Chiropractic Myths Debunked
Approximately 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It is the leading cause of disability and missed days from work in the United States. With the increasing epidemic of opioid addiction in this country, it is no wonder why people are seeking alternative ways to ease their pain and improve their function. With the increasing popularity in health and wellness and preventative care, there has been continuing research coming out looking at the effectiveness of chiropractic care and its role in health care.
In 2017, the American College of Physicians released low back pain guidelines that recommend first using non-drug treatments, such as spinal manipulation, for acute and chronic low back pain. Similarly, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 supports the use of spinal manipulative therapy as a first line treatment for acute low back pain. In surveys given to past chiropractic patients, 95% say that chiropractic care was effective for them, and 97% say they are likely to see a chiropractor again for neck and back pain. Another consumer survey demonstrated that chiropractic care outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter-medications, deep-tissue massage, yoga and pilates. For more chiropractic facts, research articles and frequently asked questions visit the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) to learn more.
As a Charlotte Chiropractor, I see a lot of people who have never been to a chiropractor before and I wanted to write this blog to address the most common questions and myths surrounding chiropractic care. The following are the most common questions and myths about chiropractic care.
What is Chiropractic?
This is a great place to start for those who aren’t sure what chiropractic even is. Chiropractic care is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal systems without the use of drugs or surgery. Doctors of chiropractic are highly trained to examine the body as a whole, get to the root of the problem and correct the problem. The goal of chiropractic care is to restore motion to restricted spinal and extremity joints and allow the body to heal naturally.
What is an adjustment?
One of the most common and well-known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment“). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become restricted in their movement as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as a car accident or improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.
What should I expect on my first visit?
On your first visit to ProMotion Chiropractic, your doctor will review your initial paperwork that you filled out, conduct a thorough health history, perform a physical examination, and address any and all questions and concerns that you have. Depending on your case you may even get an adjustment. Expect for your first appointment to take about 45 minutes, depending on your case.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
What is that “popping” noise I hear? Adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a “popping” sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved.
What conditions do chiropractors treat?
Doctors of Chiropractic treat a variety of health conditions for people of all ages. Some common conditions include, but not limited to, lower/mid/upper back pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder injuries, knee pain, tendonitis, hip pain, golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. People also seek chiropractic care for sports injuries, wellness care, stress management, pregnancy related complaints, and pediatric problems such as bed-wetting, colic, headaches and breast latching problems.
At ProMotion Chiropractic, we offer chiropractic adjustments of the spine and extremities, soft tissue work, class IV laser therapy and corrective exercises designed to stabilize your muscles and restore range of motion. Did you know that all 32 NFL teams have chiropractors as a part of their staff? Did you know that chiropractors have been used for years in the Olympics? Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the risk that athletes take when competing, especially at the Olympic level. Many athletes choose to use regular chiropractic care as a part of their routine in keeping healthy and preventing injury. Athletes report that chiropractic care not only helped their injuries heal faster, but it also helped to increase their peak performance during competition.
Isn’t Chiropractic Care Super Expensive?
Chiropractic care is very cost-effective and actually addresses the root of your problems! Getting under chiropractic care is taking the first step to becoming a healthier you. Studies have found that chiropractic care costs much less than traditional medical care, when the chiropractor is seen first for a complaint. Also chiropractors aim to actually correct your problem, not mask it with a pill!
At ProMotion Chiropractic, we do not give our patients lengthy and costly treatment plans. We get to work on Day 1 looking at your body as a whole and performing a variety of orthopedic, neurologic and functional movement tests to determine what the problem is, instead of focusing on your area of pain. Pain does NOT equal dysfunction, just like pain-free does NOT equal health.
At ProMotion Chiropractic, are not in-network with any insurance companies, but provide patients with a detailed receipt of your services to submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. We encourage you to check with your insurance carrier on what your out of network benefits are before you come in for your appointment.
Will I have a long treatment plan to corrective my problem?
NO! At ProMotion Chiropractic we deliver individualized treatment plans. Most patients report a relief in their symptoms within 1-2 visits and the average amount of treatments is 6-8, however the more chronic the condition the longer it takes to resolve. That being said, if a patient is not responding to chiropractic care after 6 visits, then a change in care or referral may be indicated.
