Common and some not so common myths
If you are considering chiropractic but remain fearful due to some common stereotypes or common but untrue thoughts, join the club. Chiropractic is different. It is not yet considered mainstream. Yet chiropractic has brought results to millions since 1895 and caused them to rethink the nature of health and the role of chiropractic care in it. It is time that we address these myth upfront and reveal the truth through education.
"Chiropractors are not real doctors."
If you think that chiropractors are not real doctors, your idea of a “real” doctor has probably been formed to a stereotype generated by the mass media. Many have come to think of a doctor as someone who prescribes drugs or performs surgery. They think of a “real” doctor as someone in a white coat with a stethoscope around their neck spending a brief 2-5 minutes with you which ends with a prescription slip.
A medical doctor (MD) and a chiropractor (DC) have both received a degree from a government accredited medical school or chiropractic college and are licensed to practice. Chiropractors undergo 4700 hours of training, with the addition of adjusting technique, nutrition, physiotherapy and radiology. Medical doctors undergo 4550 hours of training, with the addition of pharmacology, immunology and general surgery. Although both types of doctors receive similar training, they differ in their approach to healing. Medical doctors lean primarily on drugs and surgeries while chiropractors look to address the cause of dysfunction by improving the nervous system.
Clearly, these are two very different philosophies. The medical doctor is essential for emergent situations and should be a last resort when dealing with symptoms. The chiropractor should be the primary care physician. They truly promote health and wellness and prevent progression of dis-ease.
“Once I go to a Chiropractor, I have to keep going for the rest of my life.”
This is one of the most common myths out there about chiropractic and it couldn’t be further from the truth. The myth arose from the reality that once someone began chiropractic care, they would never stop. This is due to the fact that chiropractic care improves your overall health and well-being. Just like working out or eating nutritiously, once you begin to reap the benefits of feeling better, you choose to continue that lifestyle. Most patients notice a tremendous physical improvement with chiropractic care and they want to keep feeling good. There is no “addiction” that occurs.
"Children don't need Chiropractic care."
This myth goes hand in hand with the assumption that chiropractors are only needed when back pain is present. Please see the myth titled “chiropractors are for back pain only” for a further explanation. Vertebral subluxations arise in people of all ages. The common question is actually “how do my kids get a subluxation?” There are several answers to this question:
The birth process
– Slips and falls
– Not crawling properly
– Not walking properly
– Sleeping in the wrong position
– Sports and activities
– Text neck
For all the parents out there – you know this list is endless. However, since children have such an adaptive capacity, these problems are often brushed off as “growing pains” or just a “phase they’re going through.” However, vertebral subluxations are actually more harmful in a child than they are in an adult. This is because the skeletal system is still growing and developing and has not yet ossified. Therefore, a simple subluxation, when not correct in a child, can become a permanent abnormality in the spine. Like the saying goes “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” The concern that many parents have is that chiropractic adjustments will be too forceful. They mistakenly think that their child will receive adjustments like ones they receive.
Not only are adjusting techniques modified for each person’s size and unique spinal problem, an infant’s spine rarely has the long-standing muscle tightness seen in adults. This allows a child’s chiropractic adjustment to be just as effective with less force. Newborns and infants are adjusted with no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato. You will not hear any sound or see any twisting motion with infant adjusting. It is a simple contact with the index or 5th finger coupled with light pressure application. Many parents have testified that they see almost instant improvements in the well-being of their child. There are also hundreds of research studies testifying to the benefits experienced in children. Please see the tab “Who We Help” for some, or visit www.icpa4kids.com for a longer list of studies.
“Chiropractic care isn’t safe.”
Safety first. Not only is “do no harm” part of the oath that doctors take, but it is also a pretty good principle for all of us to live by. But, no matter how safe you are, there are times when you get hurt or injured. And finding the healthcare option that is safe, provides excellent results, and has high patient satisfaction can be tricky. Or is it? In 2007, SPINE (one of the worlds most respected research journals) looked at data from over 50,000 chiropractic adjustments given to nearly 20,000 patients. And they found chiropractic care to be incredibly safe and effective. Sources stated below:
– Research has shown chiropractic care to be extremely safe
– SPINE examined nearly 20,000 patients and found zero complications
The argument about safety concerns is an example of “junk science” and is a favorite by those who have an interest in discouraging people from seeking chiropractic care. Because of the popularity of this myth, year after year it has been the subject of countless research projects. The result of these studies show complications from neck adjustments, the supposedly “riskiest” chiropractic procedure, are exceedingly rare:
1972 – One death in several tens of million adjustments.1
1978 – One in 10,000,000 neck adjustments.2
1981 – One in a 1,000,000 neck adjustments.3
1983 – Two to three per 1,000,000 adjustments.4
1985 – One in 400,000 neck adjustments.5
1993 – One in 3,846,153 neck adjustments.6
1995 – One in 2,000,000 neck adjustments.7
1996 – One in 900,000 neck adjustments.8
The most recent in-depth review of the relationship between stroke and chiropractic care, was published in the February 15, 2008 issue of Spine Journal. It looked at 10 years of hospital records, involving 100 million personyears. The verdict? There was no evidence of an increase in vertebral artery dissection risk with chiropractic, compared with medical management. Based on this review, stroke, particularly vertebrobasilar dissection, should be considered a random and unpredictable complication of any neck movement, including cervical manipulation. In other words, cases of serious injury are practically nonexistent.
