In spite of its long recognition by the medical community and the government as a safe, proven, and effective treatment, many people today still have misconceptions about chiropractic care.
In the 1970's, the American Medical Association (the AMA) attempted to "contain and eliminate" the entire chiropractic profession. How they attempted to do this was by disseminating untrue and damaging information about chiropractic. They blacklisted any medical doctor that associated with a chiropractor and took away their hospital privileges, essentially forcing medical doctors to not associate with chiropractors. They attempted to put the profession out of business. The AMA deliberately lied in order to destroy chiropractic because they viewed chiropractic as a threat, or competition, for their health care dollars.
Chiropractic fired back and took the AMA to court and won. The court agreed with the chiropractic profession and called the AMA's actions "lawless" and unfounded. The case was eventually heard in the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the original verdict against the AMA.
However, some of the damage from this slander still is felt today. That is why sometimes you hear people say negative things about the profession of chiropractic.
Here's a look at some of the more common misconceptions about chiropractic care.
Myth #1: Chiropractors treat back pain and little else.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
While chiropractic adjustments can be especially helpful in relieving back pain, There are other problems that chiropractic is helpful for namely facet joint injuries, osteoarthritis, sacroiliac joint pain, chronic headaches, sinus problems, leg pain, arthritis, and many other illnesses. Chiropractors do more than manipulate the musculoskeletal parts of the body, and are capable of providing a myriad of services that include electric muscle stimulation, exercise programs and instruction, heat/cold therapy, lifestyle and nutrition counseling, massage, physical rehabilitation, physiotherapy, stress management, traction, and ultrasound.
Myth #2: Chiropractic is expensive.
Even with insurance, it seems that everything is expensive now these days. That's why we have set our fees so that they are affordable. Even patients without any chiropractic insurance can see us. Our fees for those with no coverage is $50 for the first visit and $45 for any remaining visits. We never charge you upfront fees or recommend excessive number of visits. We do not ask for thousands of dollares up front. We simply do the best treatment possible and charge a reasonable fee. Our goal is to get you better as quickly as humanly possible.
Myth #3: Chiropractic treatment is risky.
It surprises many people when they discover that chiropractic is one of the safest of all medical procedures. For many it seems difficult to believe but one area of proof is in the malpractice costs. A malpractice company has no bias against any one particular profession. They base their rates on the amount of risk inherent in the procedures they use. So for example, a surgeon is going to pay higher malpractice premiums than a general internist because there is a greater chance of things going wrong during surgery than during an office visit. It's just like in auto insurance. If you've had multiple speeding tickets and multiple accidents, your car insurance is going to be more expensive than a person who has never had those problems. The good driver is less of a risk to the insurance company.
Chiropractic insurance premiums are 20X less than your general family doctor and upwards of 150X less expensive than a surgeon. So rather than telling you that chiropractic is safe, just look at the facts. The very people that are insuring all doctors know that the risk of chiropractic is so low, that the premiums reflect that fact.
Myth #4: Chiropractic doesn't work for the long term.
Recent research shows the opposite. Spinal adjustments can have long term health on the joints to reduce strain on the cartilage. When you combine exercises plus spinal adjustments, the results are even better. No medical procedure works 100% of the time in 100% of the cases, but chiropractic does have a great track record for many conditions.
Myth #5: My medical doctor doesn't "believe" in chiropractic
Chiropractic is not a religion that is to be "believed." Chiropractic is a science just like denstistry, optometry, neurology, etc. As you read above, many years ago, chiropractic was attacked by the medical establishment and some of those opinions are still ingrained in individual doctors.
In my practice, I have an established working relationship with many different family doctors, orthopediists, neurologists, etc. I refer patients to them when it is appropriate and they refer pateints to a chiropractor when appropriate. Chiropractic is not for everyone and surgery is not for everyone. One doesn't have to "believe" in it.
Myth #6: Cervical manipulation can cause a stroke.
Every so often, you'll hear that a person fears being adjusted because they don't want to have a stroke. We do search for risk factors for strokes prior to dong any adjustment and if there is a chance of having a stroke, we use alternative methods of adjustments for safety. The risk factors for stroke are: high blood pressure, smoking, birth control pills, prior strokes and aging. If any of these risk factors are present, we do not use any rotational adjustments to the upper cervical spine. In the limited cases that have occured since 1895, stroke in a chiropractors office is the result of "being at the wrong place at the wrong time" combined with an overly aggressive adjustment. There are almost 800,000 strokes occur per year and if you google the risk factors for it, chiropractic is not even close to being a cause. Here is a link from the CDC about risk factors for strokes: http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm
We would never want anyone to have a stroke. Here in Camarillo, we have lots of patients that are considered "high risk" and we are able to help them with headaches and neck pain without causing further risk. We do this by avoiding rotational adjustments.
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