So, you have back pain? Are you thinking about seeing a chiropractor? Or do you have that one friend saying to you for the fifth time, “You really ought to go to see my chiropractor!”?
There are plenty of myths and conjectures surrounding this field. Hesitation and skepticism are completely normal and understandable. In order to set your mind at ease we’re here to dispel some myths and stigmas involved with chiropractic care.
According to a 2019 survey reported by WebMD, about 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. About 35% of the people are seeking relief from back pain stemming from a variety of causes, muscle strain, injury, accidents. Some sought help with other pain in the limbs, neck and even migraines.
Chiropractic is defined as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM for short. The aim of most CAM science is to help patients find relief without having to resort to intensive, dangerous and expensive surgeries.
For chiropractors the main method of treating the patient’s pain is through manual manipulation of the spine, joints, and soft tissues. This manipulation aims to restore mobility to joints by properly aligning the spine. In this way the body is better able to heal itself.
To put it in its simplest form, chiropractors strive, through chiropractic adjustments, to restore the structural integrity of the body and by doing so, improve the overall health status.
The main focus of a chiropractor’s work is usually spinal manipulation or as it is known in the practice, spinal adjustments.
During an adjustment, your chiropractor will place their hands along various points of your spine and, with a swift and firm thrust, move the joints back into alignment. This thrust is done with care and precision so as to avoid harming the spine.
Often times when the thrust is administered, the joint will respond with an audible “pop” sound – which is simply the sound of air pockets between the joints being dissipated.
There are a lot of myths and fears surrounding chiropractic. Many people are apprehensive about the loud pops and cracks they see in videos of people receiving chiropractic adjustments. Others have heard various incorrect ideas from friends and family.
Let’s take a minute now to go through some of these myths and separate fact from fiction.
Surely you have heard of the old wives tale that people who constantly crack their knuckles will develop arthritis. This is truly a myth.
In 2011 a study was conducted that surveyed 250 people between the ages of 50 and 89. The group was divided into participants who regularly cracked their knuckles and ones who did not. Their hands were studied and it was concluded that no amount of knuckle cracking caused the onset of osteoarthritis – no matter how many years the participants had been cracking their knuckles.
Another common myth is that chiropractic practitioners cause injury or exacerbate the existing problem. This is a rare occurrence but you’d still be wise to check a few online reviews before going to a new chiropractor – even if they come highly recommended.
Again, even if they’re very rare, injuries can occur. So make sure your chiropractor is licensed and trained professionally. Then you will be in good hands.
The World Health Organization says that when applied skillfully and appropriately chiropractic care is safe. They do warn against seeking chiropractic care when a person suffers from any condition that could weaken joint or bone integrity. The two main examples of these conditions respectively, are Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoporosis.
Ensuring that your chosen chiropractor is highly trained and well recommended will help you avoid any unlikely complications or injuries.
Another common misconception heard in the public is that one chiropractic visit will fix all of their problems.
Chiropractic is a very powerful modality for restoring health but it wouldn’t make sense to believe years of using your body incorrectly could be fixed by a single adjustment. Sometimes people see immediate improvement but it often takes a series of adjustments to get the body back to its optimal condition.
Sometimes people even temporarily feel worse after an adjustment but that is a temporary side-effect while the body is being rebalanced. It does not mean the treatments aren’t working.
So hopefully this article has explained the mystery behind why your back cracks at the chiropractor and dispelled some of the more common myths surrounding chiropractic care.
If you’re interested in learning more you may want to visit a local chiropractor like Evolve Chiropractic and get a first hand experience of the difference care can make – popping sounds or not!
Rizvi, Asad; Loukas, Marios; Oskouian, Rod J.; Tubbs, R. Shane (August 2018). “Let’s get a hand on this: Review of the clinical anatomy of “knuckle cracking””. Clinical Anatomy. 31(6): 942–945. doi:10.1002/ca.23243. ISSN 0897-3806. PMID 30080300.