Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially of the spine. It has esoteric origins and is based on several pseudoscientific ideas.
It’s no secret that most students don’t know what degree program is right for them. It’s a big jump to make entering college as a freshman, but it can be compounded by taking the wrong classes and choosing a major you quickly change from. Chances are, you don’t have a career path worked out yet but still need to graduate and make money, so maybe you should think about getting an education in Chiropractic College.
Read more about 10 Signs You Should See a Chiropractor, How Much Does A Chiropractor Cost?, How Much Does A Chiropractor Cost?.
Many chiropractors, especially those in the field’s early history, have proposed that mechanical disorders of the joints, especially of the spine, affect general health, and that regular manipulation of the spine (spinal adjustment) improves general health. The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues, but may also include exercises and health and lifestyle counseling. A chiropractor may have a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and be referred to as “doctor” but is not a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) While many chiropractors view themselves as primary care providers, chiropractic clinical training does not meet the requirements to be such a provider.
Systematic reviews of controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have found no evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. A 2011 critical evaluation of 45 systematic reviews found that spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition. Spinal manipulation may be cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic low back pain, but the results for acute low back pain were insufficient. No compelling evidence exists to indicate that maintenance chiropractic care adequately prevents symptoms or diseases. There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations. It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases. There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke and death, from cervical manipulation. Several deaths have been associated with this technique and it has been suggested that the relationship is causative, a claim which is disputed by many chiropractors.
Chiropractic is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions such as osteopathy and physical therapy. Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain. Back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic, but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues. Chiropractic has two main groups: “straights”, now the minority, emphasize vitalism, “Innate Intelligence”, and consider vertebral subluxations to be the cause of all disease; and “mixers”, the majority, are more open to mainstream views and conventional medical techniques, such as exercise, massage, and ice therapy.
D. D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s after saying he received it from “the other world”; Palmer maintained that the tenets of chiropractic were passed along to him by a doctor who had died 50 years previously. His son B. J. Palmer helped to expand chiropractic in the early 20th century. Throughout its history, chiropractic has been controversial. Its foundation is at odds with evidence-based medicine, and has been sustained by pseudoscientific ideas such as vertebral subluxation and innate intelligence. Despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccination is an effective public health intervention, among chiropractors there are significant disagreements over the subject, which has led to negative impacts on both public vaccination and mainstream acceptance of chiropractic. The American Medical Association called chiropractic an “unscientific cult” in 1966 and boycotted it until losing an antitrust case in 1987. Chiropractic has had a strong political base and sustained demand for services. In the last decades of the twentieth century, it gained more legitimacy and greater acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States. During the COVID-19 pandemic chiropractic professional associations advised chiropractors to adhere to CDC, WHO, and local health department guidance. Despite these recommendations, a small but vocal and influential number of chiropractors spread anti-vaccine disinformation.
Chiropractic is generally categorized as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which focuses on manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Its founder, D. D. Palmer, called it “a science of healing without drugs”.
Chiropractic’s origins lie in the folk medicine of bonesetting, and as it evolved it incorporated vitalism, spiritual inspiration and rationalism. Its early philosophy was based on deduction from irrefutable doctrine, which helped distinguish chiropractic from medicine, provided it with legal and political defenses against claims of practicing medicine without a license, and allowed chiropractors to establish themselves as an autonomous profession. This “straight” philosophy, taught to generations of chiropractors, rejects the inferential reasoning of the scientific method, and relies on deductions from vitalistic first principles rather than on the materialism of science. However, most practitioners tend to incorporate scientific research into chiropractic, and most practitioners are “mixers” who attempt to combine the materialistic reductionism of science with the metaphysics of their predecessors and with the holistic paradigm of wellness. A 2008 commentary proposed that chiropractic actively divorce itself from the straight philosophy as part of a campaign to eliminate untestable dogma and engage in critical thinking and evidence-based research.
|The testable principle||The untestable metaphor|
|Chiropractic adjustment↓Restoration of structural integrity↓Improvement of health status||Universal intelligence↓Innate intelligence↓Body physiology|
|Operational definitions possibleLends itself to scientific inquiry||Origin of holism in chiropracticCannot be proven or disproven|
|Taken from Mootz & Phillips 1997|
Although a wide diversity of ideas exist among chiropractors, they share the belief that the spine and health are related in a fundamental way, and that this relationship is mediated through the nervous system. Some chiropractors claim spinal manipulation can have an effect on a variety of ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome and asthma.
Chiropractic philosophy includes the following perspectives:
Holism assumes that health is affected by everything in an individual’s environment; some sources also include a spiritual or existential dimension. In contrast, reductionism in chiropractic reduces causes and cures of health problems to a single factor, vertebral subluxation. Homeostasis emphasizes the body’s inherent self-healing abilities. Chiropractic’s early notion of innate intelligence can be thought of as a metaphor for homeostasis.
