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Most people have heard about chiropractic care but may not be sure what is involved. If you’re considering seeing a chiropractor, it helps to get as much information as possible and learn all the facts before undergoing treatment.

But where do you start? Talking to family and friends can lead to the wrong information. In some cases, you may not hear the complete story. Misconceptions are common.

Debunking some of the myths associated with chiropractic care is one of the first steps to getting the complete picture of what’s involved. Below are some common misconceptions about chiropractic treatment.

Misconception: Chiropractic care is not considered mainstream treatment.

Reality: Chiropractic care does not involve any hocus pocus, potions, or strange treatment. The medical communities in many countries acknowledge the benefits and value of chiropractic care. Many physicians routinely recognize chiropractic care as an alternative conservative treatment for conditions, such as back and neck pain.

Various factors can interfere with the normal functioning of the nervous system. Chiropractors may help restore proper functioning of the nervous system, through spinal adjustments and other mobilization techniques.

Misconception: Chiropractors are not doctors.

Reality: Chiropractors are not medical doctors. But they do have a doctorate in chiropractic care. The training and educational requirements are lengthy and stringent. Similarly to medical doctors, chiropractors must have a four-year undergraduate degree. They also receive four to five years of additional education in a chiropractic training program. Chiropractic students take classes, such as anatomy, chemistry, and microbiology. Students are also trained in pathology, radiology, and rehabilitation. Hands-on experience while treating patients is also included in chiropractic programs. After completing the educational requirements, chiropractic students must pass national or provincial boards to become licensed.

Misconception: The only reason to see a chiropractor is to treat back pain.

Reality: Back pain is one of the most common adult complaints, and chiropractors do often treat back pain. But there are several other conditions and ailments that chiropractic care may help. For example, chiropractors often treat people with headaches, sports injuries, arthritis, foot pain, repetitive strain injuries and more.

Misconception: Chiropractors only do spinal adjustments.

Reality: Chiropractic adjustments involve applying some specific force in a certain direction to move the spine into proper alignment. Adjustments can help relieve pain and treat certain health conditions. But adjustments are not the only way chiropractors treat patients. Chiropractors may also use trigger point massage, myofascial release, electric current stimulation, and hydrotherapy in conjunction with spinal manipulations. 

Misconception: Adjustments are dangerous.

Reality: All medical treatments are associated with some risks. However, chiropractors are trained professionals that know how to safely carry out procedures based on a person’s condition, comfort level, and age. Studies have been conducted by research institutions, hospitals, and universities, which have indicated that chiropractic care is generally a safe treatment for most people with musculoskeletal disorders.

Misconception: Chiropractors are expensive.

Reality: The cost of chiropractor care varies based on the part of the country you live in. In the United States, for instance, it is usually not any more expensive than going to your doctor’s office. In Canada, most private insurance policies cover a specific number of chiropractic visits. Plus, when you consider the cost of doctor’s visits, medication, and missed work due to pain, chiropractic care could end up less costly.

Misconception: Chiropractic adjustments are painful.

Reality: If you are afraid an adjustment will hurt, you have nothing to worry about. Chiropractors have studied the muscular and skeletal system extensively and understand how to manipulate it in a way that would minimize any discomfort. In fact, not only do adjustments usually not hurt, most people find relief and reduced pain after a treatment.

Misconception: There is no scientific evidence that chiropractic care works.

Reality: According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies have indicated that chiropractic adjustments may reduce low back pain for some people. There is some conflicting research on the effectiveness of adjustments for conditions, such as TMJ, asthma, and fibromyalgia. But it can treat problems associated with headaches, neck and shoulder pain.

Related: New Study Supports Spinal Manipulation Therapy

The bottom line is that chiropractic treatment may not cure every kind of ailment and may not work for everyone. But depending on your condition, it may be helpful. Some people find regular adjustments to keep their spine healthy and prevent back pain episodes.