Top 10 Chiropractic myths BUSTED
I think we can all agree that in any profession, there are a lot of misunderstandings and preconceived notions that the public has, and most of them are just wives tales or only half truths. For example: putting butter on a wound. We used to think that doing this would help stop the damage from a burn, but with time we have become better educated and now know it can actually make things worse. The truth is that only someone who holds, or has held the job title knows what goes on in that field. This article will go over the Top Ten Myths About Chiropractors and sort FACT from Fiction about chiropractors and what they do.
1. Chiropractic care isn't safe.
Chiropractic care is very safe, especially when compared to medications or surgery. Let’s take a deeper look…
If any particular entity is going to have a non-biased, analytical approach to evaluating the safety or amount of risk associated with something, I think we can all agree it would be insurance companies.
They don't want to pay or cover more than they need to and they extensively investigate every aspect of a situation before they cover any entity or practice. So let's look at the average cost of malpractice insurance coverage annually among three different medical professions:
Chiropractor - $1,700
General Practitioner - $12,000 (7X the risk compared to Chiropractic care)
Orthopedic Surgeon - $25,000 (14X the risk compared to Chiropractic care)
To put it simply, the cost of malpractice insurance per year is generally a good indicator of risk that is associated with that profession’s treatment. This is not to imply that the other professions are bad, but it makes the case for going to see a knowledgeable Chiropractor before moving to higher risk options such as drugs and surgery.
2. Chiropractic is too expensive.
Chiropractic is associated with some cost, however, what profession in the medical field isn’t?
First, let us compare Chiropractic cost to the cost of medication. Medications tend to be very high cost, especially in the United States. In addition, the longer you remain on a medication, your body begins to become accustomed to it and eventually needs more in order to handle the same amount of pain. Not to mention that medication is nothing more than a bandaid, treating only the symptom of pain and not the underlying problem causing the pain in the first place.
Chiropractic effectiveness, on the other hand, never decreases with routine use and it provides less harmful side effects compared to medications.
Secondly, let’s compare Chiropractic to surgery. When you put all of the aspects of surgery together, it can become very costly. A good orthopedic surgeon will first recommend pre-hab (physical therapy to prepare you for surgery), then there is the actual cost of surgery, the pain medication associated with it, and the physical therapy post-surgery, not to mention the possible loss of time at work. All of these costs can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Below are some of the common surgeries that are performed and the average cost that is associated with each of them.
- Spine Surgery Case - $100,000
- Lumbar Fusion Surgery Case - $169,000
- Cervical Fusion Surgery Case - $112,000
Source: Back Surgery:Too Many, Too Costly, and Too Ineffective By: J.C. Smith, MA, DC APr 28, 2015
Chiropractic care annually can average from $500 to $3,000 for a difficult case. When you compare them, the numbers speak for themselves.
3. Chiropractors aren't real doctors.
The course load to become a Doctor of Chiropractic medicine is an extensive process that involves thousands of classroom and clinical hours, along with a state licensure exam, as well as four separate state board examinations in order to become a licensed Chiropractor.
In fact, if you look at the numbers, compared to medical doctors, chiropractic educational hours are very similar and chiropractors’ educational hours exceed medical doctors in several areas including Anatomy, Diagnosis, Neurology, Orthopedics, and Radiology. The numbers above are based on an average from multiple sources, however, different sources may vary slightly.
There are also many activities and prerequisites that are very similar, for example, both medical doctors and chiropractors have competitive entry into their programs and both have a detailed and in depth knowledge of the body after performing clinical dissections of human cadavers that donated their bodies to science.
4. Chiropractors can only help my back.
Chiropractic care has expanded tremendously over the last 15 years. Many Chiropractors provide multiple types of treatment. The term for this is multiple modality. This multiple modality treatment style allows Chiropractors to have great success working with common injuries involving extremities, such as, but not limited to:
- Frozen Shoulder
- Carpal Tunnel
- IT Band Syndrome
- Shin splints
- Plantar Fasciitis
5. Chiropractic care is ineffective.
As mentioned before, Chiropractic can help with a variety of injuries and conditions. Proper chiropractic care is not a “one and done” type of treatment. It is not a miracle and it is not a cure.
While chiropractic is not an instant fix you may feel instant relief and like anything worth doing, you would need to commit in order to see long term changes. Due to the non-invasive techniques of chiropractic, some results take time to achieve, depending on age, activity level and consistency. However, most patients do experience some form of immediate relief.
