Busted! Don’t Believe These Chiropractic Care Myths!

• by Dr. Adrian Cohen

Busted! Don’t Believe These Chiropractic Care Myths!

‘Since popping and cracking your joints is bad for you, chiropractic must be harmful,’ is one of the most common lines thrown at us. Then there is ‘Chiropractic care is unsafe, painful and expensive.’ However, these are just some of the many myths about chiropractic care that are completely disconnected from reality.

The truth is that quality chiropractic care provides natural, pain-free healing that helps children and adults function better for optimal health and better life quality.

Over the years, a number of myths pertaining to chiropractic care have been created for reasons varying from differing philosophies to economic benefits. While the majority of myths have no basis, they do exist and cause quite a bit of confusion to individuals seeking chiropractic care.

To ensure you do not fall prey to these misconceptions, I’ve debunked a few myths about chiropractic care.

  1. Myth 1: Once you see a chiropractor you have to keep going back.

    This is false. When seeking care from a chiropractor, the chiropractor will perform an assessment including a history and physical examination to determine the cause of the pain or dysfunction. From these observations, a diagnosis will be made and the treatment plan developed in collaboration with the patient – according to their needs and goals. The treatment plan will recommend a number of initial visits to see if the patient responds to care and scheduled re-evaluations. Depending on the patient and the condition, the recommended course of care may vary. Ultimately, the decision to continue care is yours. As a patient, if you have questions or concerns about care, you should feel comfortable to ask the chiropractor for more information on the recommendations made and address any concerns. The care plan should be part of a shared decision-making between the patient and practitioner.

  2. Myth 2: Chiropractors are not ‘real’ doctors.

    Chiropractors are regulated in all ten Canadian provinces and are designated to use the title “doctor” similar to physicians, optometrists, and dentists after completing the extensive Doctor of Chiropractic degree program. Those professions who are recognized to use the “doctor” title have extensive training in their area of expertise that allows them to be diagnosticians – to provide a diagnosis.

  3. Myth 3: Adjustments are painful.

    In general, adjustments or joint manipulations do not hurt. In fact, many patients report immediate pain relief. Patients may be nervous about the ‘cracking’ or popping sound that may occur during an adjustment. The sound is believed to result from the release of gas bubbles from the joint. How on Earth could there be a Chiropractic profession if patients got hurt all day long? Think about it ;- )

  4. Myth 4: Medical doctors don't like chiropractors.

    The American Medical Association's opposition to chiropractic was at its strongest in the 1940s under the leadership of Morris Fishbein. Fishbein called chiropractors ‘rabid dogs’ and referred to them as ‘playful and cute, but killers’. He tried to portray chiropractors as members of an unscientific cult who cared about nothing but taking their patients' money. Up to the late 1970s and early 1980s, the medical establishment purposely conspired to try to destroy the profession of chiropractic. In fact, a landmark lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Illinois in the 1980s found that the American Medical Association was guilty of conspiracy and was ordered to pay restitution to the chiropractic profession.

    In the 20 years since, the opinion of most medical doctors has changed: several major studies have shown the superiority of chiropractic in helping people with a host of conditions, and medical doctors developed a better understanding as to what chiropractors actually do. Many people have returned to their medical doctors and told them about the great results they experienced at their chiropractor's office. Hospitals across the country now have chiropractors on staff, and many chiropractic offices have medical doctors on staff.

    Chiropractors and medical doctors are now much more comfortable working together in cases where medical care is necessary as an adjunct to chiropractic care.

  5. Myth 5: Chiropractic Care is Dangerous.

    Statistics prove that chiropractic care is one of the safest types of healthcare in the world. You only need to compare the malpractice premiums paid by chiropractors to those paid by medical doctors. Doctors of Chiropractic pay only a small fraction (approx. 1/20) of the price medical doctors pay in malpractice premiums. 250,000 people will die this year as a result of bad medicine, making this the third leading cause of death in the United States of America (The Journal of The American Medical Association, JAMA; Vol.284, July 26, 2000). Of the millions of people receiving chiropractic adjustments, each year, only a handful will even make a complaint.

  6. Myth 5b: "One wrong adjustment and you could be paralyzed!"

    Nope. Wrong. Just plain wrong - doesn't happen. Give the integrity of your spinal structure some more credit will you! This could occur however if the patient presented with an unstable fracture (extremely rare to see in a chiropractic office). There are two other commonly discussed conditions that are contraindications to neck adjustments: Down's Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis. These patients might be born without a protective ligament in their neck that provides true neck stability. Chiropractors are very well trained to rule out these "red flags" via a thorough examination. How many people do you know became paralyzed after common Whiplash injuries (damage to neck muscles, joints and sometimes nerves) from car accidents or sports injuries? Don't you think the spine is subjected to more dangerous force in these scenarios versus professional neck adjustments that promote healing based on evidence based research? Think about it 😉