In the past, we wrote about common myths regarding chiropractic treatment in an effort to have an ongoing discussion about the role of chiropractors in the healthcare team and services. We strive to be open and transparent about the information shared to help inform you – the public – on the care provided and benefits to your health.
The response we received from the past blog was great, as we suspected many people are interested in learning more about the chiropractic profession. In continuing the dialogue, we have dedicated this week’s blog to demystifying some common misconceptions about chiropractic care. Here are three misconceptions about chiropractic treatment explained:
A Medical Doctor Must Refer you to a Chiropractor
In all provinces in Canada, chiropractors are primary contact providers, which means you can access them directly. Due to the extensive training of chiropractors as diagnosticians, chiropractors will perform a comprehensive assessment to help determine a diagnosis or clinical impressions. Depending on the outcome, the chiropractor can discuss a course of care or refer to another healthcare professional, as needed. However, in some cases, you may need a referral to access coverage depending on your benefits provider.
There is No Evidence to Support the Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic treatment is at times questioned on its effectiveness. Yet, the chiropractic profession and others have invested significant resources to build a robust body of evidence studying the impact of manual therapies on MSK conditions. For example, spinal and joint manipulation has been shown to be effective treatment for acute and chronic MSK conditions, like back pain. In fact, spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is recommended as first line intervention for back pain in numerous clinical practice guidelines including the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force1, the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society2 as well as Britain’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence3.
Chiropractors Can Only Treat Back Pain
This statement is false. Chiropractors, are MSK experts and are trained in assessing, diagnosing and treating conditions that impact the musculoskeletal (MSK) and associated neurological system as well as other structures besides the spine. In addition to the evidence that supports chiropractic care in managing musculoskeletal complaints of the spine, there is also evidence that it supports chiropractic management of the extremities, headaches and even the TMJ4,5,6. Chiropractors are also able to provide lifestyle counselling about nutrition, fitness and ergonomics among others that may be useful in managing or preventing a variety of health conditions. The health of your MSK system doesn’t just start with a healthy spine. You need to be fully aware of your health to maintain a well-rounded healthy lifestyle.
Asking questions about your health and treatment options are very important. You are a partner in your care and your participation is critical to helping us provide the best care to meet your goal. To do so, as a profession, we strive to better understand what information you need to make those important decisions. We want to hear from you! If you have any questions beyond this blog about chiropractic treatment, visit a chiropractor in your area.
1Haldeman, S., Carroll, L., Cassidy, J., Schubert, J., & Nygren, A. (2008). The bone and joint decade 2000–2010 task force on neck pain and its associated disorders: Executive summary. Spine, 33(4S), S5-S7.
2Chou, E., Qaseem, A., Snow, V., Casey, D., Cross, T., Shekelle, P., & Owens, D. (2007). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: A joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of Internal Medicine, 147(7), 478-491.
3National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. (2009).Low back pain early management of persistent non-specific low back pain. London, England.
4Hoskins, W., McHardy, A., Pollard, H., Windsham, R., & Onley, R. (2006). Chiropractic treatment of lower extremity conditions: a literature review. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 29(8), 658-671.
5McHardy, A., Hoskins, W., Pollard, H., Onley, R., & Windsham, R. (2008). Chiropractic treatment of upper extremity conditions: a systematic review. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 31(2), 146-159.
6Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Reugg, R., White, E., & , (2011). Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,34(5), 274-289.