5 Misconceptions/Myths About Chiropractic
By Dr. Brittney McGetrick, DC RD
When you hear the word “chiropractor,” what comes to mind? Chances are, everyone who just read that line has a different image in their head of what chiropractors do and what chiropractic is capable of.
While there is a lot of variation within the chiropractic profession, I’m going to do my best to debunk the five most common myths about chiropractic:
- They aren’t “real” doctors
Chiropractors go to medical school after completing a four-year bachelor’s degree, just like western medical doctors do. Chiropractors also have more hours in certain topics like: anatomy, diagnosis, microbiology, neurology and orthopedics. The only difference in chiropractic vs medical doctor education is in our additional study requirements. Chiropractors have increased study in spinal manipulation, nutrition, x-ray, and physical therapy, while medical doctors have additional study in drugs and surgery. Many medical doctors do not refer patients to chiropractors because they do not understand what chiropractors do, not because chiropractors are any less of a doctor than they are. Oftentimes, chiropractors are able to help people find answers when they haven’t been able to find them anywhere else, and that is a pretty special thing when you take the time to understand.
- You have to go forever
You do not have to go to the chiropractor forever, just like you don’t have to eat healthy food forever, or get oil changes in your car forever. Your body (and car) will certainly run better when you keep up healthy habits, but you’re never required to do them. Your body is a dynamic machine, it is constantly changing and experiencing new stressors every day. An adjustment doesn’t last forever just like the strength gained from doing one bicep curl doesn’t last forever. A good chiropractor will work with you to heal so you can go longer periods of time between adjustments. When you first begin chiropractic care, you will likely need a higher frequency of adjustments than when you are on maintenance care. Once your body heals enough, you can go less often with the same results.
- The adjustment is the “crack”
If a chiropractor makes an adjustment and no one hears it, did it really happen? Short answer: yes! Just because you hear a “pop” or “crack” does not mean an adjustment occurred, and if you don’t hear a noise, that does not mean an adjustment did not occur. The purpose of a chiropractic adjustment is to adjust bones of the spine back into proper alignment, which takes pressure off the nervous system and allows the nervous system to function properly. It takes years of training and experience for a doctor to learn how to properly assess your spine and determine which of your vertebrae are placing pressure on your nervous system. Just because someone can pick you up and make your back “pop” does not mean that you are getting a proper adjustment. When a chiropractor adjusts your spine, they are feeling for the bone to move, not listening for the noise. Your chiropractor should have methods to assess your spine before and after your adjustment to ensure the bone was adjusted properly. In my practice, it’s about 50/50 how often bones are adjusted and a noise is heard along with the adjustment.
- It’s only for low back and neck pain or headaches
Remember that nervous system we were just talking about in myth #3? That is really what chiropractic is all about. Helping to alleviate low back pain, neck pain, and headaches is the least interesting part of my job. The really exciting stuff is when I help women heal from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), reduce period cramps, help babies who are constipated, improve the latch in breastfeeding babies, reduce anxiety in patients who have tried everything else, and so much more. How does chiropractic help with all of these things? By affecting your nervous system. Your nervous system is how your brain communicates with the rest of your body. Nothing in your body happens without your nervous system telling it what to do. Your spine is the communication channel for your nervous system. When your vertebrae are misaligned, think of it like a kink in a hose; information flow is now inhibited. Adjustments improve the flow of communication from your brain to the rest of your body, in doing so, your body is able to function better.
- It’s expensive
Chiropractic care can fit within most budgets. When you compare the cost of what chiropractic saves you, it’s hard to argue making it a part of your life. There was a seven-year study conducted by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapy that showed that patients whose primary physician was a chiropractor experienced:
- 60% less hospital admissions
- 59% less days in the hospital
- 62% less outpatient surgeries
- 85% less in pharmaceutical costs
That is a savings of multiple thousands of dollars every year. Factor in your improved quality of life and the value of chiropractic care in is truly priceless.
As with all industries, there is a lot of variation within the chiropractic profession. If you have had a bad experience with chiropractic in the past, I encourage you to seek out a different chiropractor that is more aligned with your goals. If you go to a restaurant once and get food poisoning, do you swear off eating out for the rest of your life? Or, do you just know that that particular restaurant is not the place for you? At Evergreen Chiropractic, all our doctors practice the Gonstead technique. It is a specialized technique that focuses on thorough analysis and gentle adjustments. Gonstead chiropractors are great for people who are scared of chiropractors or who have had a bad experience in the past, as we do things differently. We take time each visit to assess your spine, and when we adjust we do not do any of the wild twisting ninja moves you might have seen on TikTok or youtube.
You can learn more about Gonstead and our office at www.evergreenchironash.com