For example, if someone wants to become a marathon runner, they have to train their body to be able to perform at that high level. That training comes with repetition after repetition and consistent practice.
They can’t run for one day and expect to be prepared to do well during their marathon. Chiropractic works the same way. It drives at providing patients a solid foundation of physical and structural health for a patient to build upon, in order to be able to do the things in life that they enjoy.
6. Pregnant women and children should not be treated using chiropractic.
Let’s begin with children. Children fall, scape, trip, and bang up their bodies on a daily basis. It’s part of how they learn, grow, and develop. During childhood, as children grow, their neurological system is still continuing to develop, particularly their coordination. Regular Chiropractic care can help promote proper motor learning and improved coordination.
Pregnant women can also benefit tremendously from Chiropractic care. As women proceed through pregnancy, their bodies go through several changes that can predispose them to pelvic, low back, and hip pain. Also, hormonal changes due to pregnancy as well as growing a small human, can put a lot of strain on the body.
Chiropractic care helps to provide proper pelvic alignment, alleviate low back pain, and with consistent care prior to birth, has even been reported to decrease the duration of labor in some cases.
7. There is no scientific proof that chiropractic works.
The truth is that 50-60 years ago this may have been true. As Chiropractic care moves into a new age, many, (but sadly, not yet all,) Chiropractors practice evidence-based care. Meaning that through research studies certain techniques and protocols have been found to be more effective than others at addressing particular conditions.
Good Chiropractors will keep up to date with these new protocols and techniques to provide their patients with the latest and greatest cutting edge care in order to help patients achieve their goals. For more information check out this article from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
8. You don't need a Chiropractor because you are managing your pain with over the counter medications and prescriptions.
While over the counter medications and prescription painkillers do an “ok” job at managing pain, that is all that they do, “decrease pain”. However, doesn’t it make sense, that if you are experiencing pain, something underlying must be causing that pain? Therefore, would it not be a good idea, to fix the problem that is leading to pain instead of ignoring the cause and only treating your symptoms?
For example, tires on your car may be constantly wearing down faster than they should, causing you to spend more and more money to replace them. What if the tire alignment is the reason the tires are wearing down faster than they should?
Wouldn’t it make sense to have the tires aligned to prevent the accelerated wear on the tires instead of ignoring the alignment and continuously replacing the tires? That would definitely save you a lot of money in the end.
The same goes for your health, except that with medications, which not only cost you money, they can cause potential damage to your body with unwanted side-effects such as liver damage or addiction.
Chiropractic care targets the reason you are having pain with the pleasant side effects of decreasing your pain at the same time. Sounds like a “win, win” situation.
9. If you've had back surgery, you can’t see a Chiropractor.
This is a very popular misconception. Firstly, it depends on what type of back surgery was performed. After an extensive evaluation, your Chiropractor will be able to tell you if you are in fact a Chiropractic candidate or not.
Most often following spinal fusions or disc surgeries, chiropractic care is vital. With spinal fusions, each individual segment of your spine is made to move and distribute work load, if these segments are fused together, they lose that ability. This means, the other non-fused segments around the fusion must work harder and take on more stress to help maintain mobility. This compensation process can unfortunately lead to further degeneration due to the extra stress placed on the unfused segments.
After disc surgeries, it’s a similar situation. Chiropractic care is necessary to maintain mobility and provide motion to those segments in order to promote healing and maintain spinal health.
10. Chiropractic care takes to long for benefits.
This statement depends on what kind of benefits you are talking about. If you are referring to pain relief, chiropractic is quite effective at providing some pain relief in the span of a few visits. However, while pain may drive patients to seek out chiropractic, pain isn’t the name of the game.
Pain is a symptom of the problem, it’s not the problem in and of itself. Therefore, the additional KEY benefits may take slightly longer to achieve.
When referring to the problem that initially led to the pain, it may take more time to make effective long lasting changes and maintain the benefits that are seen with Chiropractic care.
Chiropractic aims to restore balance and maintain maximum range of motion. However, the human body at it’s core is a machine. All machines at some point in time either break down or need maintenance in order for them to operate appropriately.
The human body is the same. Through use, living life, and everyday repetitive actions the body can begin to wear down and need that chiropractic maintenance to continue to function optimally.
I hope this blog cleared up a few of the most common misconceptions regarding Chiropractic and shed some light on what Chiropractic is and how it can help you.
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Dr. Haywood D.C.
Forever Well Chiropractic