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Common Chiropractic Myths
- An adjustment “cracks your back.”
Fact: Chiropractors manually adjust your spine to restore function and decrease pain due to abnormal joint function and muscle tightness or spasm. A popping sound sometimes occurs due to air being released when a joint space is opened. Most patients experience immediate relief following an adjustment; however, some may experience temporary pain, stiffness or slight swelling.
- You can’t stop going once you start.
Fact: Each patient is clinically assessed and provided with a personalized treatment protocol. Many conditions only require a few treatments. An acute problem such as overdoing it at the gym may respond quickly, while other chronic problems may benefit from a more comprehensive treatment regime.
- Chiropractors only work on your back.
Fact: Chiropractors are trained to care for all the joints in your body. They can help with injuries to areas such as the spine, wrist, shoulders and ankles, as well as conditions such as osteoarthritis, ligament sprains and chronic pain syndromes.
- Chiropractors are not real doctors.
Fact: To practise in Canada, chiropractors must complete four years of post-graduate study and 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training. They are one of a limited number of health professionals entitled to use the designation of “doctor.”
- Neck adjustments can be dangerous.
Fact: Adjustment techniques have been researched extensively. Complications are rare and side effects, such as temporary soreness, are usually minor. There are comprehensive clinical practice guidelines that chiropractors refer to when recommending a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are well trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require a referral to another healthcare provider.
- You must be referred to a chiropractor by a medical doctor.
Fact: Chiropractors are legislated as primary-contact health professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly. However, chiropractors often work closely with medical doctors, many of whom refer to chiropractors when they believe chiropractic treatment will help alleviate a patient’s condition. Similarly, chiropractors frequently refer to medical doctors when necessary.