6 chiropractic myths busted
Chiropractors do more than crack backs. We spoke with one to separate the facts from the myths when it comes to chiropractic care.
Source and Referenceby:
By Tim Falconer
Written in consultation with Dr. Peter Tzakas, DC, FCCPOR(C).
Chiropractic care has been around since the end of the 19th century. The discipline has evolved a lot since those days. To many people, chiropractors are saviours, but others are still unsure if it’s the right care for them. Let’s learn more about what chiropractors do to help bust the myths.
Myth #1: Chiropractors just manipulate spines
Many people associate chiropractors with spinal manipulative therapy – or to use a simpler term, cracking backs. And chiropractors do often manipulate spines, but that’s far from all they do. Dr. Peter Tzakas, a Toronto chiropractor, says he manipulates spines only about 40% of the time. Dr. Tzakas, who is also the clinic director at Kinetica Health Group, also uses other therapeutic techniques. For example, ultrasound, laser treatment, electrotherapy and acupuncture. And he expects his patients to do their part with the exercises he gives them to do between visits.
Myth #2: Spinal manipulation hurts
Your chiropractor isn’t going to do anything to make your condition worse. Before manipulating your spine, they will take a full history of your pain and do a thorough physical exam. They may also do some tests. For example, checking your spine while you’re standing on one leg. Only then can they decide your treatment. “If you come in with an 8 out of 10 in pain, the last thing I want to do is an intervention that’s going to cause more pain,” Dr. Tzakas says. “So maybe we don’t even manipulate on the first visit. Maybe you’re not ready for it.”
Myth #3: Chiropractic treatment is painful
Even if your chiropractor does manipulate your spine, it doesn’t usually hurt. But you may hear popping sounds. They’re nothing to be alarmed about, though. “That isn’t us breaking your bones, it’s just the gas between the joints coming out,” Dr. Tzakas says. “It’s like popping open a can of Coke.”
Myth #4: Chiropractors treat only back and necks
Chiropractors work with the whole musculoskeletal system, according to the Canadian Chiropractic Association. This includes joints, muscles and ligaments as well as the spine. That means they can assess and treat more than just backs and necks. They can also help you with other parts of the body, too. For example, shoulders, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Dr. Tzakas treats a variety of ailments. For example, tendonitis, sprained ankles, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, swimmer’s shoulder and knee pain from repetitive use like running. Many people also visit chiropractors to prevent issues in their joints and spine.
Myth #5: Once you go to a chiropractor, you’ll be going forever
How often you will need to visit a chiropractor depends on why you’ve come in the first place. If it’s an acute problem, it’s typical that you’ll start to feel better after four to 10 visits.
But if your pain has been recurring, your chiropractor may suggest monthly visits to prevent it from coming back. “If I’ve treated someone for the same problem two or three years in a row and each time I treat them for 12 visits, I might suggest seeing them once a month preventively,” Dr. Tzakas says. He always lets the patient decide the preventative treatment schedule. “Financially, it’s the same cost. And it’s less pain.”
Myth #6 You need a referral from your doctor
You don’t need a referral from your family doctor to see a chiropractor. But if you don’t want to pay out of pocket and have health insurance, check your benefits first. Some plans require a referral from a doctor to file a claim for a chiropractic visit.