A large number of chiropractors fear that if they do not separate themselves from the traditional vitalistic concept of innate intelligence, chiropractic will continue to be seen as a fringe profession. A variant of chiropractic called naprapathy originated in Chicago in the early twentieth century. It holds that manual manipulation of soft tissue can reduce “interference” in the body and thus improve health.
Straights and mixers
|Perspective attribute||Potential belief endpoints|
|Scope of practice:||narrow (“straight”) ←||→ broad (“mixer”)|
|Diagnostic approach:||intuitive ←||→ analytical|
|Philosophic orientation:||vitalistic ←||→ materialistic|
|Scientific orientation:||descriptive ←||→ experimental|
|Process orientation:||implicit ←||→ explicit|
|Practice attitude:||doctor/model-centered ←||→ patient/situation-centered|
|Professional integration:||separate and distinct ←||→ integrated into mainstream|
|Taken from Mootz & Phillips 1997|
Straight chiropractors adhere to the philosophical principles set forth by D. D. and B. J. Palmer, and retain metaphysical definitions and vitalistic qualities. Straight chiropractors believe that vertebral subluxation leads to interference with an “innate intelligence” exerted via the human nervous system and is a primary underlying risk factor for many diseases. Straights view the medical diagnosis of patient complaints, which they consider to be the “secondary effects” of subluxations, to be unnecessary for chiropractic treatment. Thus, straight chiropractors are concerned primarily with the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation via adjustment and do not “mix” other types of therapies into their practice style. Their philosophy and explanations are metaphysical in nature and they prefer to use traditional chiropractic lexicon terminology such as “perform spinal analysis”, “detect subluxation”, “correct with adjustment”. They prefer to remain separate and distinct from mainstream health care. Although considered the minority group, “they have been able to transform their status as purists and heirs of the lineage into influence dramatically out of proportion to their numbers.”
Mixer chiropractors “mix” diagnostic and treatment approaches from chiropractic, medical or osteopathic viewpoints and make up the majority of chiropractors. Unlike straight chiropractors, mixers believe subluxation is one of many causes of disease, and hence they tend to be open to mainstream medicine. Many of them incorporate mainstream medical diagnostics and employ conventional treatments including techniques of physical therapy such as exercise, stretching, massage, ice packs, electrical muscle stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, and moist heat. Some mixers also use techniques from alternative medicine, including nutritional supplements, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and biofeedback.
Although mixers are the majority group, many of them retain belief in vertebral subluxation as shown in a 2003 survey of 1,100 North American chiropractors, which found that 88 percent wanted to retain the term “vertebral subluxation complex”, and that when asked to estimate the percent of disorders of internal organs that subluxation significantly contributes to, the mean response was 62 percent. A 2008 survey of 6,000 American chiropractors demonstrated that most chiropractors seem to believe that a subluxation-based clinical approach may be of limited utility for addressing visceral disorders, and greatly favored non-subluxation-based clinical approaches for such conditions. The same survey showed that most chiropractors generally believed that the majority of their clinical approach for addressing musculoskeletal/biomechanical disorders such as back pain was based on subluxation. Chiropractors often offer conventional therapies such as physical therapy and lifestyle counseling, and it may for the lay person be difficult to distinguish the unscientific from the scientific
10 Signs You Should See a Chiropractor
While most people know it is time to see a chiropractor if they are experiencing back pain, there are other clues to keep in mind. Here are 10 signs you should see a chiropractor:
Headaches can be caused by a number of factors, including dehydration, malnutrition, oxygen deprivation, or a misalignment in the neck or spine. A chiropractor can help to relieve headaches and improve blood flow, which will increase the amount of oxygen that is supplied to the brain.
Your chiropractor also may recommend a change to your diet to help you improve your overall health.
- Joint or Muscle Pain
If you are experiencing pain in your muscles and joints, your first reaction should not be to get the aspirin out of your medicine cabinet. Your pain could be due to problems with musculoskeletal alignment.
A chiropractor is trained to make sure your body is functioning as optimally as possible by using spinal manipulations to relieve pain in your joints and muscles. These spinal adjustments will increase blood flow and nerve conductivity to the joints and muscles that are experiencing pain.
- Your Job Requires You to Sit for Long Periods of Time
If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, especially hunched over a keyboard, it is not uncommon to wind up with very poor posture. Poor posture puts unwanted pressure on the upper back, neck, and shoulders. The pressure can cause the discs and bones to shift enough to cause problems such as a slipped or herniated disc.
A chiropractor can make sure your spine is aligned correctly, so you do not run into any future problems.
- Chronic Back Pain
One of the most obvious signs that a chiropractic visit is needed is if you are experiencing chronic back pain. There are multiple factors that can contribute to back pain, such as posture, how long you’re on your feet each day, and the type of work that you do.
