Chiropractic care has become more mainstream in recent years; however, many of the old myths still live in the minds of patients, one of which has to do with the first part of this sentence. When you make medical decisions about the most vulnerable areas of your body, some doctors will have you believe that taking the most drastic measures possible is the only “safe” way to treat your condition. This is certainly not the case; therefore, it is important to learn about what alternative medicine is and what chiropractic care can offer you before setting it aside as “folk medicine” or something that could not possibly be of any help. There are over a dozen myths about chiropractic care, but today, I will review three most common that I heard throughout my 15 years of practice.
Myth #1 - Chiropractors Only Treat the Spine
Chiropractors are specialists in the musculoskeletal system. Back pain is the most common condition treated by chiropractors, but it is not the only condition they treat. They can and do work on a variety of systems, functions, and problems. There are some jurisdiction differences in the scope of practice for chiropractors, but the majority still treats a wide array of conditions over various body systems using a mix of techniques. A survey published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported that well over 90% of the licensing boards who answered the survey allowed their chiropractors to do impairment ratings, treat soft tissue disorders and extremity issues, perform physical therapy, and prescribe nutritional supplements for conditions that involve the musculoskeletal system. More than 80% of these licensing boards reported that chiropractors in their region can order diagnostic imaging, such as CT and MRI, to reach a diagnosis, as well as perform x-ray procedures. The following are the most common conditions treated by chiropractors using conservative measures (in no specific order):
- · Headaches/Migraines
- · Back pain
- · Neck pain
- · Foot and ankle pain
- · Shoulder pain
- · Hip pain
- · Hand pain
- · Numbness and tingling
As you can see, chiropractic care is not only for neck and for back pain. Rather, it is an alternative form of medicine that can treat a long list of conditions without prescribing dangerous medications or doing risky procedures.
Myth #2 - Chiropractic Care is Costly
This is a common misconception about chiropractic care. It is not cost-prohibitive. In fact, dozens of studies have shown chiropractic care is extremely cost-effective. In 1993, a study commissioned by the Canadian government called the Manga Report stated that it was more cost-effective to treat low back pain through chiropractic care than traditional medical management. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics confirmed this by publishing a study in 2005, which reported that chiropractic care of lower back pain is the most cost-effective alternative measure to traditional methods. It should be noted that, for many cases, one session with a chiropractor can resolve many musculoskeletal problems; however, those with chronic pain and long-lasting conditions will likely need several sessions to see any lasting health benefits from the treatment.
Myth #3 - This is not Mainstream Medicine
This is far from the truth! One of the largest leading healthcare and healing professions in the world is chiropractic care. It is a fairly recent change that within the last couple of decades, chiropractic care has become more mainstream in Canada, United States, and elsewhere. Chiropractors and medical doctors often work closely together when it is in the best interest of the patient, even though there are obviously glaring philosophical differences in how they practice. More and more, medical doctors are seeing the benefit of referring their pain patients to chiropractors for help. Chiropractors also sit close to the line of alternative medicine, so they work closely with naturopathic practitioners, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and any other members of a healthcare team.
We can only assume where these myths originated, but it is our goal as chiropractors to debunk these myths so that people can start trusting the benefits of alternative forms of treatment. We do not always need pharmaceutical medication or risky procedures to resolve a health problem. Oftentimes, it is something as simple as needing a spinal realignment, manipulation, natural supplement, or other basic form of chiropractic care to fix an issue in our musculoskeletal system. Throughout my blog, we will work to remove these myths from the minds of the public in the hopes of changing the face of chiropractic care so that more people can benefit from this form of healing.