I’m not shocked when people tell me they are skeptical of Chiropractors. To be honest, I started off being a big skeptic myself. I was lucky to have been treated and mentored by one of the best doctors of chiropractic in Ottawa, and I quickly realized that this wasn’t a “pseudo-science” or “quackery”; it’s pure anatomy and physiology.
There are many common stereotypes and myths around my profession, and I’d like to take a minute to debunk 3 of the most common ones.
#1 “If I see a chiropractor once, I’ll have to go for the rest of my life”
For the most part, this is false. Most cases that we see day-to-day resolve with treatment in less than 2 months. Then, we give you some exercises and advice on how to prevent similar injuries, and send you on your way! A lot like when you see your medical doctor for an infection. They run some tests, give you some treatment, do a couple of follow ups, and send you on your way until something new arises.
Some people have extremely chronic conditions that are managed long-term through manual medicines like chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy, etc., but these cases are the minority.
#2 “Chiropractors just crack backs” or “Chiropractic only works for back pain”
Though back pain is the most studied and talked about condition because of its prevalence, chiropractors are doctors of the whole musculoskeletal system. Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes… you get the point!
If something in your body hurts and it is caused by an injured or damaged muscle, joint, ligament, nerve, or tendon, we are your go-to doctors! Don’t worry; if your pain is being caused by something serious like an infection, pathology, or a fracture, we’ll identify it and send you on your way to see your family GP. As musculoskeletal doctors, we are experts in treating these injuries with conservative manual therapies such as:
- Joint manipulations
- Myofascial release (ripping up the scar tissue around your muscles)
- Advice/education on specific exercises, nutrition, and how to sleep well to heal quicker
I can’t even tell you how bored I’d be if all I did was crack backs all day!
# 3 “Chiropractors claim to cure Cancer, Asthma, ADD, Alzheimers, etc.”
If a chiropractor is telling you they can cure any of the above, run and run fast. This is simply not true. However, we do sometimes co-manage these cases with your family GP.
Lets take asthma, for example. Your family GP will monitor your oxygen saturation levels, prescribe the necessary puffers and medications, and give you advice on how to manage the flare-ups. As chiropractors, our role is to help manage the symptoms of physical discomfort and pain caused by asthma attacks. We increase your thoracic range of motion to allow you to get deeper, more effective breaths, and release the musculature around the neck and mid back that often gets incredibly tight after asthma attacks or prolonged wheezing.
Our scope of practice limits us to being doctors of the musculoskeletal (MSK) system, and treating with manual therapies. This means our role in cases of serious diseases or pathology is to reduce the pain and discomforts associated with those diseases.
Dr. Sabine Booth