Cracking the Case: Myths of Chiropractic Care
March 31, 2015
There are many misconceptions when it comes to chiropractic care. For many years, animosity existed between chiropractic and other medical professions and this animosity perpetuated many misguided views. While the dichotomy between professions is dying, many of the myths about chiropractic are not. Chiropractic care is safe and effective and the following exposes and explains the myths of the practice.
MYTH #1: ONCE YOU START GOING TO A CHIROPRACTOR, YOU HAVE TO GO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
TRUTH: Since chiropractic care plays an important role throughout the lifetime, many chiropractors see patients for routine maintenance care. This is no different than the routine check ups most patients have with their dentist or general practitioner. That being said, how long a patient chooses to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to him or her.
MYTH #2: CHIROPRACTIC CARE REQUIRES MANY REPEAT VISITS.
TRUTH: Each patient presents with a different condition that requires an individual treatment plan. While some may require a treatment plan that is frontloaded with multiple visits in a week, many do not. As a condition improves, the frequency of visits greatly decreases.
For comparison, most medications are taken multiple times a day for a period of time, if not for life. Due to the nature of chiropractic care as a hands-on treatment that requires a cumulative effect, it, too, requires multiple “doses”. As the condition improves, the frequency of treatments is greatly reduced.
MYTH #3: CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS HURT.
TRUTH: Chiropractic adjustments are usually not painful. For certain conditions, such as a malaligned rib or a meniscoid entrapment, adjustments can be uncomfortable. The occasional discomfort resolves almost immediately. Contrary to this myth, chiropractic adjustments relieve pain by reducing irritation to joints, muscles, and nerves.
Some patients, about 1/3 of those new to chiropractic, may experience mild soreness (similar to the tender muscle sensation that is felt after a new exercise program) for 24-48 hours after an adjustment. This soreness subsides with each subsequent adjustment.
MYTH #4: CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS CRACK BONES.
TRUTH: The audible sound that is sometimes heard during a chiropractic adjustment is not a “cracking” of the bones. A capsule filled with a lubricating fluid, called synovial fluid, surrounds joints. When the joint is gapped and the capsule is stretched during an adjustment, a momentary air pocket forms in the synovial fluid. With a quick change in pressure, the bubble is released and creates a popping sound. No bones are cracked or damaged!
MYTH #5: CHIROPRACTORS AREN’T ACTUALLY DOCTORS.
TRUTH: Chiropractors are actually doctors. Each chiropractor has to complete a minimum of 7 years of accredited university level training as well as a series of national and provincial board examinations. While three years of undergraduate prerequisite courses are required, Dr. Tisshaw and Dr. Visconti hold bachelor degrees in commerce and nursing, respectively. Following undergraduate studies, chiropractors attend four years of doctorate training with a classroom education that is more than comparable to a medical education. After graduation, chiropractors must complete yearly continuing education to stay up to date and well informed.
MYTH #6: CHIROPRACTIC CARE CAUSES ARTHRITIS.
TRUTH: Chiropractic adjustments deliver specific and deliberate motion into dysfunctional joints. When joints are not moving properly, the fluid around them becomes stagnant and does not properly lubricate, which can eventually lead to arthritis. Chiropractic care restores proper movement and relieves irritation, helping to prevent osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis).
MYTH #7: I DON’T NEED A CHIROPRACTOR; I CAN CRACK MY OWN BACK.
TRUTH: When someone cracks his or her own back, he or she is likely moving hypermobile joints (or joints that are moving too much to compensate for a lack of movement elsewhere), while the hypomobile joint remains dysfunctional. Proper positioning, setup, and thrust are essential for a successful adjustment and for restoring proper movement.
MYTH #8: CHIROPRACTIC CARE IS ONLY EFFECTIVE FOR BACK PAIN.
TRUTH: During their schooling, chiropractors are trained to effectively treat the spine, but also the extremities (ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and wrists), the temporomadiblar joint (TMJ), headaches, some forms of vertigo, and more. Chiropractors also treat soft tissue ailments such as tendonopathies, sprains, and strains.
MYTH #9: CHIROPRACTIC CARE IS NOT GOOD OR SAFE FOR CHILDREN.
TRUTH: Children can visit a chiropractor within days of birth. Delivery can be a physically – and emotionally – traumatic experience that can cause shoulder and neck conditions (i.e. torticollis). The adjustments that infants receive are not like the adjustments adults receive; they involve recreating optimal motion, but require little to no force.
Children are susceptible to accidents and minor trauma as they grow. Since children grow so rapidly, addressing injuries and abnormalities to their structure is critical for optimal development. Research has suggested that children who receive chiropractic care get injured less often, recover more quickly, and suffer from less colds and infections. Chiropractic care of children encourages healthy development of the brain and nervous system and has been suggested to assist with nursing difficulties, colic, ear infections, asthma, sleep issues, and behavioral disorders.
For more information of the safety and efficacy of chiropractic care, visit the American Chiropractic Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics website.
MYTH #10: THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF SUPPORTING CHIROPRACTIC CARE.
TRUTH: Research has repeatedly confirmed the efficacy of chiropractic care. As integrative care is becoming more of the norm, more research is being conducted on the broad scope of chiropractic care. Research is an ever evolving process and the safety, efficacy, and affordability of chiropractic care is continually illuminated through the scientific data.