Chiropractic is one of the most contentious forms of health care. Millions of happy patients love their chiropractors, yet many others wouldn’t try it even if their health and wellbeing depended on it (which it does). There are many reasons for this dichotomy. Let’s expose some of the various myths so you’ll understand the safe and sensible discipline of chiropractic.
MYTH: You have to go back for repeat visits.
TRUTH: Repeat visits are often necessary because our treatment is hands-on and typically requires a cumulative effect. When working in a physical way with a physical condition, repeat treatments are necessary to train the body just as repeat exercise is necessary to train for strength.
MYTH: Chiropractors take lots of x-rays?
TRUTH: Like any physician, a history and exam will reveal if x-rays are required to further assess your complaint. Since chiropractors are skilled at assessing the physical structure, we often take fewer x-rays than other healthcare providers. You’ll find that at PCG, we prescribe x-rays judiciously.
MYTH: Chiropractors sign people up for long terms of care.
TRUTH: Chiropractic care plays an important role throughout life, so this myth is partially true – we’d like to see you as needed, for the rest of your life. However, we believe that every type of doctor would say the same thing.
MYTH: Chiropractors want to see you three times a week when starting a treatment plan.
TRUTH: There are different stages of healthcare – think of them as urgent, rehabilitative, and maintenance. In the urgent phase, more frequent treatment may be needed for the first few weeks, but rehabilitative care isn’t nearly as frequent (think 2-4 times per month) and maintenance care is much less often. We work with you to assess your treatment frequency.
MYTH: Is that popping that happens my bones cracking?
TRUTH: When a joint is gapped or stretched during a chiropractic adjustment, a small air pocket forms temporarily inside the joint. Just like the pressure difference in a Snapple bottle when you first take the lid off, this creates a popping sound. Nothing is damaged.
MYTH: Chiropractic causes arthritis because of the cracking of bones.
TRUTH: Nothing could be farther from the truth. Because manipulation relieves irritation and restores normal mobility, most types of arthritis is prevented (or at least alleviated).
MYTH: Chiropractic adjustments hurt.
TRUTH: Occasionally there is a moment of pain, as if being pinched, but it nearly instantly abates. The relief of pain is what you’ll notice as the irritation to the joints, muscles and nerves is reduced by chiropractic adjustments.
MYTH: You get addicted to chiropractic and have to keep going back.
TRUTH: Chiropractors love this one because it’s true. Patients get addicted to feeling good, living without pain, moving freely and a whole host of other things that accompany chiropractic health care. Therefore, they come back as needed.
MYTH: Chiropractic isn’t covered by insurance.
TRUTH: Most insurance policies cover chiropractic care, and more are acknowledging it all the time.
MYTH: Chiropractors aren’t actually doctors.
TRUTH: All chiropractors are duly licensed physicians who have graduated from chiropractic schools that meet the same educational criteria as any other type of doctor. Additionally, we have met the state and national standards as any other doctor and have to pass tests (board exams) to prove it. Lastly, doctors of chiropractic (DC) have to meet state mandated continuing education requirements. In a nutshell, we’ve earned our doctor status just as much as any medic, osteopathic, or dentist.
MYTH: I need a prescription (from my MD) to see a chiropractor.
TRUTH: Perhaps in some limited insurance groups such as a gatekeeper in an HMO, but in essentially all other cases you can go directly to the chiropractor. In Oregon, DCs are considered primary care providers, meaning that we can assess any type of condition and are responsible for prescribing the proper course of action (which may mean referral to some other specialist of facility).
MYTH: There's no proof that chiropractic works.
TRUTH: Research has repeatedly proven that chiropractic is effective. Chiropractors are tiny fish in the big health care sea, so we’re doing our best to educate people about the roles we play in providing healthcare. One-by-one people are learning that chiropractic care is safe, practical, and affordable. Now you have some answers to common misunderstandings.