Chiropractic treatments can be a very effective method of reducing chronic pain, assisting with injury recovery, and with an overall lifetime of alignment and well-being. Despite its popularity, however, there are still some myths and misconceptions about chiropractic care. There is a persistent myth that chiropractors crack the patient’s bones. In fact, spinal adjustments manipulate the spine and joints (between the bones). The cracking sound is just opening joint space, adjusting the connections between the bones, not the bones themselves. Some chiropractic treatments don’t even manipulate, instead employing “physiotherapy, soft tissue work, exercise – stretch and ergonomic advice, and nutritional – dietary counseling.”1
MYTH: Patients Have to Go Forever
Another popular misconception is that chiropractic care is required for the full duration of the patient’s life. If a patient is going to resolve a particular condition, there can be an end date. Some patients actually want to go for maintenance or preventative care and choose to avoid “accumulative strain and acute flare-ups.” In that sense, chiropractic treatment resembles dental care.2 Patients can choose whether or not to go. Just as they would want to maintain healthy oral care, patients can opt to maintain their healthy alignment. However, some patients may experience issues after not attending an appointment for a very prolonged period of time, though this depends on the patient and their needs and conditions.
MYTH: Chiropractic Care is Unsafe
“The risk of serious injury following chiropractic treatment is…less than 0.01% according to medical studies.” Invasive medical procedures can be dangerous. Injections, medications, and surgeries can be more problematic.3 “Adverse reactions to properly prescribed medications are the third leading cause of death in America.”4 Spinal adjustments done by a qualified chiropractor, trained in these treatments, are among the safest treatments for problems in the back and neck. If manipulations are done by an unqualified, non-chiropractic practitioner, there can be problems. According to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (1994), spinal manipulations should be pursued, in most cases, before surgical treatments, and prescription medication is not recommended for acute low back pain.5
MYTH: Chiropractors Aren’t Real Doctors
“Chiropractic students receive 4,485 hours of college classroom instruction vs. 4,248 hours for other medical students.”6 Chiropractors require 2-4 years of undergraduate premed studies, with 4-5 years of academic study at a chiropractic college, including “extensive training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, differential diagnosis, chiropractic adjusting techniques, biomechanics, and other health-related studies.” Next, several hundred hours of real, supervised, clinical practice is necessary. Finally, new Doctors of Chiropractic must pass National and State Board examinations in order to get a license—and they must receive annual continuing education.7 Chiropractors pursue natural adjustment of the body as a career choice, and the patient should check the credentials of their potential chiropractor just as they would ensure the validity of any doctor’s claims before receiving care.
MYTH: Chiropractors Are Expensive
“Many insurance companies, including Medicare, cover adjustments”8 Many government and workers’ compensation studies have shown that chiropractic care is more cost-effective than traditional medical treatments, especially for management of lower back pain.9 Fortunately, lower back pain is not the only condition that chiropractors can treat. The treatment and recommendations made by the chiropractor will be less expensive in the long run when compared to possible charges from hospital visits and medications. Chiropractic and medical care are not mutually exclusive. They are complementary forms of treatment that share the goal of keeping their patients in the optimal health, though drugs and surgery are going to be more expensive than traditional medical care.
MYTH: Children Do Not Need Chiropractic Care
Despite what some might believe, children are not immune to imbalances and misalignments. Chiropractors can catch and correct things, like postural and favoring issues in children, early before they are allowed to develop into chronic conditions. Issues like ear infections, which are often common in children, might be treatable with chiropractic care. Even during the process of being birthed, the baby can become misaligned, causing problems like difficulty breathing, and they should be readjusted by a chiropractor. The chiropractic doctor does not treat children and adults in the same manner because children are not just miniature adults: there are key differences such as the cartilaginous nature of a child’s spine. Kids are more easily susceptible to deformation in the spine, which is why chiropractic care is needed in the first place, though it is performed more gently on the younger patient. Chiropractors also work with pediatricians because communication is the key to providing optimal care for the child. This is the same for adults whose chiropractors work with their medical doctors.10
4, 6, 8 http://afcchiropractic.com/about-us/chiropractic-myths/
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