Over the years a number of myths pertaining to chiropractic have been created by those with differing philosophies. While the majority of myths have no basis, they do exist and cause some confusion to individuals unfamiliar with chiropractic care.
Spinal Adjustments Hurt
Quite the contrary. Many patients feel relief after their treatments. In fact, most look forward to their chiropractic adjustments. In patients suffering from severe bouts of back or neck pain, some discomfort may be experienced for obvious reasons as joints and muscles get back into their normal positions, however, for most patients this is not the case.
Spinal Adjustments Are Dangerous
Chiropractic spinal adjustments are extremely safe when performed by chiropractors. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are among the safest treatments for most back and neck problems. According to a 1993 Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study,
"There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low-back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low-back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low-back pain."
Lead investigator of the study, Pran Manga, Ph.D., however, did warn that spinal adjustments performed by health care professionals other than qualified doctors of chiropractic were potentially harmful and less effective:
On December 8, 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. Their guidelines were developed after extensive study of the diagnostic and treatment methods used for acute low back pain. Their findings included:
- Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention;
- Prescription drugs such as oral steroids and antidepressant medications are not recommended for acute low back problems. Recently the epidemic of patients addicted to prescription pain relievers is increasing at a dangerous rate.
Chiropractic Doctors Lack Education Compared With Medical Doctors
The training and education endured by chiropractors is extremely thorough and demanding, similar to that of medical doctors with the exception of learning surgery.
Prior to entering chiropractic college, the aspiring chiropractor requires 3-4 year of prechiropractic undergraduate studies. Once completed, the student must next complete 4-5 academic years of studies at a chiropractic college. This includes extensive training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, differential diagnosis, chiropractic adjustive techniques, biomechanics , and other health-related studies.
In addition, prior to graduation each student must successfully complete several hundred clinical hours of "real" patient management in a clinical setting under professional supervision. Most chiropractic colleges also require students to partake in clinical externship programs which place them in actual chiropractic offices, further enhancing their clinical practice skills.
Near or soon after graduation, the new doctors of chiropractic must successfully complete rigorous National Board examinations prior to obtaining a license to practice chiropractic. Once licensed, most states require that chiropractors receive annual continuing education to ensure that a high level of competency is maintained.
Chiropractic Is Not Scientific
Chiropractors have always sought to provide the safest and most effective healing methods for their patients. In order to achieve this, the chiropractic profession has been dedicated to conducting scientific studies to improve their diagnostic methods and treatment techniques. In the last 20 years chiropractic health care has established an impressive array of scientific research that demonstrates the efficacy, safety and cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. There are many further studies currently underway, and several have been performed by government researchers in both the U.S. and a number of other countries.
Chiropractic Care Is Expensive
Research clearly disproves this myth. Chiropractic care has been consistently shown to be cost effective in a number of government and workers' compensation board studies.
,According to the Manga Report, a 1993 Canadian goernment commissioned study:
"There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low-back pain was transferred from medical doctors to chiropractors... Users of chiropractic care have substantially lower health care costs, especially inpatient costs, than those who use medical care only."
According to an economic analysis conducted in Richmond, Virginia,
"By every test of cost and effectiveness, the general weight of evidence shows chiropractic to provide important therapeutic benefit at economical costs. Additionally, these benefits are achieved with apparently minimal, even negligible, impacts on the costs of health insurance."
You'll Have To Continue Chiropractic Care For The Rest Of Your Life
Most doctors of chiropractic promote a preventative type of lifestyle which has been construed to mean that chiropractic care requires a lifetime of commitment. Actually, recommending that patients return for periodic spinal care is no different that what dentists recommend to their patients in order to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Just as it would be ludicrous to believe that visiting a dentist once per lifetime would ensure permanently healthy teeth and gums it is equally as silly to think that visiting a chiropractor a few times will ensure a lifelong healthy spine. Our spinal tissues undergo daily bombardment of stresses originating from bad postural habits, suboptimal work environments, psychological stress, and hectic lifestyles just to name a few.
For these reasons, after the resolution of acute problems, patients are given the option to receive periodic spinal checkups which acts to minimize the likelihood of future recurrences or development of new problems. The preventative approach in health care has been gaining much recognition.
It is really that simple - periodic chiropractic care to prevent future problems.
Chiropractors Only Treat Back Pain
Chiropractors provide effective treatment for all types of joint/muscle disorders and not just back and neck ailments. This includes conditions of the joints of the extremities like the ankle, knee and shoulder.