Chiropractic Myths

1. Once you start Chiropractic treatment you have to continue for the rest of your life.

This is probably the biggest misconception surrounding chiropractors today. Chiropractic treatment is generally divided into 3 stages acute care, corrective care and maintenance care. It is entirely up to the patient how far they would like to take their treatment. Acute care focuses on pain reduction, corrective care addresses fixing structural and biomechanical dysfunction and maintenance care acts as a preventative measure. It is this last stage that has been misconstrued by many to mean chiropractic care requires a lifetime commitment.

The goal of maintenance care is to prevent future recurrences and the development of new problems. It can be compared to exercise, yearly dental check-ups or a healthy diet. It is not necessary but it helps maintain optimum health. For this reason, after the conclusion of the acute and corrective stages of care, patients are given the OPTION to continue with maintenance care.

A lifetime commitment is not necessary to reduce pain and to fix structural and biomechanical problems. Patients who make a lifetime commitment do so by choice because they realize the benefits of regular chiropractic treatment.

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2. Chiropractors only treat back and neck pain.

The success of chiropractic treatment with neck and back pain is well known but this success perpetuates a myth that chiropractors only treat neck and backs. Here at the Pro-Active Wellness Center, we focus on conditions of the ENTIRE neuromuskuloskeletal system or the nerves, muscles, and bone system. Although the spine is a very important part of this system, it is not the only part of this system. Along with the spine, we also successfully treat conditions of the shoulder, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle, foot and the muscles and nerves associated with these structures.

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3. Pinched nerves in the spine are the root of all disease and pain.

When a nerve is not functioning properly it is called a neuropathy. In some cases, joint restrictions in the spine induces inflammation in the area causing the nerves that originate from those specific spinal segments to function abnormally. This is called a radiculopathy (a neuropathy that comes from the spine) and often leads to pain, tingling, numbness and weakness along the course of that nerve. Sciatica is common example of this condition. However, not all cases of abnormally functioning nerves originate from the spine. A case of Sciatica may be due to a spinal dysfunction but it could also be due to what's called a peripheral nerve entrapment. A peripheral nerve entrapment is when a nerve is "pinched" not at the spine but somewhere else along the course of that nerve. In these instances treatment of the spine will not alleviate the pain and discomfort. To assume that all neuropathies originate from the spine would be an irresponsible conclusion.

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4. I'm too old or too young to receive chiropractic care.

Significant trauma to our neuromuskuloskeletal system can occur at ANY age, and especially during the birth process. Chiropractic treatment can be modified to meet the needs of specific conditions and age. Some chiropractors actually specialize in pediatrics and newborns have been known to receive chiropractic treatment. Many low force techniques are available for elderly patients concerned with osteoporosis.

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5. Chiropractors are not "real" doctors.

The training and education endured by doctors of chiropractic is extremely thorough and demanding, similar to that of medical doctors with the exception of pharmacology and surgery. Prior to entering chiropractic college, the aspiring chiropractor requires 2-4 years (depending on the college attended and the state one wishes to practice in) of premed 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, pathology, neurology, radiology, differential diagnosis, chiropractic adjustive techniques, biomechanics , and other health-related studies.

In addition, 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 chiropractic offices, further enhancing their clinical practice skills. Doctors of chiropractic must successfully complete rigorous National and State Board examinations prior to obtaining a license to practice chiropractic. Once licensed, most states require that chiropractors receive annual continuing education to ensure that a high level of competency is maintained.

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6. Chiropractic treatment is dangerous and the "popping" noise during a chiropractic adjustment is the sound of something breaking.

On the contrary, chiropractic care has an excellent safety record, safer than back surgery, muscle relaxers, and even aspirin. Chiropractors enjoy one of the lowest malpractice insurance costs amongst health care professionals. One of the lowest malpractice insurance costs means one of the lowest incidents of malpractice lawsuits due to complications during treatment.

The "cracking" or "popping" noise associated with chiropractic adjustments is NOT the sound of bones breaking. It is the same sound that is made when someone "cracks" their knuckles. It is simply the formation of gas due to negative pressure in the air tight/fluid filled joint when the joint is separated. Many people associate the "popping" noise with a successful chiropractic adjustment and the lack there of as an unsuccessful one. This is also a myth as successful adjustments can be performed with the absence of that noise.

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7. "Cracking" your joints will cause arthritis.

There is no evidence to suggest that "cracking" your joints such as your knuckles causes arthritis. There are only a handful of studies on the subject but none of them show a definite link between knuckle cracking and arthritis. These studies show that cracking your knuckles is neither harmless nor desirable. The arthritis connection may be an old wives' tale.

In 1990, a researcher looked at the hand function in 200 adults, age 45 and above. He didn't find a greater tendency toward arthritis in the 74 habitual knuckle crackers. In another study, published back in 1975, the researcher visited an old age home and asked patients whether or not they had cracked their knuckles when they were young. He found 15 who remembered they had, and 13 who remembered they had not. When the researcher X-rayed their hands, and compared the two groups, he found no difference in arthritis rates.

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