If you suffer from back pain, neck pain, or headaches, you may have considered seeing a chiropractor. With 70,000 chiropractors in America and millions seeking chiropractic care each year, it’s no surprise you’ve thought about it. But maybe you’re on the fence and have some questions—and maybe you’ve heard some of the common myths floating around about chiropractors. Whether or not you believe the chiropractic myths yourself, learning the facts can help you feel more comfortable about chiropractic care and can even help you decide if seeing a chiropractor can put you on the path to wellness and pain relief.
How Often Should You Go to the Chiropractor?
Myth #1:After your first visit, you’re stuck going for life.
Fact:Every treatment plan varies, and ultimately, you decide how often you go.
Perhaps this chiropractic care myth was started because people often visit chiropractors for routine care. However, routine care—and overall care plans—differ for each patient. Depending on why you came to the chiropractor in the first place, your recommended duration of treatment will vary.
For example, if you are suffering from an injury, you will receive a plan with a specific number of adjustments expected to bring you relief. Once you are healed, you may not need further treatment.
If your problem is chronic, like ongoing neck and back pain, your treatment plan may be lengthier. Your chiropractor may recommend you come on a regular basis with the goal of prevention after the treatment plan has elapsed. It all depends on your problem, your doctor, and of course, you. Ultimately, you determine how often you visit a chiropractor.
Are Chiropractors Real Doctors?
Myth #2: Chiropractors are not real doctors.
Fact:Chiropractors are recognized as doctors by federal law and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Although this chiropractic myth has greatly diminished in recent years, many are still uncertain about the training and qualifications that chiropractors actually do have. Some may worry that an uneducated, semi-trained individual will be pulling on their spine and joints. Rest assured, this is simply not the case.
Chiropractors must pass a board exam and earn a license just like other doctors. They must continue learning and training in order to keep their license updated. As for their college education, the American Chiropractic Association expresses the following, derailing this chiropractic myth:
“Chiropractors are educated in nationally accredited, four-year doctoral graduate school programs through a curriculum that includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical internship, with the average DC program equivalent in classroom hours to allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical schools.”
Additionally, while in school, aspiring chiropractors take many of the same classes that any medical student would take—anatomy, physiology, even pediatrics. They are highly qualified to assess, diagnose, treat, and refer patients, like any other doctor.
Does Chiropractic Hurt?
Myth #3:Adjustments hurt.
Fact:Although adjustments are sometimes uncomfortable, they are not typically painful.
Some people automatically assume chiropractic adjustments are painful because they are startled by the popping and cracking sounds that often occur—but these noises don’t signify pain. They are caused by air and gas moving through the fluid in your joints as your joints are manipulated and stretched out (sort of like when you crack your knuckles). The truth is, after an adjustment, immediate pain relief is quite common.
During the adjustment, some people do feel brief discomfort—but it is often described as a “feel-good” kind of pain. You also may feel a little bit sore after, as though you had a tough workout. But the intense relief and release you will feel after the adjustments is definitely worth it, as many patients attest. First-time patients are typically shocked by the rejuvenating sensation that follows a chiropractic adjustment.
What Is the Average Chiropractor Cost?
Myth #4:Chiropractic care is expensive.
Fact:It varies from patient to patient, but the average cost is about $56 per session.
Contrary to the myth, most insurance policies cover chiropractic care. Of course, just like any medical treatment, the actual expense varies from person to person. The good news is, chiropractic care is often very affordable with insurance. And some chiropractic offices offer specific plans for those whose insurance does not cover it. The best thing you can do is check your insurance policy and check with your potential chiropractors to learn your options.
The other factor to consider is the long-term savings you could enjoy because of chiropractic care. A four-year study published by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics concluded that patients using chiropractic and other holistic treatments experienced:
- 43% fewer hospital admissions
- 58.4% fewer days in a hospital stay
- 43.2% decrease in outpatient procedures, including surgeries
- 51.8% reduction in pharmacy and drug costs
So even though you may not see the healthcare savings immediately in your budget, you are likely to see them later on as you enjoy a healthier life with fewer medical costs.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
Myth #5:Chiropractic care is unsafe.