A chiropractic doctor can provide you with pain relief without the need for invasive surgery or narcotics.
- The Soles of Your Shoes Wear Out Differently
If you begin to notice that the soles of your shoes wear out differently, this is a sign that your body is out of alignment and needs to be adjusted. Uneven wear on your shoes is a very reliable indicator that you are experiencing a subluxation in the spine and need a chiropractic spinal manipulation to realign your spine to ensure the problem does not continue and turn into a chronic issue.
- Limited Range of Motion
If you notice that your arms and legs are not as flexible as they used to be, or if your neck won’t turn as far in one direction or the other, this is a good indication that you need to see your chiropractor.
Chiropractic adjustments realign the bones and joints, relieving pain and increasing the body’s range of motion. Having normal range of motion helps the body to function optimally.
- You Were Involved in a Recent Accident
Being involved in an accident, such as a car or motorcycle collision, can cause serious injuries that only an experienced chiropractor can help heal. Many chiropractors specialize in car accident injuries, and are able to diagnose and properly treat a multitude of different injuries.
After being involved in an accident, seeing a chiropractor should be a top priority.
- Sharp, Shooting Pain in Your Legs
If you are experiencing a sharp, shooting pain in your legs, or tingling and weakness, this could be a sign that you are suffering from a pinched nerve or slipped disc.
A trained chiropractor can diagnose the cause of the pain in your leg and perform a spinal adjustment to alleviate the unwanted pressure that is being placed on the nerve and causing you pain.
- You’re an Active Person
If you have an active lifestyle and spend time working out or playing sports, your body is subjected to additional strain and pressure. This added stress can cause the spine to become misaligned. After spending time engaging in these activities, the body can become prone to pinched nerves, slipped discs, or other alignment problems.
Seeing a chiropractic doctor on a regular basis helps to keep your body functioning at its prime so you can continue to live the active lifestyle that you love.
- You Want to Live a More Health-Conscious Life
If you want to live a more health-conscious life, or just want to be more aware of how to best take care of your body, your chiropractor is an excellent source of information. Your chiropractor can provide you with exercise routines, nutritional guidance, and specific techniques to help relieve stress. All of this, along with spinal adjustments, will help to improve your physical and emotional well-being.
The Safety of Chiropractic Adjustments
Chiropractic adjustment, also called spinal manipulation, is a procedure done by a chiropractor using the hands or small instruments to apply controlled force to a spinal joint. The goal is to improve spinal motion and physical function of the entire body. Chiropractic adjustment is generally considered safe when performed for the right condition by someone who is properly trained and licensed to practice chiropractic care. Complications are rare, but they are possible. Learn more about both the benefits and risks.
One of the most important reasons people seek chiropractic care is because it is a completely drug-free therapy. Someone dealing with joint pain, back pain, or headaches might consider visiting a chiropractor.
The goal of chiropractic adjustment is to restore normal joint function and muscle balance. Treatments are believed to reduce stress on the immune system, reducing the potential for disease. Chiropractic care aims to address the entire body, including a person’s ability to move, perform, and even think.
What Research Shows
Many people wonder how helpful chiropractic care is in treating years of trauma and poor posture. There have been numerous studies showing the therapeutic benefits of chiropractic care.
Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, the large nerve extending from the low back down the back of the legs. Other natural therapies don’t always offer relief and most people want to avoid steroid injections and surgery, so they turn to chiropractic care.
A double-blind trial reported in the Spine Journal compared active and simulated chiropractic manipulations in people with sciatic nerve pain.1 Active manipulations involved the patient laying down and receiving treatment from a chiropractor. Stimulated manipulations involved electrical muscle stimulation with electrodes placed on the skin to send electrical pulses to different parts of the body.
The researchers determined active manipulation offered more benefits than stimulated. The people who received active manipulations experienced fewer days of moderate or severe pain and other sciatica symptoms. They also had greater likelihood of reduced pain and sciatica, but the success rates were still low, at 26% and 55%. They also reported no adverse effects. However, it should be noted that patients with any significant spine conditions such as spondylolisthesis, chronic low back pain, or any disc herniations that were deemed to need surgery were not included as patients in the study. Therefore these results may not apply to all types of sciatica and/or back pain and may reflect modest improvements. Furthermore, this study included one type of manipulation, and may not reflect the efficacy of all types of manipulations.
One study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at different therapies for treating neck pain.2 They divided 272 study participants into three groups: one that received spinal manipulation from a chiropractic doctor, a second group given over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, narcotics, and muscle relaxers, and a third group who did at-home exercises.
After 12 weeks, patients reported a 75% pain reduction, with the chiropractic treatment group achieving the most improvement. About 57% of the chiropractic group achieved pain reduction, while 48% received pain reduction from exercising, and 33% from medication.
