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Chiropractics: Is It Healthy?

When you think of going to a chiropractor, do you think it's just about getting your back cracked? A visit to a chiropractor can be so much more than that.

Chiropractics is an alternative medicine, like Homeopathy, that treats disorders of the body by manipulation of the spine. It's based on the belief that the nervous system is the mission control to your body. Because the spine houses the spinal cord, chiropractors believe that a misaligned vertebrae, whether it be from injury or how you were born, your range of motion becomes limited.

Also, the nerves that extend out of the spinal cord can be affected, causing pain in other areas of your body. They believe that your misaligned spine is the cause of most medical problems.

When you get your back "cracked," it's called an adjustment. And most people feel a release of tension and pain after they get adjusted.

Chiropractors also help to prevent pain, so they require that you see them regularly, not just when your neck hurts.

Of course, some believe that there is little evidence that spinal manipulation is effective in treating medical conditions.

But like most alternative medicines, chiropractics treats the whole person, which is a lot more than I can say for regular doctors, and could be the reason why it works for so many people.

See for yourself. Find a doctor in your area and talk with them. Most will do a free consultation visit so you can get a good sense if you think it's for you.

Join The Conversation
rach8223 rach8223 10 years
As a current student of Chiropractic I totally emphasize with many of the concerns from the comments above. What many people don't understand is that there are two end of the spectrum within the field of Chiropractic. One end is what is mostly reflected in the article above. These are the "straight" or "philosophy based" Chiro's that still believe primarily in the principles and methods developed by B.J. Palmer over 100 years again. Such doctors feel that only if the spine is aligned (i.e. no bones out of place) it will function properly and you will be pain free. Typically spine only adjustments are made.(This is a pretty watered down definition.) I am from the "mixer" or "evidence-based" school of thought. These doctors feel that yes, the spine is very important for how the body functions. Yes, vertebrae may go out of space, or somehow restrict your movement thus causing pain. But Mixers do not overlook the countless other aspects of health that lead to back, neck and other pain. Posture, exercise, diet, lifestyle... just to name a few. These Chiro's not only adjust your spine, but will also treat injuries to other areas such as knees, hips, wrists, etc. This school of thought is very well educated in the bio-mechanics of the body, and provide treatment that is usually research based, looking at out-comes and seeing what works. Many of these doctors also practice many different techniques geared at your muscles. Evidence has shown that adjustments alone many not relieve pain or aid in healing injuries. These techniques may involve stretching individual muscles, using tools or massage to break up scar tissue, general physical therapy, use of cold laser and and much more. From this comment it is pretty obvious how I feel about the two main categories of Chiro's. Let it be known that these two conflicting mindsets have let to much controversy in the field. I totally believe in what I am going to school for and I know I will be able to help provide many people with pain relief. That said, it is important to have a good relationship with your Chiro and be aware of their philosophy and methods of treatment. Do research, ask questions, talk to your friends, and don't be afraid to try different doctors. Find out what works for your you!
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
The Man had his back go out on him a few, curled on the floor couldnt' move. He went to the chiro and hasn't had a problem since...five years later. If a doc was claiming that aligning my back would cure cancer, I wouldn't see them anymore. However, it only makes sense that your spine is LITERALLY the back-bone of your entire system. If that gets out of wack, it's going to mess up nerves, tissue, etc. Just like any other misalignment of your body. I really need to get in to see one, but I'm scared. Like other people have said, if you don't find a good doc, they can mess you up in no time.
nannychica nannychica 10 years
I broke my tailbone a couple of years ago and have had migraines and headaches and back pain ever since. Well, I had really bad headaches before that happened but they've gotten worse. My mom said that after I was born she had really bad back pain and she went to a chiropractor to get an adjustment and she said it was one of the greatest things she's ever done. She's told me many times over the past few years that I should go to one but for some reason I can't get over the fear of something going wrong or me being too tense and not able to relax for it to work.
katie225 katie225 10 years
penn and teller debunked chiropractics, among other things like magnetic therapy, on their show "b.s." and it was very interesting and funny. basically, all of these practices have very little scientific evidence to support them. some chiropractors tell their patients they can cure cancer, which is ridiculous! all of these homeopathic practices have one thing in common: the placebo effect. they work because you believe they work. so please, go ahead and use them if you get relief from them or are helped in any way. but DO NOT spend ridiculous amounts of money on them or think they can cure cancer.
