctors also often prescribe pain medication and patients start relying on these medications. Although chiropractic treatment has become very popular, many of us still continue to be unaware about different aspects of it and wonder whether chiropractic treatment actually helps in resolving pain and other issues. We also have common questions such as whether chiropractors are doctors and whether they are even legit! This article will help you get rid of such misconceptions so that you can relax and be sure that if you visit a good chiropractor, you will indeed receive a top-notch treatment.
Top Common Chiropractic Myths Busted
Myth 1 – Chiropractors Are Not Really Doctors
A chiropractor is a trained and licensed medical professional who uses hands to correct and treat spine and various other areas of the body. This helps in pain management and reduction. Chiropractors do not not hold a medical degree or MD but they do have a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from a Council on Chiropractic Education accredited college that they complete after getting an undergraduate degree in sciences. Like doctors, they can choose to specialize in a certain area and can do a 2-3 year residency program. The extensive training allows chiropractors to be addressed as doctors, just like optometrists, dentists and PhD holders. So, chiropractors can be called doctors, they are 100 percent legit and not quacks.
Myth 2 – Chiropractic Adjustments Are Not Safe
This is a very popular myth and disbelief that many of us have. This common misconception has been spread either by those who took chiropractic services in a wrong way or made some wrong movements that they were not supposed to. There have also probably been patients that took treatment with chiropractors who were not experts or did not provide quality treatments, just like going to a bad doctor or dentist. There have been many studies to research if chiropractic treatment cause any negative results but none of them have been proven to be true. Taking pain medication, which is a common form of treatment in conventional medicine, has proven to be a lot more harmful than getting chiropractic treatment. All kinds of medical treatments carry some sort of risk. A common myth about dangers of chiropractic adjustments is that manipulation of the cervical region may lead to a stroke but there is no scientific evidence that proves this is true. People also feel that if you have had surgeries or procedures in the past, chiropractic treatments will be dangerous but it is important to provide your complete health history to your provider so that a treatment approach that suits you can be prescribed.
Myth 3 – Once You Visit a Chiropractor, You Have to Keep Going Back
It is said that chiropractic treatment takes a long time to deliver results and that if you start seeing a chiropractor, you have to keep going back for lots of sessions until you really see a difference. The most common complaint patients have is that they were in with their chiro for literally 2 minutes and their session was done. They say they were not even sure if they were really treated. Most alternative therapies or non-pharmaceutical approaches to conditions typically take longer to work than their conventional or allopathic counterparts but they also have permanent healing effects. Managing pain through medication is, as we all know, temporary and has side effects. Most spinal and other pain related surgeries also have side effects. When you visit a chiropractor, an assessment of the problem and an extensive physical exam along with required tests and X-rays or scans is conducted. Through this, the chiropractor determines the type and length of treatment that would be needed. Depending on the type of pain or condition, the length and number of sessions will differ for each individual. Like with a doctor, you should be able to discuss your treatment with your chiropractor and be comfortable with what is offered.
Myth 4 – Chiropractic Adjustments Are Painful
Most therapies that include an exercise or massage lead to some soreness. This is considered normal. This kind of pain always disappears within hours or after a couple of days after which patients report feeling good if not absolutely pain free. Many of us are also worried about the cracking noise that comes with adjusting of back and neck but this is caused not because of injury or breaking but because gas bubbles get released from joints when adjustments are performed. Sometimes chiropractors also perform adjustments that are more like a massage and they are definitely not painful. Adjustments to spine and or some joints may be uncomfortable or can cause pressure but they should not hurt if done the right way, with low amplitude and high velocity. Sometimes, patients already have inflammation and muscle spasms when they come in for treatment. If they then receive an adjustment in the same area, it can cause resistance and become sore, therefore it is important to let your chiro know if you already have pain and its severity. This helps your chiro to assess the cause and type of pain and then decide on the type of adjustment and pressure needed to apply.
Myth 5 – Chiropractors Only “Crack” Backs
Chiropractors treat a vast variety of problems in different ways. No doubt, chiropractors are trained neuromusculoskeletal experts and treat problems that originate in the muscles, nervous system and skeletal system but they also provide various other consultations. They advise patients about using correct posture, about general fitness, about ergonomics and maintaining a better lifestyle so that their condition or pain is managed effectively without turning to medication every time they experience pain. Chiropractors can treat subluxation, sciatica pain, car accident injuries, herniated disc, migraine headaches, neck pain, sport injuries, back pain, chronic pain, any other pain such that related to legs, feet, knees, hands, arms and other areas. An interesting and medicine free procedure that chiropractic therapy now addresses is changing the breech position of the baby in the uterus so that mothers can have a normal delivery versus a cesarean section. This method is called the Webster method. In this method, chiros perform a sacral adjustment to adapt the mother’s pelvic alignment and her nervous system function. This helps in bringing the fetal position to its optimum location. Chiropractors can also work on providing relaxation and flexibility so that the mothers can heal from sciatica, heartburn, pelvic pain, hip pain and back pain during pregnancy.
Myth 6 – Chiropractic Treatment is Expensive
Many patients believe that chiropractic treatments are expensive. However, most good insurance plans cover chiropractic treatments. Medicare also partly covers chiropractic treatments. Physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments are definitely cheaper than any other conventional medical treatments that involve drugs or surgeries. A chiro can diagnose and assess your condition in less cost than that of a CT or MRI scan. In addition to that, you do not end up paying medication costs that you incur regularly when you go to a specialist or a conventional medicine doctor.
So, if all this is true, why do chiropractors get a bad rap? This is because people expect faster results and fail to understand that chiropractic treatment is an alternative form of treatment unlike traditional medicine. Chiropractors works on correcting the root cause instead of masking symptoms with medications and surgeries. It is very important that as a patient, you are involved in understanding your treatment plan and have a clear and open discussion to make sure all your concerns are addressed before you choose to proceed with your treatment plan. Myths or misconceptions will always be there but if you suffer from chronic pain or other conditions that can be treated without medications, you should give chiropractic treatment a try.