However, at 52 weeks after treatment, the percentage of patients reporting complete reduction in pain was only 27% with spinal manipulation, and fared better at 37% in the group who underwent home exercises.
For relief of acute or subacute neck pain, spinal manipulation and home exercises were similarly effective, and both were more effective than medication alone.
Cervicogenic headaches and migraines are commonly treated by chiropractors. Cervicogenic headaches are often called secondary headaches because pain is usually referred from another source, usually the neck. Migraine headaches cause severe, throbbing pain and are generally experienced on one side of the head. There are few non-medicinal options for managing both types of chronic headaches.
Research reported in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics suggests chiropractic care, specifically spinal manipulation, can improve migraines and cervicogenic headaches.3
Low Back Pain
Studies have shown chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, can provide relief from mild to moderate low back pain. In some studies, spinal manipulation has been compared to other standard treatments, including exercise or pain-relief medications, for certain types of back pain.
A 2011 review of 26 clinical trials looked at the effectiveness of different treatments for chronic low back pain. What they found was evidence that spinal manipulation may be as effective as other treatments such as exercise for reducing back pain and improving function. However, the authors also reported there was also evidence that it may not be more effective than placebo. Further studies are needed to understand the true efficacy of spinal manipulations on low back pain.
Risks and side effects associated with chiropractic adjustments may include:
- Discomfort in parts of the body that were treated
Rare but serious risks associated with chiropractic adjustment include:
- Cauda equina syndrome, a condition involving pinched nerves in the lower part of the spinal canal that can lead to permanent paralysis
- Worsening of herniated disks
In addition to effectiveness, research has focused on the safety of chiropractic treatments, mainly spinal manipulation.
One 2017 review of 250 articles looked at serious adverse events and benign events associated with chiropractic care. Based on the evidence the researchers reviewed, serious adverse events accounted for one out of every two million spinal manipulations to 13 per 10,000 patients. Serious adverse events included spinal cord injuries including paraplegia or quadriplegia, worsening of disk herniations, and cervical arterial strokes (dissection of any of the arteries in the neck).
Benign events were common and occurred in 23-83%, including more pain, stiffness, and headache, but most resolved within 24 hours.
The researchers confirmed serious adverse events were rare and often related to other preexisting conditions, while benign events are more common.
A second 2017 review looked 118 articles and found frequently described adverse events include stroke, headache, and vertebral artery dissection (cervical arterial stroke). Forty-six percent of the reviews determined that spinal manipulation was safe, while 13% reported it was harmful. The remaining studies were unclear or neutral. While the researchers did not offer an overall conclusion, they concluded that serious adverse events after manipulation can be significant, and that some risk does exist.
How Much Does A Chiropractor Cost?
Whether you’re a busy executive, a seasoned triathlete, or an overworked stay-at-home mom, sometimes you just need an adjustment. With the daily tasks and wear-and-tear on the body, it can sometimes feel difficult to perform at your best.
Getting a full-body adjustment can correct body mechanics, correct poor posture, and help manage chronic pain. A full-body adjustment can help correct your walking gait, improve your performance for exercising, and provide lasting comfort from nagging aches and pains.
So how much does it cost for a full body adjustment by a chiropractor? The truth is, it depends on several factors, including the doctor’s experience, your location, and whether your insurance is accepted.
According to reports online, the average chiropractic cost for a full-body adjustment is $65. Individual sessions can range from $34 to $106. Location is also a factor in costs. If you live in an urban area, expect to pay less as there will be more practitioners.
The good news about chiropractic care is that more and more insurance companies are starting to add chiropractic care in their list of benefits, which will save you money.
What Should You Look For In a Chiropractic Practitioner?
When choosing a chiropractic practitioner, it’s important to look for experience and credentials. The credentialling to become a chiropractor is very stringent, and require many hours of training and education.
At the very least, you’ll want to make sure your chiropractor meets credentials, such as having a DC license to practice. Just like with any service, you’ll want to ask around with friends and family. You can also check with Chiropractors that may specialize in something that fits what you need. For instance, Sports Chiropractors specilaize in various techniques such as A.R.T., Graston, Kinesiotaping, or dry needling. And some Chiropractors specialize in prenatal and pediatric.
Another way to check credentials is to check to see if they have won any honors or awards for chiropractic care, or are associated with an industry, such as a pro sports team, or some other organization. That shows they have an established reputation.
You’ll also want to make sure you have an experienced practitioner who has experience caring for athletes, families, and other patients. Finding a practitioner who has worked with many types of patients, has won awards in their field, and has longstanding ties with creditable organizations is a definite plus.
What Is a Full-Body Adjustment?
A full-body adjustment is the standard procedure when you meet with a chiropractor. During an appointment, the doctor will ask about family history and medical concerns they should be aware of, and what brings you into the office.
Based on these concerns, it will give the doctor an idea of how they can help and what areas to target. You can expect to have ice/heat, modalities, and chiropractic care during the appointment.
