Myth: “Popping and cracking your joints is bad for you, so chiropractic must be harmful.”
Reality: A chiropractic adjustment is a specific force at a specific place that improves the motion in the spine. An adjustment is only done on a joint that isn’t functioning well. The joints that are working properly are left alone. When performed by a chiropractor, an adjustment can increase the range of motion in your spine and can relieve pain and stiffness.
It’s true that if you randomly crack your knuckles, neck, or back, it can be bad for you. When you get the urge to do this, there is usually a problem somewhere else in the spine that is causing tension to build. Popping your own back or neck may temporarily relieve the pressure of built-up tension, but you don’t fix the problem. Over time, the habit of popping your joints can create looseness or “hypermobility” in the spine, which is hard to correct.
Myth: “Chiropractic isn’t safe.”
Any treatment has the potential for adverse side effects, whether it is taking medication, surgery, physical therapy, massage, or chiropractic. Chiropractic has been shown in most studies to be remarkably safe. Chiropractic malpractice rates are very low, which reflects the safety of chiropractic care.
Myth: “Once you go to a chiropractor the first time, you have to go forever.”
Not true. You can come to a chiropractor for as long as you like. It is your body and your choice. People usually come with a particular problem, and our first goal of care is to help you feel better. If it’s a simple problem, it can get better with a few visits. If it’s complicated, it may need several months of care.
A problem that has gone untreated can cause the spinal joints/vertebrae to wear down over time. This leads to irritation of nerve fibers and other sensitive tissue. In these cases, it can take some time for chiropractic care to show optimum results.
Some people choose to see their chiropractor on a regular basis. These are typically people who like to be proactive about their health instead of waiting for a crisis to happen. Proactive wellness can include things like going to the dentist, watching what you eat, regular exercise, and seeing a chiropractor to maintain a healthy spine. People under regular chiropractic care report that it makes them feel better, more flexible, and more alive.
Myth: “Chiropractors are not well-educated.”
Reality: Chiropractic school is tough. Dr. O’Hea and Dr. Felber both graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic-West, which is a rigorous 5-year program with coursework in 14 core clinical competencies as well as field training. What’s more, Washington State requires chiropractors to attend 25 hours of continuing education per year.
Dr. O’Hea received his B.S. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Physiological Psychology in 1983.
Dr. Felber has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington, graduating in 1983.
Myth: “MD’s don’t believe in chiropractic care.”
In the past there was animosity between MD’s and DC’s (Doctors of Chiropractic). We still come across a few MD’s who won’t refer a patient to us, but for the most part these “turf wars” have ended. Our office gets referrals from many providers, including orthopedists, GP’s, physiatrists, and physical therapists. We also refer to other doctors when another opinion is in order. No profession has all the keys to good health, and no one provider can solve all problems.
Myth: “If I went to a chiropractor, I’d have to get cracked.”
A lot of people are frightened by manual adjustments, especially in their neck. There are many techniques available to adjust the spine, ranging from the traditional manual adjustments to very light force adjustments that involve no popping or joint noises. There are also soft tissue techniques that are very effective. We utilize a variety of techniques suitable to a practice member’s age, condition, and comfort level.
Myth: “My back doesn’t hurt so I don’t need chiropractic care.”
Some chiropractors choose to focus only on caring for those with back pain. However, the benefits of chiropractic go far beyond pain relief. Chiropractic care can often help your body function better. For example, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension found that chiropractic adjustments lowered blood pressure better than medications in people with upper neck misalignments/subluxation.
More About Chiropractic
Can chiropractic care help me with problems other than back pain?
The short answer is that chiropractic is a systemic approach to improving your health, and not a treatment of any particular disease or malady. If you are going to a chiropractor for a problem like asthma, do not expect that spinal adjustments will cure this problem. That being said, some problems that don’t seem to be spine-related can show considerable improvement with chiropractic care. Current research is investigating whether or not spinal manipulation will help with problems like colic, high blood pressure, or balance.
More and more evidence indicates that spinal adjustments modulate the activity in the central nervous system. And since the central nervous system monitors and regulates every function in the body, this may be the reason that other problems improve while someone is receiving chiropractic care.
Structure Dictates Function
The way something is built determines how well it will work for any given task. Your body is no exception. If you want to continue functioning well, you need to build and maintain the structures that make up your body.
When you have a problem in a body part, whether it is your ankle or your spine, your body devotes more energy to repair the problem area. And the more your body has to focus on correcting one area, the less energy it has to maintain your overall health.
What causes the joints in the spine to get stuck in the first place?
In a word, stress. Physical stress (including sitting at a computer all day), emotional stress, and even the an imbalanced diet of caffeine and junk food can lead to changes in the musculoskeletal system.
Do subluxations (joint dysfunction) always hurt?
No. In fact, most of the time, your spine can adapt to the stress that these subluxations create on the spine. That is why you don’t hurt every time you strain your spinal joints. Over time, however, your body can’t adapt to the problems and you begin to experience pain. In our office, over 50% of the people we see can’t recall a specific injury. Subluxations are sort of like dental cavities: they begin small and often don’t hurt. Over time, they start affecting more and more tissues until finally something has to give. For most of us, that first symptom is pain.
How do I know if I have a subluxation?
The only way to know is by undergoing an in-office assessment. We perform an initial evaluation to determine what areas of of your spine are healthy and which areas are not. If you don’t have alignment issues, muscular imbalances, or other moment faults, you may not need chiropractic care. However, if our assessment shows that chiropractic could improve your situation, we’ll work with you to create a treatment plan that meets your health goals.