By comparison, it makes the deaths caused by over-the-counter-pain-relievers to be considerably more troubling! Although reports vary, annual deaths in the United States attributable to NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, ketoprofen and tiaprofenic acid) range from 3,200 to higher than 16,500 deaths and 76,000 hospitalizations.9 The truth is that chiropractic care is safer than many medications, and has far less risk than surgery. The proof is in the pudding! Even risk-adverse insurance companies recognize the safety of today’s chiropractic care. The premiums for malpractice insurance paid by chiropractors are a mere fraction of what medical practitioners must pay. Chiropractic care is safe.
“Chiropractic is un-scientific.”
As the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it, scientific is: the principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment and then testing the resulting hypotheses. With that being said, chiropractic is quite scientific. Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that the nervous system controls and regulates virtually every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body. This is proven. Chiropractic has also been warranted in the thousands or peer-reviewed research studies performed. Data was collected through observation and experiment with the chiropractic adjustment, and the hypotheses were proven true.
These include published research documenting the results of chiropractic care on asthma, infantile colic, immune function, dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), improving vision and brain function, lower back pain, one’s overall health status and many others (please see “Who We Help” for some of these studies). The “scientific” argument is largely a red herring and the sign of a double standard. Medical economist David Eddy, MD, Ph.D., observes that only 15% of medical procedures have ever been scientifically verified, and the other 85% of common medical procedures have no “scientific basis!” Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. Ask our delighted patients whether or not chiropractic is scientific.
“Chiropractic care is expensive.”
This myth is always fun to address. Just like any other health care service, there is a cost to chiropractic care. The good news however with chiropractic care is that it is much less expensive to address an issue early on rather than waiting for it to progress. Drugs and surgeries are much more expensive than a chiropractic adjustment and often times are not successful. The other good news here is that most insurances cover chiropractic care! Often, there are low deductibles and low co-pays. Call your health insurance company to inquire on what chiropractic benefits you have.
“I don’t have back pain so I don’t need a chiropractor.”
This myth comes simply from lack of education on chiropractic. If you have read any portion of our website, I am sure that you are now aware that chiropractic is much more than pain relief. The important thing to understand here is that pain is a symptom – it is your body’s way of telling you that there is a problem. Pain is also one of the last components to appear in a vertebral subluxation. In fact, the joint has to lose 60% function before pain surfaces. Therefore, even if you do not have back pain yet, it is important to see a chiropractor to check for vertebral subluxation. The idea is to correct the vertebral subluxation before they ever cause any pain.as to lose 60% function before pain surfaces. Therefore, even if you do not have back pain yet, it is important to see a chiropractor to check for vertebral subluxation. The idea is to correct the vertebral subluxation before they ever cause any pain.s. Therefore, even if you do not have back pain yet, it is important to see a chiropractor to check for vertebral subluxation. The idea is to correct the vertebral subluxation before they ever cause any pain.
“The chiropractic adjustment is painful.”
Some may think that the chiropractic adjustment appears painful due to the loud cavitation (popping sound) that it produces. Nonetheless, when observing a chiropractic adjustment, the somewhat forceful thrust may also be perceived as painful. However this is most often not the case. The chiropractic adjustment is in fact the complete opposite – it actually feels good for most people. As research shows, there is an immediate endorphin (the feel-good hormone) release following the chiropractic adjustment. This promotes a pleasant overall sensation after the adjustment. The somewhat forceful thrust does not typically cause pain due to the speed of the adjustment.
However it is important to note that in some acute cases; when someone presents in a lot of pain, the adjustment can be painful. This is simply due to the fact that all touch would be tender in the affected area due to inflammation. The good news here is that the correction of an acute subluxation results in immediate relief, and the split second of pain is definitely worth the permanent relief.
“I can crack my back just as good.”
Yes, it is true that you can create a popping sound by twisting your neck or rotating your torso. This release of pressure might even feel good too! However it is crucial to understand that these “self-adjustments” are very destructive to your spine. The reason why you feel like you need to crack your own back is because there is a vertebral subluxation present; there is a joint or bone that is “stuck” and causing a problem. When you try to fix this yourself, it is actually creating more issues and not even solving the primary problem. The reason being is that the popping sound is coming from the joints above and below the problem area. This is actually creating instability; it is over-stretching the ligaments in these joints and will create arthritis in the surrounding joints from the wear and tear. When you receive an adjustment from a specific chiropractor, the true vertebral subluxation will be corrected without creating any other problems.