Often some type of modality or soft-tissue work may be applied to loosen up any triggered areas to help the process of aligning your vertebrae. Pressure will be applied to different parts of the back to adjust areas along your vertebrae.
As many people suffer from lower back, hip, and other spine problems, it is common that the practitioner will work on all areas of the spine. The doctor may look at your walking gait, and they will look at the overall alignment by looking at how your posture, and your feet alignment while lying on the special table.
What Else Can I Expect?
As with any doctor’s appointment, the doctor may provide recommendations for treatment after your visit. It could include heat, ice, stretches, or other treatments.
Depending on the severity of the issue that brings you into the office, you can expect to discuss follow-up treatment. That is common and shouldn’t alarm you. Often, an appointment may be scheduled a couple of days to a month out.
Some patients may experience stiffness or soreness after a visit. That shouldn’t worry you. As your body adjusts to its new alignment, it may create some soreness. Many people will feel great after days after the visit.
It Pays to Do Your Research
Just like with any other service provider, it pays to do your research. Make sure you look into the practice, take a tour if you can, and ask friends and family. Look for a good reputation and practical experience with the issue that you’re dealing with before deciding on a practitioner.
Peace of mind comes with knowing you’ve done your research.
Why do (some) medical doctors dislike Chiropractors?
During the days of initial Chiropractic practice, many Chiropractors were jailed for practicing. At the time it was noted that chiropractors were highly successful in helping many individuals who were not achieving results via medical treatment. In the book, The medical war against Chiropractors: The untold story from persecution to vindication, it is stated that the American Medical Association (AMA) of the time waged a shameless attack on any competition to their medical profession. This also included natural professions such as Naturopathy and Homeopathy. This resulted in the eventual jailing of many Chiropractors who refused to stop practicing. From this day onwards, a divide was created.
While presenting themselves as a harmless and trustworthy organization the AMA proceeded to refer to all Chiropractors as ‘dogs’ and ‘killers.’ It was obvious that their intent was to destroy the Chiropractic profession and also prohibited medical doctors from associating with Chiropractors (much like what is happening today with general practitioners in Australia being told to stop referring any patients to Chiropractors).
In 1976, a lawsuit was filed against Chester A. Wilk (referred to as the Wilk case). Initially, the AMA won, however upon appeal it was found that the judge was found to improperly instruct the jury and allowed inaccurate documents into the trial. Following this, a re-trial occurred during 1987 which found the Chiropractic profession victorious. The AMA was found to violate Section 1.
Perhaps the biggest divide between medical doctors and Chiropractors is each professions philosophy or beliefs.
Chiropractic is a preventative, natural approach to ensuring the spine remains healthy and mobile. Many musculoskeletal complaints that we see in modern society such as back pain, headaches, poor posture and much more are easily managed via gentle, non-invasive Chiropractic care. Opposed to this is the medical approach, which views an individual as having symptoms and never being able to achieve health & wellbeing. The medical approach sees an individual who is pain-free as being healthy. Common sense would tell us that this is not the case. Medical doctors will happily prescribe drugs, medications, and surgery without offering alternative approaches that have similar or higher efficacy with less potential risks of adverse effects and subsequent injuries.
Traditionally Chiropractors have referred to spinal alignment as an area of ‘joint subluxation.’ In hindsight, this term is rather confusing as it opposes the medical definition of subluxation. The easiest way to think of what a Chiropractor does is that they allow normal joint movement and nervous system function via spinal manipulation or mobilization. The medical profession defines subluxation as a joint which is partially dislocated. It is safe to say that Chiropractors do not perform work on joints that are partially dislocated.
Chiropractors and medical doctors have vastly different training. Chiropractors are educated in human anatomy, physiology, radiographic analysis and treatment protocols. Conversely, medical doctors are trained on how drugs may remove symptoms that a particular individual is suffering. Medical doctors have limited knowledge of anything related to the musculoskeletal system & Chiropractors have limited knowledge regarding pharmaceuticals. If you were to visit a medical doctor suffering back pain, strains, sprains and more you will most likely be instructed to take painkillers. However, common sense would tell you that while these will effectively reduce your pain, do you really think that medication can heal your problem?
Medical doctors like to use the “there’s no evidence that Chiropractic is effective” as well as “Chiropractic causes stroke” card. Let’s for a minute explore this statement and how it is completely inaccurate. The fact is that despite absurd and unfounded (as well as already disproven) claims that Chiropractic care is not effective certain circles happily still push this view. These doctors readily ignore the fact that their own profession lacks the peer-reviewed studies from randomized clinical trials that they suggest Chiropractic do not have to support their treatment. To date, Chiropractic has been clinically proven to successfully treat many conditions, they are very cost-effective as well as having minimal side effects when compared to the majority of medical treatments. Let it sink in that recently, it was estimated that only 30%-50% of individuals respond favorably to spinal surgery yet it is still readily suggested as an effective treatment method for spinal complaints.
