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  • Dr. Brandon Davy

Common Chiropractic Myths

Myth 1: Adjustments hurt, are dangerous, and that is all chiropractors do!

No, adjustments generally do not hurt. In fact, many patients report immediate pain relief! Patients may be nervous about the ‘cracking’ or popping sound that may occur during an adjustment. The sound often is a result of the release of gas bubbles from the joint. The purpose of this technique is to restore your body’s natural mobility while relieving sore and stiff muscles and joints.

Sometimes there is some discomfort following an adjustment, just as there may be some tenderness and discomfort from any manual therapy - including massage - as they release constraints and tight muscles. Some patients have severely restricted and stiff joints which requires specific maneuvers and releases that can result in some temporary discomfort in the area, subsiding usually within less than 24 hours and resulting in an increased flexibility of the joint.

Adjustment is only one of many techniques used by chiropractors to release and restore function. If you have concerns about being adjusted, there are many other tools that a chiropractor can use to assist with recovery. These include: joint mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, exercise prescription, education and reassurance, acupuncture, LASER therapy and many more! You are a partner in your care and if you aren’t comfortable with any part of your treatment plan you should discuss that with your chiropractor to develop a plan that works for both of you.

Myth 2: Once you go to a chiropractor you have to keep coming back!

No. After completing a thorough history and physical exam and providing the patient with a diagnosis a tailored treatment plan is developed. This treatment plan will include a recommended treatment approach and frequency as well as continuous evaluation and assessment of the therapeutic goals that were set in the treatment plan. Once the initial issue that brought the patient into clinic has subsided, the therapist and patient will review the treatment outcomes and either set additional goals or conclude the treatments. As a patient, if you have questions or concerns about your care, you should feel comfortable to ask your chiropractor for more information on their recommendation of your care. The care plan should always involve a shared decision making between the patient and chiropractor.

Myth 3: There is no evidence to support chiropractic treatment and they only treat spines!

No. There is a multitude of research completed by the chiropractic as well as other profession institutions that says that chiropractic treatment is beneficial. For example, spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is recommended as the first line treatment for back pain in numerous clinical practice guidelines, including; the  Bone and Joint Decade Task Force, the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society, and Britain’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence.

Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts and are trained is assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing bio-mechanical disorders that originate from the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. While this does include the spine, it also includes the rest of the body like the hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists and ankles as well as the TMJ and headaches. Even repetitive strain injuries can be treatment by chiropractors. Chiropractors can also provide counseling about nutrition, fitness and ergonomics that may be useful in managing and preventing certain health conditions.

Myth 4: a medical doctor must refer you to a chiropractor:

Chiropractors are regulated in all 10 Canadian provinces and area designated to use the title ‘doctor’ due to their extensive training in their area of expertise – musculoskeletal health. In all Canadian provinces, chiropractors are primary health care providers, meaning you can access them directly without referral. Due to their training, they can do an extensive assessment to correctly diagnose a condition and develop a treatment plan.

While chiropractic care can be expensive, most benefits cover a portion of chiropractic care. Check with your provider to see what sort of coverage you may have.

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