In recent weeks we’ve noticed that there are some common misconceptions in the press and on social media about Chiropractic that are all too often reported as facts. We know it can be hard to know what’s accurate online these days, so this article aims to highlight some of the most common myths whilst delving into them a little. We’re here to dispel the rumours so we can empower our patients in making the right decisions about their own pain management and well-being.
Of course, we’re always at the end of the phone or email if you ever have any questions or want to know more about Chiropractic healthcare and can point you in the direction of official sites that may also help to detangle any queries you may have.
Let’s take a look…
Myth 1: Your doctor must refer you to a chiropractor
Nope! You do not need to see your GP before making an appointment for chiropractic treatment. Most people who have any kind of chiropractic treatment end up paying for it privately, as it isn’t widely available on the NHS or if it is waiting lists can be too long. It is provided in some areas, so seeking advice from your GP first can be beneficial. However, we are primary care practitioners, meaning we’re trained to diagnose, refer for further investigations (like x-rays), and are able to manage conditions without the need for a GP referral. So, if you’re looking for a faster route to pain management then going directly to a Chiropractic clinic is definitely advised.
Myth 2: Chiropractors are not ‘real’ doctors
Did you know that Chiropractic is recognised by the World Health Organisation? And that in the UK chiropractors will train at a world-wide accredited college or university, full-time for 4-5 years, and often to a Masters level? Our training encompasses general diagnosis, neurology, extensive radiology, as well as more relevant subjects to Chiropractic care. We are all licensed as primary health care practitioners, and as chiropractors we focus on the treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, and how these disorders may affect your general health.
Myth 3: Chiropractic Adjustments are Unsafe
This simply isn’t true. If you are seen by a professional, registered chiropractor you are always going to be in safe hands. In the Uk, to be licensed as a chiropractor you must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) who regulate the profession. It is in fact illegal for someone to call themselves a chiropractor if they are not registered with the GCC.
Like other professionals, we are also required to undertake continuing professional development each year, to follow a set of codes and standards set by the GCC, and to ensure the health of our patients always comes first. That means if we believe you need further treatment, we will advise you to stop treatment and take another course of action. Your health is important to us, even if that means advising you to seek alternative treatments or help elsewhere.
Myth 4: Chiropractic treatment “is a load of hokum”
This is one we’ve seen recently actually. We believe the writer meant that chiropractic is a made up form of pain management, a type of treatment without any kind of medical grounding or research and thus not a successful form of healthcare. Perhaps people are less aware of the physical and mental health benefits of chiropractic treatment because here in the UK the ratio per head of population of chiropractors to people is 1 per 22,000, with as a little as 3000 chiropractors nationwide. Where as in Canada it’s the ration is 1 per 4000 people. However, in 2015 it was reported there were some 10 million chiropractic appointments for treatment each year. Additionally, in 2018 the British Chiropractic Association released research detailing that more people in the UK are suffering from back and neck pain each week, than they were five years ago. This means the need for our treatment is higher than ever. Chiropractic manipulation, massage and exercise are now widely recommended as a first line treatments for back pain. With a robust body of research, and significant amounts of patient satisfaction backing the practice, you can believe that not only is our type of care safe and effective, it is indeed real. Ask the thousands of patients here at Guildford Chiropractic Centre!
Myth 5: Chiropractic Adjustments Hurt!
False! You’ll find that many patients treated by chiropractors will feel instant pain relief immediately after their adjustments or joint manipulations. Naturally, those having suffered from longer term back or neck ailments may experience some discomfort, but for most patients this is simply not the case at all. We tend to find patients are in fact more nervous about the sound certain adjustments can make. For the record, the sound is believed to be a result of a release of gas bubbles from your joints, similar to sound of cracking your knuckles. It’s also important to note that adjustments should always be provided by a professional – just as you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself or loved ones, be sure to leave it to a licensed practitioner. Even chiropractors cannot adjust themselves!
Myth 6: Once you start, you can’t stop!
Fake news! We will provide an initial assessment when you first seek treatment, which includes a history and physical examination. From these first observations we’re able to diagnose and prescribe a course of treatment, a care plan to help manage your pain and health goals. The plan will recommend a number of visits based on your diagnosis, with routine monitoring of your developments. Treatments become less and less as we resolve your ailments. As with any kind of healthcare, once the pain stops it’s still wise to build some maintenance into your routine to help prevention of problems returning – just like returning to the dentist for check ups! But ultimately, the decision is always yours. We’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure your health is priority, managed, and always looked after.
Myth 7: Chiropractors Can Only Treat Back Pain
Chiropractors are actually neuromusculoskeletal experts, this means we’re trained to assess, diagnose and prevent a whole host of biomechanical disorders. Simply put, we address your muscular, skeletal and nervous system ailments and complaints. We do make spinal adjustments, but they help fight against many conditions like headaches, joint pain in the leg, hip and knee, tennis elbow, stress, tension and the inability to relax, as well as the most commonly thought of back, neck and shoulder pain. We’re also able to offer advice on lifestyle changes that will help you overcome your healthcare issues alongside the physical treatment we offer.
Being able to ask questions about your health and treatment options is the utmost importance to us. Your understanding and participation in your treatment plan enables us to better meet your health goals, and ensures we provide the best care possible. If you ever have any questions about chiropractic care, whether before, during or after your treatments please always feel free to ask your physician.