There are many people out there with misconceptions about chiropractic treatments. Here are some of the myths:
- You need a referral from a medical doctor to go to a chiropractor
- Chiropractic is expensive
- Chiropractic treatments hurt
- Once you see a chiropractor, you have to keep going for life
- Chiropractic adjustments can give you a stroke or paralyze you
- Chiropractors are not “real” doctors
- Chiropractors are just back doctors
- Chiropractic is the same as massage
- Chiropractors cannot prescribe medications
- Chiropractors are not covered by insurance or medical health plans
- If you have arthritis, chiropractors can’t help you
- Chiropractors and medical doctors don’t get along
You need a referral from a medical doctor to go to a chiropractor
This is a common misunderstanding. If you are injured in an auto accident, you can see a chiropractor without a referral. If you are injured at work, you can see a chiropractor without a referral. If you are over 65 and on Medicare, you can see a chiropractor, but your particular plan could limit your choice of chiropractor. Many insurance and health plans today have their own provider networks, which means that you must see one of the chiropractors on their approved list. In Hawaii, chiropractors are considered "portal-of-entry" doctors, which means that you can go directly to a chiropractor without having to get your personal doctor's approval. It is wise to check with your health plan to see if you have coverage you don't know about.
Chiropractic is expensive
Chiropractic treatments are among the most affordable treatments in healthcare. A massage session averages $65. An acupuncture session about $75. A visit to the medical doctor for a simple checkup could cost you or your insurance company about $80. If you have surgery or require medications, the cost will be much more. A physical therapy session often exceeds $100. A chiropractic visit averages $35-$55, a very affordable service. If you have insurance coverage for chiropractic care, your co-pay portion could be minimal.
There are a few chiropractors who promote an expensive program of chiropractic care ranging from $2,000-$3,000, but that is not the norm. Most chiropractors are prudent in their charges and don't over-treat or over-charge.
Chiropractic treatments hurt
Most chiropractic adjustments are very comfortable and our patients look forward to their visits. First-time patients are often surprised that their fears were unfounded. Some patient are in pain because of their conditions and chiropractic adjustments in the area of injury will be painful, but your chiropractor will let you know what to expect. The object of adjustments is frequently the reduction of pain and the restoration of motion, flexibility, and functional capacity. Drugs and medications often just mask the pain by dulling your nerves. Chiropractic treatments attempt to make a real change in your condition. We treat the cause of the pain and not just the symptom of pain.
Once you see a chiropractor, you have to keep going for life
Most of our patients' problems resolve within 1-5 treatments. Some patients we never see again once their condition is resolved. Some patients visit our office again at another time for a different or new condition because they were happy with their previous treatments. Some patients have chronic conditions that cannot be fully resolved because of age or injury or spinal degeneration. These patients will benefit from periodic adjustments that help to stabilize their condition even though we may not be able to fully correct their problem.
We have seen some of our patient for more than ten years, but it's not because we continually schedule them for appointments. Rather, they call our office whenever they have a problem they are confident we can treat.
Chiropractic adjustments can give you a stroke or paralyze you
Let's examine a stroke event and put it into perspective. Strokes are actually and usually caused by plaque formation in your arteries and veins. If the plaque is large enough, a piece can break off and float along with the blood until it reaches a blood vessel in or near the brain that is too small to let it pass. The blockage stops the blood flow to the rest of the blood vessel and the tissues that depend on the blood flow die from lack of oxygen and nutrients. If the dying tissues are nerve tissues, certain parts of your normal motion and function (such as speech or hand gestures) will be impaired. None of this description of a typical stroke event involves chiropractic care.
Once we understand the physiology of a stroke event, we can see that a stroke can happen anywhere and at any time: sitting on a bus, stepping off the curb on a sidewalk, during surgery, because of a cough, lying peacefully in bed watching TV. Sometimes a stroke event happens in close proximity to a visit to a chiropractic office. Did the adjustment cause the stroke? Or was a plaque the more likely cause of the stroke? Strokes have happened occasionally in a chiropractic office, but they happen more frequently when people are doing other activities in their lives. By sheer statistical probability, a stroke will occasionally occur during a chiropractic visit.
To say that chiropractic adjustments cause strokes is a gross misrepresentation. The average chiropractor performs about 100 neck adjustments a week, about 5,000 a year. There are 60,000 chiropractors in the U.S. alone. Collectively, all the chiropractors perform over 300,000,000 neck adjustments every year. If a stroke occurs in a chiropractic office even 5 times a year, it is not a statistically significant number. More people suffer strokes every year while doing mundane activities like watching TV or walking in the park or eating dinner.
