Chiropractic is one of the most misunderstood health care professions. Historically we’ve been perceived as quacks and as a result, many myths about chiropractic persist in our culture. As clients, subscribers or followers of us you may think that’s nonsense given your improvements or experience with Chiropractic. So I thought why not lay out some of the common myths about chiropractic and my take on them:
Chiropractic adjustments are painful
Contrary to popular belief, chiropractic adjustments are gentle and safe. Generally they cause no more discomfort than getting your hair cut or sitting in a high-backed chair for long periods of time. In fact, most patients report feeling relaxed immediately following an adjustment and significantly enjoy the benefits that come from regular adjustments. Naturally, some people do feel a bit achy afterwards, but this shouldn’t be much more than the ache you get after doing exercise for the first time in a while.
Chiropractic adjustments aren’t safe
This is just wrong and actually you are hundreds of times more likely to suffer an adverse reaction to taking an aspirin than you are from having a chiropractic adjustment. Most people don’t realize that there are more than 100,000 adverse reactions each year from taking a simple aspirin, while there are fewer than 100 adverse reactions to chiropractic adjustments, meaning the risk of serious adverse reactions from being adjusted is vanishingly small.
Chiropractors only treat backs and necks
Chiropractors are experts in treating various musculoskeletal conditions, but this is not the only area of health they have expertise in. In fact, many patients don’t realize how many health issues can improve just from going to see a chiropractor.
As an example, did you know that chiropractors are recognized as the leading authorities on headaches and migraines? Studies have shown that regular adjustments can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines by as much as 75 percent!
Chiropractors can also treat many other conditions, including but not limited to:
- Elbow pain and tennis elbow
- Headache arising from the neck
- Joint pains including hip and knee pain
- General, acute & chronic backache, back pain
- Generalised aches and pains
- Mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e. whiplash)
- Sports injuries
- Muscle spasms
- Rotator cuff and Shoulder injuries
The most common reasons people seek out chiropractic care include back pain and neck pain as well as headaches, but Chiropractic is about so much more than decreasing someone’s pain……
You don’t need to see a chiropractor if you aren’t in pain
While it’s true that chiropractic care is often used to treat pain, a chiropractor can also help with a variety of other problems. Chiropractic treatments can help to improve your health in many different ways and you might be surprised by some of the other comments we receive when we ask what else has changed except the pain. Some patients report better sleep, less constipation, better digestion, less reflux, more energy, better mood, less period pains.
Chiropractic has never been about decreasing pain though, and instead focuses on allowing the body to heal and function better. Think about it…. pain is a symptom of dysfunction in the body. So is it better to try to calm the symptom and cover it up, or to rectify the cause of the problem. The difference here, is that often the cause of a problem is present but asymptomatic for a long time before people even notice they have something wrong. Typically then the pain will come along and the dysfunction will be deeply rooted. One thing I hear a lot in practice is patients saying they wish they had come to see us earlier.
Many people are surprised to learn that I get adjusted weekly, but as I tell everyone, it’s not because I have an issue, but because I don’t want to have one. I want to function as well as I can for as long as I can, and decrease the chances of any issues arising.
So why wait for pain, why not get adjusted before issues come about.
Once you see a chiropractor you have to keep going back
When we discuss care recommendations, they are just that – recommendations. Our examination and identification of the true cause of the symptoms, pain or dysfunction along with your needs and goals will help us to draw up our suggested treatment plan. This normally consists of a number of initial visits to maximise mobility and increase healing as quickly as possible, but depending on the patient and the condition, the recommended course of care may vary. As someone passes through care and notices good improvements we do tend to recommend that they maintain these changes to avoid relapsing. I always use the analogy that if your goal is to have a six pack, and you eat well, go to the gym and commit the time to make it happen, then once you achieve it, what would you do? If you stop exercising, start eating poor foods then naturally you will expect those changes to slip and the same is true of the spine. You will always be better off maintaining progress, than “seeing how things go” as things only tend to go one way unfortunately. Ultimately, the decision to continue care is, and always will be, yours, but in my opinion, you’ll always be better off for it.
“A quick crack is all I need”
Chiropractic care is more than just a simple spinal adjustment, and even then, the crack does nothing to change your pain, mobility or anything really. The way an adjustment works is to increase joint mobility, allow your nerves to communicate with your brain and body better and therefore increase healing. The noise of an adjustment comes from the popping of a gas bubble within the joint fluid. It’s a completely incidental thing and is therefore unrelated to the outcome of an adjustment, i.e. a loud pop does not signal a better adjustment than a quiet pop. Similarly no pop doesn’t mean that nothing has happened. The neurological change that we as Chiropractors are achieving comes from the stretch of the ligaments of the joint capsule.
Children don’t need Chiropractic care as they aren’t old enough to have problems
Chiropractic care is safe for all children of every age, starting from infancy and up to the teenage years. Onestudy estimated that a child may experience up to 1,500 traumas to the spine before their fifth birthday. Now imagine that happened to you…..you fell down, hundreds of times, fell off your bike, banged your head and accumulated loads of knocks, I’m sure you’d feel like you needed a good adjustment. No imagine the potential for growth and development if a child regularly saw a chiropractor, the adverse effects of these traumas could be minimized or corrected easily and efficiently, allowing them to live their best life
I can just do it myself at home
A self-adjustment may appear to work and for a lot of people does provide a short period of relief, but it is actually just a false treatment that actually makes things worse in the long run. Basically by adjusting yourself, instead of moving the restricted and dysfunctional segment/vertebrae that’s causing the problem, you’re actually mobilising the looser joint above or below the problem. Over time this leads to an instability with one really loose joint and one really stiff joint next to each other and increase the sense or need to do it more and more frequently. In some cases, this may actually lead to an arthritic condition.
Chiropractic is a great choice for many people’s health needs. It’s not just about backs and necks. Chiropractic care is a great long term solution to increasing health, function and wellness.
Mark Fairclough MChiro, DC