Unfortunately, after all the ongoing debates, practitioners from both sides of the divide forget to recognize who is most important – the patient. The patients’ needs must be placed first and foremost, not a doctors belief! Chiropractors and Medical Doctors need to work hand in hand to achieve the best outcome for their patients and view their health holistically.
Should you see a chiropractor for low back pain?
What’s the role of chiropractic care?
Some doctors refer back pain sufferers to a physical therapist right away. But many people with back pain see acupuncturists, massage therapists, or a chiropractor on their own. Experts disagree about the role of chiropractic care, and there are not many high-quality studies to consult about this approach. As a result, there are a number of questions regarding the role of chiropractic care: Should it be a routine part of initial care? Should it be reserved for people who don’t improve with other treatments? Are some people more likely to improve with chiropractic care than others?
The answers to these questions go beyond any academic debate about how good chiropractic care is. Estimates suggest that low back pain costs up to $200 billion a year in the US (including costs of care and missed work), and it’s a leading cause of disability worldwide. With the backdrop of the opioid crisis, we badly need an effective, safe, and non-opioid alternative to treat low back pain.
A recent study on chiropractic care for low back pain
A 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open is among the latest to weigh in on the pros and cons of chiropractic care for treating low back pain. Researchers enrolled 750 active-duty military personnel who complained of back pain. Half were randomly assigned to receive usual care (including medications, self-care, and physical therapy) while the other half received usual care plus up to 12 chiropractic treatments.
After six weeks of treatment, those assigned to receive chiropractic care:
- reported less pain intensity
- experienced less disability and more improvement in function
- reported higher satisfaction with their treatment
- needed less pain medicine.
While no serious side effects were reported, about 10% of those receiving chiropractic care described adverse effects (mostly stiffness in the joints or muscles). Five percent of those receiving usual care had similar complaints.
All studies have limitations
And this one is no exception. While this study suggests that chiropractic care may be helpful for low back pain, some aspects of the study make it hard to be sure. For example:
- It only lasted six weeks. As mentioned, most new-onset back pain is better by then regardless of treatment. For those with more long-lasting back pain, we’ll need more than a six-week study.
- The differences in improvement between those receiving chiropractic and usual care were small. It’s not clear how noticeable such a difference would be, or whether the cost of chiropractic care would be worth that small difference.
- The study included a mix of people with new and longer-standing low back pain and a mix of types of pain (including pain due to a pinched nerve, muscle spasm, or other reasons). If this study had included only people with muscle spasm, or only people who were obese (rather than military recruits), the results might differ. So, it’s hard to generalize these results to everyone with back pain.
- Most of the study subjects were young (average age 31) and male (77%). All were generally healthy and fit enough to pass military fitness testing.
- Study subjects knew which treatment they were receiving. This creates potential for a placebo effect. Also, the added time and attention (rather than the spinal manipulation) might have contributed to the response. Then again, these factors may not matter to a person who just wants relief.
- This study only included people who were willing to receive chiropractic care.
- Even within the two groups, the care varied — that is, not everyone in the usual care group received the same treatment, and this can also be said for the chiropractic group.
If any of these factors had been different, the results might have been different. For example, it’s possible that if an older population of people with chronic low back pain had been studied, “usual care” might have been the better treatment.
What Happens When A Chiropractor Cracks My Back?
You may have heard a chiropractor referred to as a chiropractic doctor before. Although chiropractors aren’t medical doctors, they are indeed doctors of chiropractic. Unlike professionals with an M.D. or medical doctor degree, chiropractors do not attend conventional medical school, undergo residency training, or obtain the same licenses that traditional doctors boast. Notwithstanding these things, they complete extensive training of their own, and they’re also responsible for obtaining and maintaining industry-specific certifications. As professionals who truly care about the well-being of their patients, chiropractors are committed to offering personalized, non-invasive treatments for meeting a very vast range of needs.
While your chiropractor isn’t an M.D. or medical doctor, this professional holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree or D.C. This degree is obtained from an institution that has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Moreover, the Higher Learning Commission is the very same organization that accredits all medical schools, including the ones that general doctors attend. Much like conventional doctors, chiropractors earn undergraduate degrees with science majors that have a strong “pre-med” focus. Every licensed chiropractor has obtained a healthcare degree from an accredited, four-year university or college. Before becoming licensed to practice, chiropractors must additionally pass a rigorous industry-specific exam. Once licensed, chiropractors are responsible for staying on top of all requirements for continued education.
