Every health profession has its share of myths and chiropractic is not immune to them. So today we’ll set the record straight about three of the most common chiropractic myths.
Once you start you have to continue forever. False.
This was one of the first things I remember hearing about chiropractic when I was young. The idea is that while chiropractic treatment can help you to feel better, your body somehow becomes addicted to it or changes in some way that makes regular future treatment necessary in order to function normally.
To understand this better let’s use dentistry as an example. After you’ve had a tooth cleaning you’re feeling pretty good. But even though you brush and floss regularly (you do, right?) the stresses of chewing and drinking can still build up over time and a visit is needed again. Chiropractic is similar in that sustained benefits may require a periodic check up to help in the maintenance of healthy joints and muscles. After all, the stresses of both activity and inactivity build up after a while. How often someone comes in for a check up varies greatly. For some it’s every few weeks, while others do well with once or twice a year.
Bones need to be popped back into place. Not true.
The popping/clicking sensation associated with a chiropractic adjustment is often described as putting a bone back in place*. The first thing to note is that your bones are already in the place that they’re supposed to be. However, sometimes the joints get “stuck” or restricted in their motion. This can lead to discomfort. A chiropractic adjustment is one way to help “un-stick” the joint by applying a quick impulse to the affected area. Sometimes when that happens a small bubble of nitrogen gas forms within the joint space. The forming of that bubble, called a cavitation, causes the popping/clicking/cracking sensation that you may notice.
A chiropractic adjustment accomplishes two main goals. The first is restoring good motion to the joint. The second is that it causes the local release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain killers, helping to reduce pain.
Chiropractors only treat the back. Bunk.
In chiropractic school we spend a lot of time learning about the spinal column. The reason is that the spinal column acts as the housing for a large portion of your nervous system, mainly the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. If pain and dysfunction arise within the spinal column it can negatively affect the function of your nervous system and chiropractors are experts in helping the muscles and joints surrounding the spine.
But muscles and joints aren’t limited to the back. Chiropractors also have extensive training in the anatomy of the entire body and are able to treat conditions involving the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, feet… well you get the picture. If it’s part of the musculoskeletal system we’re well equipped to help with various treatment options. So the next time you injure an arm or leg while at work or playing your favourite sport, think of us to get you back on your feet.
Is there anything that you’ve heard about chiropractic but weren’t sure if it’s true? Ask away, either in the comments below, or by contacting your Guelph chiropractors. We’re always happy to chat.
*A bone that is out of place is called a dislocation. A dislocation is characterized by terrible pain, a misshapen joint, and the surroundings of the hospital’s emergency room.