Chiropractic Myths Surrounding Spine and Joint Adjustments

functional chiropractic care fairfax virginiaChiropractic care is a branch of medicine that focuses on the impact of musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders on the body. This drug-free, hands-on approach utilizes diagnostic methods to determine the root cause of the patient’s system. Rather than treating just the symptoms, chiropractic care understands that the body is interconnected and works together. When a system is not functioning properly, it can affect other systems throughout the body.

The American Chiropractic Association [1] reports that in order for a person to become a licensed chiropractor, they must complete at least 4,200 hours of classroom and clinical internship. Although the educational and licensing requirements for chiropractors are some of the most stringent, there are still many myths surrounding this branch of medicine. Let’s look at some of these myths and debunk them with truth.

Myth #1 – The popping sound during a chiropractic adjustment occurs when two bones rub together. Many people believe that when a chiropractor performs an adjustment on the spine, the vertebrae rub together and create a cracking sound.

Fact: Fluid surrounds the vertebrae. Inside this fluid is air pocket or bubbles. When the pressure in the joint changes. When this occurs, the joints release gas that creates a pocket of air in the fluid and creates a popping sound.

Myth #2 – Chiropractic adjustments can lead to arthritis. The myth of popping your knuckles and other joints in the body can lead to arthritis probably came from mothers who were tired of hearing the sound. So, they told their children that cracking their knuckles would cause their knuckles to get big and cause arthritis. This was passed down through generations much like an old wives’ tale.

Fact: No studies have shown that popping a joint does not cause any damage. In fact, a misalignment of the spine occurs when there is a lack of movement of the vertebrae. For a healthy spine and proper joint mobility, chiropractic adjustments must be made to restore motion and allow the nervous system’s signals to travel properly.

neck pain northern virginiaMyth #3 – Chiropractic adjustments are unsafe. Many people think that chiropractic adjustments can cause a stroke to occur.

Fact: The media has published many sensationalized articles that say that neck manipulation causes strokes. It was believed that a spinal manipulation caused a tear in the vertebral artery, which leads to a stroke. Many of the things you do like quickly looking over your shoulder, having your hair washed at a salon or star gazing can stretch the artery 80 percent more than a cervical adjustment.

Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are safer than many of the activities you do daily. A population-based, case-crossover and case-controlled study looked at eligible VBA stroke patients that were admitted to hospitals in Ontario from April 1, 1993 to March 31, 2002. There were 818 cases of VBA strokes during this time frame. The study concluded that VBA strokes are very rare. It further found that those who suffered a VBA stroke and visited a chiropractor or PCP did so for a headache or neck pain probably caused by a VBA dissection prior to their stroke. There is no evidence that chiropractic care carries a greater risk than primary care when it comes to VBA strokes.[2]

Myth #4 – Chiropractic adjustments hurt.

Fact: When you come to a chiropractor, chances are you are already in pain. Chiropractic adjustments themselves do not hurt. In fact, most patients report a relief of pain immediately after the adjustment is made. However, some patients report a dull ache the day after an adjustment. You can reduce the risk of this occurring by drinking plenty of fluids and walking for 30 minutes after your adjustment.

Myth #5 – Chiropractors only treat spines. Many people believe that chiropractic care is only used to treat back pain.Fibromyalgia Pain Fairfax Virginia

Fact: Chiropractors specialize in improving a patient’s joint function. Chiropractic care helps to improve mobility in the spine, neck, hands, feet, ankles, hips and knees. Sports injuries, neck pain, injuries that occur in automobile accidents and headaches can be relieved with chiropractic care. Furthermore, expectant mothers who are experiencing pain and discomfort can get relief.

Myth #6 – Popping your back yourself is as good as chiropractic care.

Fact: A chiropractor must study and receive training to know how to safely and effectively correct misalignments in the body. They understand that the joints are sensitive and must be handled with care. When you pop you back at home, it does not mean that you will achieve the beneficial results that you would receive at a chiropractor’s office. Furthermore, doing it yourself can cause more damage to the spine and result in increased pain.

Myth #7 – There is no proof of the effectiveness of chiropractic care.

Fact: Studies have shown that those who are treated with chiropractic adjustment do not need surgery, experience pain and have their conditions corrected. Many studies have shown that chiropractic’s whole-body, natural, drug-free approach can help relieve a variety of symptoms including acute and chronic pain. [3]

Myth 8 – Once you start chiropractic adjustments, you must continue to go.

Fact: A chiropractor will develop a treatment plan to help correct your problem. The plan will include the number of visits you must complete to obtain results. Once your treatment plan is completed, you may wish to continue maintenance visits to ensure no subluxations occur; however, the choice to continue visits is completely up to you.

When you visit a chiropractor, the doctor will take a detailed medical history and use diagnostic testing to determine the type of chiropractic treatment that should be used. Both types of adjustments (gentle adjustment and manual adjustment) help restore function and motion to the joints, prevent further injury and allows the body to heal itself.

Manual adjustments are done using the hands. The chiropractor uses precise quick movements to help the vertebrae realign. Gentle adjustments may be used using a variety of tools including chiropractic drop tables and activators. The drop tables assist the chiropractor and the patient does not need to twist into different positions during the adjustment. Activators are instruments that deliver a low-force, high-speed impulse to the body to help correct misalignments.

There are many myths surrounding chiropractic care. We hope that we have answered many of your questions and dispelled the most common myths associated with chiropractic care. This type of treatment believes in the whole-body, drug-free approach. Chiropractors believe that all systems within the body are interconnected. When one of these become stressed or misaligned, symptoms can be experienced throughout the body. Chiropractors seek to realign the body and allow it to heal itself naturally.


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