How Chiropractic Degrees Differ From Medical Degrees
Chiropractic services are a highly specialized form of care. As such, a D.C. degree is specifically for someone who’s focused on the diagnosis, preventative care, and treatment of spinal and musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractic doctors spend significant amounts of their time in training learning about:
- Human biology
A very strong emphasis is placed on the anatomy of the spine during a chiropractor’s training. This instruction allows chiropractors to accurately identify and treat a very large number of neuromusculoskeletal disorders and conditions. Moreover, given the amount of time that chiropractors spend learning about the connection between spinal health and overall health, they are often able to diagnose problems that conventional doctors overlook. They’re in-depth understanding of how the alignment and condition of the spine impacts a person’s general well-being enables them to use natural, hands-on strategies to facilitate relief and healing across the entire body.
Because chiropractic doctors take a hands-on approach when rendering treatments, they also spend a significant amount of time working with patients ahead of becoming licensed. Thus, although chiropractors aren’t responsible for completing residencies, they do spend thousands of hours as interns in labs and treatment facilities, and in working in a variety of research studies, group study projects, and independent projects before taking their very first clients. In short, the learning and training requirements for becoming a chiropractic doctor can be incredibly intensive.
As you consider your options in chiropractic care, you’ll likely notice that not every chiropractic clinic is exactly alike. Some chiropractors are only qualified to perform basic spinal manipulation techniques. Others have received training and instruction in using computer-assisted adjustment technologies, ultrasound equipment, and many other non-invasive therapies and treatments. Chiropractors who invest the most in continued learning tend to provide the most expansive suites of services. There are even a number of integrative chiropractic clinics that are staffed by both highly trained chiropractors and knowledgeable practitioners who specialize in other forms of alternative medicine. At these locations, you’ll have access to licensed massage therapists, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, and experts in acupressure among other things.
One of the key differences between the training that a medical doctor receives and the training completed by a chiropractor is that chiropractic medicine is designed to always take the least invasive approach to resolving illnesses and injuries. In instances in which conventional doctors might recommend surgery or prescription pain medication, a chiropractor is often able to resolve problems by realigning the spine, recommending adjustments within personal life habits, assisting in the establishment of effective weight loss plans, and providing nutritional guidance and support.
What Chiropractors Do And Are They Doctors Or Therapists?
Chiropractors attend graduate-level university degree programs similar to medical doctors, podiatrists, and dentists. However, chiropractors are doctors of chiropractic and not medical doctors. The chiropractic profession is separate similar to dentistry. Chiropractors are best known for their ability to diagnose and treat spine, joint, and sports injuries.
Chiropractic was discovered in 1895 by D.D. Palmer. It has grown tremendously! Today chiropractic is one of the fastest-growing fields in healthcare. The growth of chiropractic is attributed to their treatments for neck pain, back pain, and joint problems.
Chiropractors think of themselves as doctors, not as medical doctors, but as doctors of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic use initial D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) and not MD (Medical Doctor) or MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery). Both the MD and the MBBS initials belong to the medical profession. The MD initials are more common in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia. MBBS is primarily used in the United Kingdom and the commonwealth nations.
Are Chiropractors Physicians?
Doctor of chiropractic or D.C. is an educational degree program specific to chiropractors. MD & MBBS are degrees for medical doctors and surgeons.
Physicians are doctors of medicine and surgery. Some physicians are family doctors, general practitioners (GPs), surgeons, pediatricians, cardiologists, psychiatrists, EENTs, dermatologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, and gynecologists. In most countries, including Malaysia, chiropractors are not classified as physicians. In some countries like the United States, chiropractors use the term “chiropractic physician” or “doctor of chiropractic” to distinguish them from medicine, surgery, and the medical profession.
Do Medical Doctors Accept Chiropractic?
Most medical doctors accept chiropractic care. Some are chiropractic patients. In the old days, there were lots of animosities towards chiropractic. These resentments were the results of turf wars. Historically, medical doctors have a dislike for any alternative care system. The resentment of chiropractic among some healthcare fields is because most are unaware of the profession and really don’t understand how chiropractors help their patients. Some have a dislike for any profession that treats the ill. In recent times this has changed. The change results from published studies demonstrating the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments for the spine and joints.
A Guide To Doctor Of Chiropractic
Since our inception, we have treated thousands who suffered from spine joint and sports injuries. Our clinical successes in treating spine and orthopedic conditions have propelled our centers to greater heights of prominence in Malaysia and beyond. Our Doctor of Chiropractic has treated royalties, dignitaries, business people, and patients from all walks of life. Consequently, we treated patients from all over the world. Patients have come to us from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, China, and India.
Those who have sought our help wanted an effective alternative to drugs and surgery. Most noteworthy, in almost all cases, we succeeded in superseding their expectations.
For most, the art and science of chiropractic were new. The most common question we get concerns chiropractic practice and a chiropractic doctor’s qualifications (chiropractor). And it has resonated with us, and we have decided to shed some light on this subject for better understanding.
