Day in and day out in my Comox Valley Chiropractic practice, I encounter new patients who confess that they didn’t try a chiropractor sooner due to hearing negative (and misleading) information. I spend a lot of my time explaining the true situations behind they myths they’ve heard. Over the next few weeks, I’ll expand upon my favourite 4 myths that I hear again and again. They are as follows:

  1. Chiropractic is addictive – once you go, you have to keep going back for the rest of your life.
  2. Chiropractors aren’t doctors, they have very little education compared to medical doctors.
  3. There is no evidence to show that chiropractic works.
  4. Chiropractic treatment is dangerous.

I will start with myth #1 – once you go to a chiropractor, you have to go over and over again, and keep going for the rest of your life. This one amuses me for many reasons, not the least is which its a perfect example of why people seem to measure chiropractic with a completely different yardstick than any other health profession.

I like to compare chiropractic to dentistry. Most of us are born with a beautiful and healthy mouth of teeth. Over our lifespan, we are encouraged to go to the dentist twice a year for check-ups, cleanings and the occasional cavity filling. If we are diligent with our prevention, hopefully we will never have to have a tooth pulled or a root canal performed.

Similarly, you are also born with a beautiful and healthy spine. Over our lifetime, our spine will also undergo stress and strain due to our relative inactivity, prolonged sitting and excessive amount of computer work (similar to too much candy and soda for the teeth). Just because you can’t see your spine every day in the mirror, doesn’t mean that stress doesn’t accumulate – just ask someone with bone spurs. Seeing a chiropractor for prevention, or treatment of small episodes of back pain, will help to avoid those major episodes which can lead to more invasive treatment such as surgery.

So, are you addicted to your dentist? What would happen if you didn’t go? You’d either have a horrible set of teeth, or you would be forced to go for major work when the pain became too unbearable. Also, more research is starting to surface between a healthy mouth and a decreased risk of heart disease.

What would happen if you didn’t go to a chiropractor? Your episodes of back pain would probably still resolve, albeit much slower and with more of an effect on your life. Its possible that the simple back strain you didn’t address would just keep coming back over and over, until it ended up becoming a chronic condition.

People don’t become addicted to chiropractic. They simply discover a simple and effective treatment to get rid of their aches and pains quickly, so that they don’t become major events. That being said, in my opinion a good chiropractor will also be providing home stretching and strengthening exercises that will help the patient to maintain as much self-sufficiency as possible. So why do we completely accept regular visits to the dentist, but scream bloody murder when a chiropractor suggests preventative care?

In my next post, I’ll discuss what is considered a normal treatment plan in my office and what I think is reasonable for preventative care. “How long until I get better?” is the most common question I have to answer in my office.