Fact:Chiropractic care is widely accepted as a safe and low-risk natural procedure to achieve pain relief, improved mobility, and overall wellness.
While all medical interventions and procedures carry some risk, any risk associated with chiropractic care is extremely low, and the safety of chiropractic care trumps the safety of any other treatment for back pain—surgery, steroids, and pain medication included. Most often, the only side effect that comes with chiropractic adjustments is soreness.
Perhaps what speaks most in favor of chiropractic care—and dispels this chiropractic myth—is insurance premiums. In 2017, the National University of Health Sciences reported that chiropractors pay roughly $3,750 in annual malpractice insurance premiums. Contrast this with the nearly $18,000 paid by medical doctors. Chiropractors’ premiums are some of the lowest in the entire medical profession because of the historically low risk factor and high safety.
Despite this, some still worry about chiropractic care because it has, in extremely rare instances, been associated with stroke. This is only in the case of aggressive neck manipulation. Studies have found a rare correlation between aggressive neck adjustments and vertebral artery dissection, which can cause stroke.
In these cases it is possible that the chiropractic manipulation caused the dissection, while it is also possible that the dissection was a preexisting condition that actually caused the pain that drove the patient to seek chiropractic care in the first place. The important thing to remember: if you are considering chiropractic treatment for neck pain, check with your primary care physician first, and don’t be afraid to express your concern with your chiropractor.
Is A Chiropractor Safe for Kids?
Myth #6:Only adults can see chiropractors.
Fact:Chiropractors receive training to adjust all people, from babies to the elderly. Some chiropractors receive additional specialized training for babies and children.
The American Chiropractic Association cites a study done in 2014 confirming that chiropractic adjustments are overwhelmingly safe in infants and children. Chiropractic care can be an effective preventative technique to help limit the chance of spinal issues in adulthood. It has also been known to decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and even prevent ADHD and similar neurodevelopmental disorders.
For children who play sports or engage in other activities where injuries are commonplace, chiropractic can be used as a tool for both prevention and recovery. Of course, you’ll want to consult with your child’s pediatrician before making the decision to begin adjustments.
Can You Only See a Chiropractor for Back Pain?
Myth #7: Chiropractic care only treats back pain.
Fact:Chiropractic care enhances the overall wellness of a person, and as a result can be used to treat a variety of health issues.
The American Chiropractic Association estimates that over 35 million adults and children seek chiropractic care each year. Back pain is by far the primary complaint treated by chiropractic, but in reality, chiropractors treat the overall wellness of a person. In addition to back and neck pain, chiropractic is known to relieve headaches, digestive issues, muscle pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, allergies, anxiety, sleep disorders, sciatica, and pregnancy-related discomfort and pain. It can also improve your immune system.
The reason for chiropractic’s wide-reaching effect is simple: spinal adjustments influence the entire body. Your nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) are central to your body’s normal functioning. When your spine is not correctly aligned, your whole body’s communication system suffers, resulting in many more issues than just back pain. Spinal adjustments improve your nervous system functioning, resulting in relief in a range of areas. Additionally, chiropractors are usually trained to give nutritional and wellness advice, truly empowering their patients to live life to the fullest.
Don’t let these common chiropractic care myths hold you back from getting the pain relief you need. Now that you’re armed with the facts, you can determine if chiropractic care is the next step on your journey to wellness and pain relief. If you still have questions or are feeling unresolved about chiropractic care, we would be happy to talk to you!
At All Star Chiropractic, our goal is to help our patients recover from back pain, neck pain, lack of mobility, joint issues, range of motion issues, and more—without the use of prescription drugs. We believe in taking a holistic “whole-body” approach to your health. We don’t want to just temporarily fix your pain—we want to determine and treat the root cause so you live an active and pain-free life.