Updated: May 24, 2019
It seems like whenever we are about to try something new, we always start by looking for what the issues might be. The goal of this article is to take a closer look at some of the biggest problems people have with chiropractic care, and as well as the solutions to these concerns.
1) Chiropractic Stigma!
If you are like many people, when you hear the word "chiropractic", you may immediately think: Are chiropractors really doctors? From the outside, their adjusting techniques may sometimes look awkward.
What do they really do?
Let’s look at these issues one at a time.
Issue 1: Is a chiropractor a real doctor?
A chiropractor's education is very similar to a medical doctor's. They have a bachelor’s degree in a field with a strong science focus, and in their graduate studies, they take the same basic science classes as medical students, with the exception of pharmacy and surgery.
Similarly, both chiropractors and medical doctors must take 4 years of graduate studies giving a total of 8 years of schooling to both professions. Additionally, like medical doctors they are also required to pass four national boards in order to get licensed.
Finally, they have to practice under a licensed chiropractor in order to finish their schooling and receive their Doctorate degree. This degree gives them the designation of Doctors of Chiropractic.
Issue 2: Chiropractic adjustments just look plain awkward. Does it do anything?
You may have seen a video online showing a chiropractic adjustment being done where the patient was in an abnormal position that didn't seem to make any sense. So what is really going on?
In many of these videos you may have seen, the patient has come in to the chiropractor because an obstruction to a patients nervous system occurred. Generally the obstruction is in their neck or back, but it could be in an elbow, foot, or even jaw. The patient is probably experiencing numbness or pain in some part of their body.
In order to get rid of the obstruction, a chiropractor maneuvers the patient into a position where the bone, muscles, or soft tissue that is causing the issue can be moved in order to release the pressure.
Chiropractors are always looking for the most holistic way to treat a problem, which differentiates them from some other doctors. They have the belief that the body can heal itself from many common ailments if only obstructions in the nervous systems path are removed.
To sum it up, chiropractors are doctors who look for the holistic method to solving health concerns. It can appear awkward at times, but it can often prevent patients from needing medication or surgery in the long-run.
2) The fear that chiropractic may be unsafe.
Alright, so you may now be feeling a little better about the stigma, but you’re not sure if you really want to test this out. I mean, you feel fine now other than a slight twinge now and then. Will the adjustment hurt? Can it mess up your back long term? Let’s start with the basic fear.
Could a chiropractor adjustment break your neck?
The fact is that it takes 1000 pounds of pressure to break a neck. The average chiropractic cervical adjustment only uses about 25 pounds of pressure (1).
Okay, so now that we know you won’t die, will it hurt?
Chiropractic adjustments can sometimes be uncomfortable especially if a patient isn’t relaxed when the adjustment is performed. Keep in mind that adjustment can move the bone back into its optimal position, if the body is guarding against this for if it has been out of the optimal position for some time, it can cause soreness.
What are the long run effects?
While it may cause soreness in the short term, most adjustments are completely painless and have lingering positive effects. The adjustment has cleared the pathway for your body to function as it should. This often relieves pain, numbness, improves sleep, and a myriad of other helpful results.
3) Where is the proof that chiropractic is effective?
Studies showing the before and after effects of a chiropractic adjustment have been done with astounding results (2). After a chiropractic adjustment, the prefrontal cortex of the brain is activated by an additional 20%-50% (3). In addition to this, another study, showed that chiropractic care was 15% more effective at relieving neck pain than the use of pain medication. (2)
Many chiropractors will take x-rays before treatment and after treatment where the patient is able to see the correction of their spine for themselves. Not only are patients able to see the changes in their spine on an x-ray, but they also experience the significant relief for themselves. Patients commonly experience long-term relief from back pain, neck pain, allergies, stress/mood issues, and more health problems treated by chiropractic care (4).
4) Instant Result Syndrome
Does chiropractic provide instant relief?
Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. In some cases, our bodies guard against fixing the very thing that is causing the issue. Why?
We may have had the misalignment for years and our body has adjusted to it; or we just aren’t comfortable with the adjustments at first, and so we tense up. Other times, we do experience immediate relief, but that doesn’t mean the issue has been completely resolved. The chiropractor may be able to move the bone back to optimal position, however, the soft tissue around the bone may be used to the old position and pull the bone back out of alignment.
Check out our blog post on multiple adjustments to learn more about why this would happen.
This leads me to the last problem...
5) Will I have to see a chiropractor for the rest of my life?
The goal of a good chiropractor is to fix the root cause of the issue and work with the patient until the body adjusts to the to this new optimal alignment.
However, in some cases, it may require a lifestyle change for the new alignment to stick.
For example, if a patient starts experiencing back pain due to the fact that they have a desk job and hunch while they sit at work, chiropractic is able to correct this. However, if they don’t change how they sit, the issue will eventually come back.
A more extreme example would be a football player who gets chiropractic adjustments to keep them at their best. As soon as they play the game, they get tackled on every side, thus requiring them to continue to get adjusted.
If you'd like to learn more, here are some other great posts you may enjoy:
Or, click here to schedule your first visit with Reach Health & Wellness Chiropractic.
*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.