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Posted on 04-20-2015

Top 5 Chiropractic Myths

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that has spent my entire professional life treating patients with chiropractic care and physical therapy modalities it recently dawned on me that although I know and understand what chiropractic care is all about, many of my current and perspective patients may not. There are a lot of mistruths and misunderstandings about Chiropractic care. Typically this is why my office offers a free consultation, to let potential patients ask any questions that they would like in order to determine if they are in the right place. As a result of the success of my last blog post about the Top 5 Whiplash myths, I've decided to put together (in no particularly order) what I view to be my Top 5 Chiropractic myths. So here they are.

1) Once you go to the Chiropractor you will "always have to go." Admittedly many patients feel relief of their neck and back pain symptoms with a short course of therapy and choose to return for additional treatment on a recurring basis, but you do not have. I see many patients who are experiencing an acute bout of neck or back discomfort that is able to become eliminated after only a few visits and then they stop presenting for care until, or unless, they need me again. There are no contracts to sign, no long term treatment plans, and no "guilt" associated with discontinuing treatment. Like a fisherman, we "catch and release" and a patient's desire to come back after their initial treatment is completely up to them.

2) Chiropractic care is unsafe. There have been many research articles demonstrating both the safety and efficacy of chiropractic care for acute and chronic neck and back pain. And while there are the occasional sensationalistic stories about patients having negative outcomes under chiropractic care, the incidence of cataclysmic injury while under the care of a licensed and trained Chiropractor is so small as to be nearly negligible.

3). Chiropractic care is expensive. Like most health care providers we accept many means of payment for our treatment. These include fee-for-service (cash), health insurance, worker's compensation payments, and auto insurance for personal injury cases. Typically the costs for services rendered are presented to an insurance company who will pay our bill. The out of pocket cost to a patient is determined by an insurance company's plan, just like it would be at a family physician's office. Many of the common insurance plans have chiropractic benefits that you are already paying for when you pay your monthly premiums. Care is not expensive, at least not more than a copay would cost you at your family physician's office. Additionally, research has shown that for patients experiencing lower back pain care is about 20 percent less expensive than for those initiating care in a traditional medical setting.

4). I can crack my own back, I don't need to see a chiropractor. Many patients ask me some variety of this statement each day. I remind them that the joints that they are able to cavitate or "crack" on their own are typically joints that are already hypermobile- that its, they are moving too much. Chiropractors are trained to palpate and adjust hypomobile fixated joint segments. So while it may be true that you hear joints cracking on your own, typically these are joints that are already moving appropriately and should not be adjusted. Chiropractors are trained to seek out and manipulate joints that are truly fixated.

5). Chiropractors break bones when they adjust you. Patients are often confused about what the "cracking" sound is. Research tells us that is is the sound of dissolved carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases in synovial joints that rush out of solution with an appropriate joint adjustment. This is similar to the popping sound that a bottle of champagne makes once the cork is popped, or to a can of soda once the top is opened. It is not the sound of bones being broken. While it is theoretically possible to apply enough force to break a bone, instances of broken bones within chiropractic offices are extremely rare and special efforts are made to prevent such outcomes.

I am sure that there are many more chiropractic myths out there. If you would like more information on any of these myths or if you would like me to "debunk" some more, feel free to comment and I would be happy to address any Chiropractic myths that you may have.

In the meantime, if you, or anyone you know requires Chiropractic care for neck pain and back pain please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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