There are approximately 100,000 chiropractors in practice in the world today. Over 70% either practice or have received their education in America. Therefore, we have decided to provide educational and qualification backgrounds about chiropractors that practice or educated in the United States.
Who Discovered Chiropractic?
Daniel David Palmer discovered chiropractic and established the first school of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Over 40 colleges and universities currently offer educational programs towards the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, with the vast majority being in North America (approximately 23 higher learning institutions). Like other healthcare professions, the practice of chiropractic and the educational requirements have become stringent. The most common degree in chiropractic today is the doctorate, Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.).
In the United States, the Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.s) have some of the strictest licensing and educational requirements. As a result, the curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom. In short, the average D.C. program has classroom hours that are equivalent to Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) school curricula.
The U.S. Federal Medical Program and almost all states designate Doctors of Chiropractic as physician-level providers. The essential services that D.C.s provide are also available through the U.S. federal health delivery systems. They include those administered through Federal Workers‘ Compensation, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Medicaid, and all state workers‘ compensation programs. So, Chiropractors and the profession of Chiropractic have thoroughly been proven helpful. It has been two times more effective than the traditional allopathic models of care.
The Typical Chiropractic Education (The Doctor Of Chiropractic Degree From The U.S.)
A typical chiropractic college applicant has a four-year degree (Bachelors) before commencing their doctorate in Chiropractic. The requirements get even more demanding after the student has gained acceptance into an accredited chiropractic college. The standard is four or five academic years’ worth of professional study. Due to chiropractic practice having a hands-on nature and the intricate adjusting techniques that need to be learned, clinical training takes up a significant portion of the total study time.
A rigorous education in all healing scientists is received by chiropractors, similar to what medical doctors get. So, in areas like public health, nutrition, rehabilitation, physiology, radiology, and anatomy, chiropractors have a more rigorous educational requirement. Like many other primary health care doctors, chiropractic students spend a great deal of their curriculum time studying clinical subjects related to evaluating and caring for patients.
Typically, professional training includes completing a clinical-based program of a minimum of one year that deals with actual patient care. The total curriculum consists of a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. An accrediting agency that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes approves the course of the study. This has been true for over 25 years.
The Doctor Of Chiropractic Is Better When It Comes To Spine, Joint & Sports Injury Treatments.
Educational and Qualification for a Doctor of Chiropractic is stringent and rigorous: Making them the Best Non-Surgical caregivers for the Spine and Joint Disorders. The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) governs the licensure and certification of U. S. Chiropractors.
The U.S strictly governs chiropractic education in the United States of America. One such governing entity is the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Their sole responsibility is to ensure that Universities teaching Chiropractic meets or exceeds the U.S. Government requirement for a Chiropractic Physician.
Chiropractic doctors must pass their board exam given by the U.S. National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). Each practicing Doctor of Chiropractic must obtain a license from their respective state in the United States. Chiropractors must meet annual continuing education requirements to maintain their licensure.
Strict Laws & Regulations Govern The Practice & Licensing Of Chiropractic
The education, licensing, and scope of practice for chiropractors vary throughout the world. Today, over 100 countries recognize chiropractic care as a useful alternative for musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. In Malaysia, the profession is experiencing rapid growth. In 2011, IMU launched a bachelor‘s degree program that is similar to the Australian requirements.
Regardless of the level of education, chiropractors have proven to be the most effective alternative care providers wherever they practice. The techniques, skills, and knowledge of a chiropractor have improved the lives of so many. The chiropractic care you get in one of our centers is further enhanced through our clinical physiotherapists’ efforts.
Our center offers the most advanced conservative spine and joint care in Malaysia. The care you get is enriched through technology and targeted research-based methods to prove clinical success. We get you better faster. Chiropractic Specialty Center® offers physiotherapy combined with chiropractic services in Malaysia.
We have the skills, knowledge, and technology needed to treat even the most severe spine, joint, or sports injury cases. Therefore, the care you get from us is better when compared to others. The chiropractic treatments you get in one of our centers are condition-specific through low-force gentle techniques rendered by hand or through an instrument.
Malaysia Has Stringent Requirements For Chiropractors
Our Chiropractors have clinical proficiency in identifying the cause of your pain correctly at its root. Their skills, knowledge, and training are the reasons why our clinical team achieves results when others fail. Our centers thrive on clinical success, even with severe cases. We have treated thousands of acute and chronic slipped disc cases with results unmatched by others.
The doctor of chiropractic in our centers is not the only caregiver.
What Chiropractors Do
Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Most chiropractors work in a solo or group chiropractic practice. A large number are self-employed.
How to Become a Chiropractor
Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and get a state license. Doctor of Chiropractic programs typically take 4 years to complete and require at least 3 years of undergraduate college education for admission.
The median annual wage for chiropractors was $70,720 in May 2020.
Employment of chiropractors is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
About 1,800 openings for chiropractors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
State & Area Data
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for chiropractors.