Chiropractic itself has gone through many aches and pains as a profession over the years since its development by Daniel David Palmer in 1895. Since the scope of the chiropractic practice has been very broad, there have been many different types of beliefs and care practiced by each chiropractor. One thing that holds true consistently is that the chiropractic treatment itself has withstood the test of time and is continually being proven as a safe, effective treatment for many neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
Over the years, there have been many misconceptions of chiropractic that have developed. These, in my opinion are some of the most popular myths that I hear a regular basis:
MYTH 1: Chiropractic care is dangerous: This is one of the most common misconceptions that chiropractic undergoes even today. There have been many scientific studies on the risks and benefits of chiropractic care that have proven this form of treatment to be very safe. Of course, with any type of treatment, there are always risks involved. Recent studies have proven that the risks and negative episodes associated with chiropractic treatment are very rare, and extremely less common than people might think.
MYTH 2: Spinal adjustments hurt: Chiropractic care usually involves the conservative movement of restricted joints of the spine which are termed an ‘adjustment’. Many believe that this type of treatment may be painful or uncomfortable, although it can be quite the contrary. Most patients feel instant relief after this type of therapy, in fact, most look forward to their chiropractic treatments. Because of this myth, there have been many instruments developed by companies that chiropractors can use to perform the adjustment to make people feel more comfortable and less anxious if this is a pre-existing concern.
MYTH 3: Chiropractic doctors lack education compared to medical doctors: Chiropractors go through a very thorough and demanding educational program that is very similar to medical doctors. A prerequisite for many chiropractic schools is a four year bachelor's degree before entering into a four year doctorate program. The education is very similar to a medical school, although instead of a focus on pharmacology and surgery; chiropractic schooling includes a more in depth study of radio graphic imaging and joint mobilization techniques. Most schools require the students to complete a one-year clinic residency internship as well before graduation. Following this education, a chiropractor must complete four parts of a rigorous national board examination before obtaining the ability to request a state license in the state he/she wishes to practice in. In some states, there is an additional state license examination.
MYTH 4: Once I start seeing a chiropractor, I will have to see one for the rest of my life: Once a chiropractor has helped to take care of your initial problem, it is not necessary to continue seeing a chiropractor. You are not obligated to continue treatment, although many chiropractors may recommend periodic visits to help you maintain optimal health. Periodic checkups can help to minimize the likelihood of future recurrences or development of new problems. This is very similar to what dentists recommend to their patients in order to prevent cavities. The preventative approach of healthcare is becoming increasingly popular in today’s society.
MYTH 5: Insurance does not cover chiropractic: Most insurance companies, including Medicare, do cover chiropractic care because they have statistically quantified the benefits of preventative care versus drugs and surgery. A simple phone call to a chiropractic office or your insurance provider would be able to tell you if your insurance covers it. Even without insurance, there are many programs available through different chiropractic offices designed to make care affordable.
As with any profession, there can be good practitioners and not-so-good practitioners. I always tell people to try to find care from a chiropractor that they feel comfortable with. Since chiropractic care can be different from doctor to doctor, it is always wise for someone to do some initial research on the particular physician that they may be interested in. This may include asking others of their experience with this doctor, viewing the practice’s website and doctor’s biography, or reading reviews posted online from previous patients.
Hopefully this article will help to breakdown some of the barriers that may be preventing some from obtaining the appropriate care that they may need for their conditions.
- Daniel Roth DC is a chiropractor in Williamsburg, VA and owner of the Williamsburg Neck and Back Center. He is rated the best Williamsburg chiropractor by the Virginia Gazette and focuses on treating neck pain, back pain, and headaches.