Some people are fond of perpetrating the myth that chiropractic adjustments cause strokes, implying this is a frequent occurrence. Most of them don't know fact from fiction.
Chiropractors are not "real" doctors
There are 18 accredited chiropractic colleges in the U.S. alone. The accreditation is granted by the CCE (Council on Chiropractic Education) under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education. The curricula of the colleges are made up of doctoral level courses and the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic is conferred on their graduates. This title is uniformly recognized and utilized in all 50 states. Chiropractors are not allopathic medical doctors, for sure, but neither are PhD's, who also enjoy the title of "doctor". Chiropractors chose a career path that advocates preventive medicine, holistic care, and non-invasive healthcare. By their own choice, they do not participate in the treatment of patients by drugs and medications, believing in more natural treatments and hands-on care.
A real doctor is one who treats patients with expertise, effectiveness, care, and professionalism. Many people who bear the title of doctor do not rise to this level of excellence. Chiropractors can be as real as any doctor so long as they practice patient-centered care.
Chiropractors are just back doctors
Doctoral level education and training qualifies chiropractors to treat neuromusculoskeletal conditions. That's a very big word for the nerve, muscle and skeletal systems of the body.
Chiropractors are concerned with the proper structure, alignment, and function of all bones and joints of the body from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet. The dis-relationship of bones and dysfunction of joints can cause pain, tightness, achiness, loss of normal motion, and structural weakness.
Normally functioning muscles are a great asset because they are responsible for all the various motions of our bodies that help us to live, work, and play. Weak muscles, spasmed muscles, malfunctioning muscles can be responsible for pain, tightness, achiness, loss of normal motion, and weakness. Get the point? Bones and muscles must work in tandem for our bodies to operate normally.
Disruptions in the bones, joints, and muscles can lead to nerve pressure, interference, and damage. When nerves malfunction, we suffer pain, tingling, numbness, and a host of other sensations.
Put all together, neuromusculoskeletal conditions can result in s symphony of sour notes and crashing cymbals. From headaches to joint stiffness to falling arches to low back pain. Chiropractors are qualified to identify and treat many conditions affecting our bodies. Only a thorough examination can determine if your condition is a chiropractic case.
Chiropractic is the same as massage
Woe to he who makes this mistake. Massage focuses on the muscular system and blood flow throughout the body. Massage therapists are licensed, but do not have doctoral level educations. They cannot diagnose conditions and cannot perform chiropractic manipulative adjustments.
Chiropractors cannot prescribe medications
A better statement is: Chiropractors don't want to prescribe medications. Chiropractors are committed to holistic, natural, and non-invasive treatment techniques and, by intention, do not engage in the use of drugs and medications. Chiropractors prefer to deal with the source of the problem rather than with the symptom.
Chiropractors are not covered by insurance or medical health plans
There was a time when this was true…about 40 years ago. Today, however, chiropractic is included in many insurance and health plans. Just to name a few, Medicare, HMSA, HMAA, UHA, Kaiser, and all auto insurance companies provide chiropractic benefits. Your individual plan many vary and some of HMSA's and Kaiser's plans do not have chiropractic coverage, so check with your health plan first. If you're injured at work, chiropractic treatments are a covered benefit for all full-time workers. Times have changed. You may have a chiropractic benefit and not even know it.
If you have arthritis, chiropractic can't help you
Arthritis is a degenerative process. We usually think of it as affecting our bones and joints. If you have osteoarthritis (due to the wear and tear of life and work) chiropractic can do a lot for you. If you have rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease) chiropractic has limited value. At least a third of our patients have some degree of osteoarthritis and they seek treatment because of the relief they feel with chiropractic adjustments. Bones and joints put out of proper alignment because of work, sports, accidents, and injuries at any time in your life can compromise their stability of your spine and skeletal system. Just like with a swinging gate that isn't hung well, use of it can cause further damage to the hinges and posts. Our joints function the same way. Every day, we expect them to work, but we often neglect making sure they are properly aligned and balanced. Can we be our own worst enemy by not tending to our bodies properly?
Chiropractors and medical doctors don't get along
Some chiropractors and medical doctors don't get along. Many medical doctors don't know enough about chiropractic to have an opinion or know how to evaluate the benefits of our treatments. In truth, any medical doctor who truly cares about your health will leave all options open for your treatment, including chiropractic services. Today, many of the young doctors don't have the prejudices of their older colleagues. They are also more knowledgeable about the healthcare world around them and are willing to say that drugs, medication, and surgery may not be the best or the only solution for your problem. Patients are demanding more from their doctors, including giving them informed options for their care.