Can chiropractic care help ME?
At ProMotion Chiropractic, we treat each person uniquely. Each person has different goals, and our goal is to help you achieve those goals. We aim to reduce pain and restore function, utilizing a combination of methods that are conservative and effective to improve the function of your spine and nervous system to help your body heal. Chiropractic care has been shown to help 95% effective for neck and back pain, and Dr. Courtenay Schroeder will do her best to get to the root of your problem and correct it. If she can’t help you, she will find someone who can.
Will I need to be adjusted for the rest of my life?
One very common myth regarding chiropractic care is “if I get adjusted once, I will become addicted and need to come for the rest of my life.” Most of our patients feel a sense of ease and well- being after they get adjusted. Some people feel “lighter” or that they can actually stand up straight! Once people experience how good they feel after adjustments they choose to continue to get them regularly. It is similar to realizing how good you feel when you work out regularly, stretch regularly, or eat healthy regularly. Your body just feels better! It is NOT an addiction. You will NOT become addicted to getting adjusted.
The fact is, some people choose to be seen only for their injuries, and once they their bodies have healed they stop regular care. We respect each person and their choices. You have a choice of how you live your life, and the quality of that life.
Will it hurt?
Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours. Some people are scared before their first adjustment, but once they experience what an adjustment feels like that nervous feeling is replaced by a sense of relief.
Is chiropractic safe for children?
Chiropractic care has been used for infants and children for over 100 years and is very effective. Throughout pregnancy, birth, and childhood the chiropractic lifestyle offers choices and benefits for greater health and well-being.
The risks of a child suffering notable injury from a spinal adjustment are extremely minimal. Chiropractors have been adjusting children’s spines for more than 100 years and have an excellent safety record. In fact, an adjustment for a child is very different than one for an adult. Most babies sleep right through their adjustment!
A recent study done by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in the United States, Canada, and Europe showed that only a few children (out of more than 10,000 visits) experienced minor discomfort and fussiness. The remaining children in the study had no adverse reactions to the adjustment. This data tells us that chiropractic care for children may be one of the safest forms of health care available.
Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
Chiropractic care is also very effective in infants. The birthing process is a very traumatic event and can stress an infant’s spine and nervous system—not to mention interventions such as induction, forceps, suction, or caesarean section. The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be traced to nervous system irritation caused by spinal and cranial misalignments.
Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light fingertip pressure to restore normal spinal motion. This amount of “force” is often not more than a finger touch and is not enough pressure to even bruise a ripe tomato. This is usually sufficient to restore mobility to spinal joints that have become restricted and are causing interference to the normal nervous system function. Most parents report that their children enjoy their spinal adjustments, and that they look forward to their next visit!
In summary, listen to your body. Those seemingly minor aches and pains are a signal that something is going wrong somewhere. Seek treatment before it worsens. It is easier to treatment someone before his or her pain becomes debilitating. Chiropractic care is a safe, cost effective and effective option to lessen pain and improve function. Give chiropractic care a try next time you develop pain, feel like something is not functioning right with your body, if you want to improve your overall mobility or prevent injury from occurring.
Author: Courtenay Schroeder, DC
Owner & Chiropractor @ ProMotion Chiropractic
Paige, N. M., Miake-Lye, I. M., Booth, M. S., Beroes, J. M., Mardian, A. S., Dougherty, P., … Shekelle, P. G. (2017). Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA, 317(14), 1451–1460. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.3086
Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., Forciea, M. A., & for the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. (2017). Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, 166(7), 514. https://doi.org/10.7326/M16-2367
Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. Relief for your aching back: What worked for our readers. ConsumerReports.org; March 2013.
Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. Back-Pain Treatments. ConsumerReports.org; July 2011.
McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001), Duke Evidence Report
Liliedahl et al (2010), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
Hertzman-Miller et al (2002), American Journal of Public Health
Meeker, Haldeman (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine
The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for informational purposes only to promote consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. The contents of this website are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any questions or advice on any exercise, medication, nutrition or supplementation.