The idea of having someone crack your neck is a common reason people don’t want to go to a chiropractor. Another is that you have to be injured to seek treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth – chiropractors help promote alignment of the nervous system, spine and soft tissue and joints to keep you moving the way nature intended. Find out the top myths about chiropractic medicine.
Chiropractors only treat the spine.
Although chiropractors are spine specialists, they are highly knowledgeable about the nervous system, and soft tissue therapy for muscle and joint conditions. The best chiropractors incorporate spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, exercise prescription and modalities such as Interferential Current Therapy (IFC) or acupuncture in their treatments.
Chiropractors crack your bones.
An adjustment of a joint within or outside of the spine is a manual technique used to restore function to the joint and reduce pain. The audible “crack” or “pop” noise you may hear is the joint opening and releasing gas pressure within the joint. This sound can only happen when a joint is dysfunctional.
I can adjust myself, I don’t need a chiropractor.
When a joint becomes stiff or dysfunctional, other adjacent joints may become hyper mobile to make up for lost range of motion. Any joint that is capable of moving is capable of making the audible “pop” sound of an adjustment, making you believe you are doing a proper adjustment. However, to adjust a dysfunctional joint, proper positioning and precise handling is required. Adjusting your own joints may provide relief temporarily, but you may be taking an unstable joint and making it more unstable, increasing risk for injury and pain in the future.
Adjustments are painful.
Adjustments should never be painful. The majority of the time, people feel great relief after an adjustment. In acute circumstances the initial adjustment may feel uncomfortable as the body and the nervous system get used to and integrate the new joint position. Over time as the joints and body adapt to the adjusted position patients feel even more at ease.
Chiropractors are not real doctors.
In Ontario, a chiropractor is one of five health professionals legally entitled to use the title ‘doctor’ and is considered a Primary Care Practitioner. To become a chiropractor one must complete an undergraduate program and a 4-year Doctor of Chiropractic program consisting of 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training. Chiropractors must also pass national exams and complete continuing education courses to ensure they keep their licence and are up-to-date with current health trends and treatments.
Chiropractic care is not safe for children.
Children grow and develop rapidly and are susceptible to many traumas, large or minor, especially when involved in sport activities. Regular assessments and checkups for any abnormalities during this growth period can prevent misalignments and dysfunction in the future. Chiropractic care allows children to grow with proper nerve function and development. If there is a family history of arthritis or scoliosis it is wise to involve spinal care early in the child’s life as prevention may be possible.
Once you see a chiropractor you will always have to see one.
Your chiropractor will make evidence-based decisions and programs for you to receive the most optimal treatment possible based on your specific diagnosis. After the initial concern is controlled, regular adjustments can become part of a healthy lifestyle but optimally the decision to continue maintaining your health is up to you. The better your daily exercise and stretching routine is, the less you will require ongoing care. For those who sit for long hours, have physically demanding jobs, or are under chronic stress often, a monthly maintenance plan can reduce pain and reset the nervous system.