BeeMoney BeeMoney 10 years
Traditional chiros make me nervous...I do not like to be popped and cracked. My chiropractor uses the activator method. It is not aggressive at all. She uses this little tool that looks sort of like a screw driver and you lay on your stomach with your heels together. She adjusts your body in particular points by looking at the alignment of your heels. If they meet perfectly you are fine, if one leg seems longer than the other you aren't. The tool just sort of taps you in the particular places and then they check your heels. It makes me feel very refreshed!
Tnkrbelli Tnkrbelli 10 years
I think that it is definitely a great option for someone to go to a chiropractor if they haven't had any relief from the "med" doctors. I like alternative medicine and feel as though it works with the whole body rather than just one area. I prefer acupuncture and massage therapy though, I'm not a fan of the cracking! It's all up to what your body responds to I guess. Anyways, always MAKE sure he/she's a legit doctor, check references from other patients or try to get someone to refer you to one.
lexichloe lexichloe 10 years
My friend is a chiropractor, and adjusted me for the first time last week. I can honestly say, it opened my eyes to this practice, being the skeptic I have been. The night after my adjustment, I slept better than I had in years!! I would suggest it to those who have trouble sleeping or just general back/neck pain. But, definitley find a good one, when they crack your neck you feel like you were in a kung-fu movie!!!
teacher teacher 10 years
When I was young, I had a gymnastics accident. I was nearly paralyzed and the doctors were talking major surgery. My mom took me to a chiropractor, who realigned me and basically saved me from a very invasive and dangerous procedure. As a teacher of anatomy and physiology I will admit that some of these chiropractors are "sketchy", and that the data itself is shaky, but I doubt I would still be able to run a 10K without my old doc. And, I 've still never had surgery.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
For some people chiropractic is a life saver. My mom had a back injury that was really helped by it. I have gone to a few different chiropractors for my own back problems and some are definitely better than others. The last one I went to was really good at aligning and I always felt better after a visit. It's not good for people who don't need a chiropractor to go, because over manipulation of the spine can make it go out of alignment more easily for some people (especially children). I have had accupuncture too and it definitely relaxed my muscles and felt really good. If I could afford it, I'd get it done all the time!
Beaner Beaner 10 years
When I was in high school, I had lower back pain. I went to a chiro because my dad used to go and the dr tried to convince me that I needed to go 3 times a week. I didn't go for that. Basically what I needed to do was get my a** off the couch and exercise. I have zero back pain now.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 10 years
All I can say is that I love my chiropractor! I love the acupuncture, I love the adjustments, I love the TENS unit he gave me. I always feel 10x better when I leave his office.
styleicon85 styleicon85 10 years
I totally agree with megagirl in that you need to find a GOOD chiropractor. But as a massage therapist I have found chiropractors to be extremely helpful. I have suggested to clients that they might consider getting an adjustment every now and then. However, some people become almost addicted to going and getting themselves "realigned" This is when it becomes a problem. Massage can only alleviate so much. We generally deal with muscles not bones. Usually it is our job to warm-up the muscles with massage before or after a chiropractic visit. I say..try a massage first and if that doesn't help at all then you may want to consider the chiropractor.
megagirl megagirl 10 years
I don't want to be the one to rain on the chiropractor parade, but you also have to be really careful to find a good chiropractor because of the tremendous potential for injury when someone is dealing with your back. There have certainly been cases where people have been seriously injured this way (my dad has been telling me since I was younger not to get into it because an attorney friend of his had a couple of serious cases where a bad chiropractor seriously injured people). Not to say that it is always a bad idea; it's just that you have to be more careful than you might be choosing other types of alternative medicine practicioners because a back injury is so serious.
SassAndBide SassAndBide 10 years
I've been to the chiropractor like once and it sounds scary when u hear all ur bones cracking lol but it doesn't hurt, weirdly enough. and when it's done u feel like light and refreshed its hard to describe lol but i prefer going to massage therapy instead cuz it's more relaxing and u dont have to hear ur bones crackin.
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
Sweet Adeline, why do you say that's surprising in Georgia? I don't generally think of Georgia as alternative medicine haven, and I live in Atlanta.
Sweet-Adeline Sweet-Adeline 10 years
Gee, I have never been to a chiropractor and at my age and in Georgia, that is something.
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