Suffering from back or neck pain? An expert tells us the truth about chiropractic myths and answers all your questions.
Hands up if you’ve seen viral videos of patients getting chiropractic adjustments. Those loud popping and cracking sounds are fascinating – and so addictive to watch! With more attention on chiropractic care these days, it’s no surprise that people have questions and concerns too. But some choose not to go for adjustments ‘cos they’re afraid of adverse effects and the ‘lack of scientific proof’ around chiropractors. Enter Dr Matt Kan, founder and senior consultant at Chiropractic First, to clear up all the myths and misconceptions you may have.
Myth #1: Chiropractors are not real doctors
Let’s set the record straight. Chiropractic medicine may be holistic in nature compared to more conventional medical approaches. But that doesn’t mean chiropractors are less rigorously trained than other doctors.
Fun fact: chiropractors have to attend a minimum of 4,485 classroom hours to get their degree! The difference between chiropractors and medical doctors? The former practices spinal adjustments while the latter prescribes medication according to their specialisation.
Myth #2: A chiropractor is the same as a physiotherapist
Chiropractors and physiotherapists are often misunderstood as the same profession. While it’s true both can help address any physical discomfort in your body, they use different approaches. Both apply conservative care, which consists of rest and muscle relaxants, instead of surgical treatments. They also use non-invasive and non-surgical techniques such as hands-on therapy to treat nerve, muscle and joint problems.
However, the big difference lies in their method of treatment. Physiotherapists typically help to improve general health and mobility through exercise rehabilitation programmes and manual therapy. This can strengthen specific parts of the body while relieving pain and stiffness.
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to restore mobility to the joints. They may be restricted due to previous tissue injury caused by a traumatic event such as falling, or repetitive stress such as sitting without proper back support. It’s essentially a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones and connective tissues, and can sometimes be done together with conventional medical treatments.
Myth #3: Chiropractic adjustments hurt
If you’ve heard popping and cracking from a chiropractic adjustment, it’s easy to assume they’re signs of pain. But it’s the opposite! These sounds occur when joints are opened up and the fluid between them releases gas.
Heads up: not all chiropractic adjustments guarantee an audible popping sound as each doctor may use different techniques. Truth is, you’re more likely to feel immediate relief from pain or discomfort after adjustments.
Chiropractic care can address complaints about body discomfort. The most common ones? Back pain, neck pain and headaches. Adjustments result in relief rather than extra discomfort or pain, as these are tailored to each patient’s health condition to restore the spine and nervous system back to normal.
Myth #4: Chiropractic care is a one-off solution
While chiropractic adjustments can help you deal with pain and give you immediate relief, they’re not necessarily a one-time treatment. FYI: chiropractors can help treat and prevent injuries.
Through regular chiropractic care, you can increase joint mobility, strengthen muscles and boost your immune system. Since these adjustments help improve the central nervous system, you’ll also benefit from higher energy levels, better moods and less stress. Good news for your overall long-term health!
But once you’re done with the recommended sessions to fix your issues, it’s not compulsory for you to keep going back. The decision is entirely up to you. It’s not obligatory, but it’s always good to get adjusted regularly.
Myth #5: There’s no evidence that chiropractic care is effective
Studies have shown it’s actually a good solution for conditions such as back pain, neck pain and headaches. For example, headaches are commonly associated with muscle tension in the neck. With our sedentary lifestyles, we have a higher chance of joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp. But spinal manipulation is effective in alleviating severe headaches, migraines and other conditions.
These are just a few of the common misconceptions you may have around chiropractic care. And it’s high time we all educate ourselves on the facts – don’t believe everything you see online!
Words by Dr Matt Kan
Dr Matt Kan founded one of Asia’s leading chiropractic groups, Chiropractic First. He graduated from world-renowned Palmer College of Chiropractic in the US with a Doctor of Chiropractic with Honours Summa Cum Laude (Valedictorian). Dr Kan specialises in sports injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, physiotherapy, and myofascial tonnus releases therapy. Among his patients are cabinet ministers, royal families, international sports professionals and celebrities.