Four Chiropractic Myths Erasederasing chiropractic myths

Myths have been created over the years about chiropractic care. It is unfortunate. These are created over the years mostly by economic competitors or those with differing philosophies. While the majority of myths have no basis, they do exist and cause some confusion to individuals unfamiliar with chiropractors. Let’s clear up some confusion here.

Myth #1: Spinal Adjustments by a Chiropractor Hurt

Answer: Quite the contrary to these myths. Many patients feel instant relief immediately after their treatments. In fact, most look forward to their treatments. Some patients may experience discomfort if they are suffering from severe bouts of back or neck pain. This is for obvious reasons. However for most patients this is not the case. Most patients feel great during and after their adjustments. Most patients experience long-term relief.

Myth #2: Spinal Adjustments Are Dangerous

Answer: Spinal adjustments are extremely safe when performed by chiropractors. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are among the safest treatments for most back and neck problems. Adjustments are safe for people of all ages.

According to a 1993 Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study:

There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low-back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low-back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low-back pain.

Lead investigator of the study, Pran Manga, Ph. D., however, did have a warning. He said that spinal adjustments performed by health care professionals other than qualified doctors of chiropractic were potentially harmful and less effective.

Several existing medical therapies of low-back pain are contraindicated. This is on the basis of the existing clinical trials. There is also evidence in the literature to suggest that spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by non-chiropractic professionals.

On December 8, 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute low back pain.

Their findings included:

The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare. Therefore conservative treatments should be the first option before considering surgical intervention. Prescription drugs such as oral steroids and anti-inflammatory medications are not recommended for acute low back problems.

Myth #3: Chiropractic Doctors Lack Education Compared With Medical Doctors

Answer: The training and education endured by chiropractors is extremely thorough and demanding. It is similar to that of medical doctors with the exception of pharmacology and surgery. Prior to entering chiropractic college, the aspiring chiropractor requires 4 years of pre-med undergraduate studies. Once completed, the student must next complete 4-5 academic years of studies at a chiropractic college. This includes extensive training in anatomy, physiology, and pathology. There is also extensive training in neurology, radiology, and differential diagnosis. And of course there is heavy emphasis on adjustment techniques, biomechanics, and other health-related studies.

Prior to graduation each student must successfully complete several hundred clinical hours of patient management in a clinical setting under professional supervision. Most chiropractic colleges also require students to partake in clinical externship programs which place them in actual chiropractor’s offices, further enhancing their clinical practice skills. This is one of the easiest myths to bust.

After graduation, the new doctors of chiropractic must successfully complete rigorous National and State Board examinations. A chiropractor must do this prior to obtaining a license to practice chiropractic. Once licensed, most states require that chiropractors receive annual continuing education. Therefore chiropractors must maintain a high level of competency.

Myth #4: Chiropractic Is Not Scientific

Answer: Chiropractors have always sought to provide the safest and most effective healing methods for their patients. In the last 20 years chiropractic health care has established an impressive array of scientific research. The research demonstrates the efficacy, safety, and cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. There are many further studies currently underway. Medical doctors and government researchers in both the U.S. and a number of other countries have performed several other studies.

In fact, the chiropractic profession has accumulated a greater number of scientific trials on chiropractic than the medical profession has accumulated for many of the treatments rendered by medical doctors. According to David M. Edy, M.D., Ph.D., professor of health policy and management with Duke University, North Carolina:

Only 15 percent of all medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence.

Paul G. Shekelle, M.D., M.P.H., of the RAND Corporation made the following statement on ABC’s 20/20.

There are more randomized controlled trials. They show benefit of this than there are for many, many other things which physicians and neurosurgeons do all the time.

If you have any other questions, please call us at 215-343-3223.