“Are Chiropractors Doctors?”: Chiropractic Myths Debunked

As a chiropractor, I get lots of patients asking questions like “what is chiropractic care?” and “is chiropractic the same as physical therapy?” (The answer to the latter question: nope).

In this article, I’ll debunk some of the common misconceptions about chiropractic and explain the field with more detail.

What does a chiropractor do?

Let’s start our myth-debunking with a working definition of chiropractic.

The website spine-health.com defines chiropractic this way:

“A chiropractor is a health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine.

Most chiropractors seek to reduce pain and improve the functionality of patients as well as to educate them on how they can account for their own health via exercise, ergonomics and other therapies to treat back pain.”

The highlighted parts indicate the key characteristics of a chiropractor’s job.

Now that we have a clearer understanding of chiropractic, let’s debunk some myths!

Myth 1: Chiropractic care is dangerous.

FACT: Chiropractic care is actually safe!

No medical intervention is 100% risk-free, but statistically chiropractic is a lot safer than going for spine surgery! The biggest side-effect associated with chiropractic is usually soreness.

Statistics show that the risk of harmful side-effects from spine surgery is 1,800 in a million; this figure is much lower in chiropractic at <1 in a million (or 1 in 5.85 million). In short, you’re in good hands with a chiropractor.

On that note, chiropractic adjustment is also safe for patients with severe osteoporosis and numbness, tingling and loss of limb strength. Treatment is typically gentler and less manual to accommodate these needs.

Chiropractic is safe for everyone!

Myth 2: Chiropractors are not doctors.

FACT: Chiropractors are not medical doctors. However, they do graduate with a doctorate and hence are eligible for the title.

Chiropractors typically train for and graduate with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. A person receives their doctorate when they reach a level of education sufficient to teach others. In the same vein, someone who studies Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Physical Therapy would also be known as Doctor. Given this, chiropractors are referred to as “Dr” in reference to their qualifications.

Myth 3: Chiropractic is expensive.

FACT: Chiropractic is actually cost-effective.

A 7-year study showed that patients who receive chiropractic care have

  • 60% fewer hospital admissions
  • 59% fewer hospital days
  • 62% fewer outpatient surgeries and procedures
  • 85% savings in pharmaceutical costs

This is because chiropractic treatment is able to provide excellent preventive care, reducing the issues that incur high pharmaceutical costs and land people in hospital in the first place. By re-aligning the spine (a key part of the central nervous system) and encouraging healthy habits, chiropractic treatment restores nerve supply to organs and muscles and improves the transmission of nerve signals, thus boosting the immune system. In doing so, more serious health issues are mitigated, in turn reducing short and long-run medical costs. You can read more about the study conducted here.

Chiropractic treatment helps prevent and reduce the issues that land people in hospital in the first place.

Myth 4: Chiropractors only treat back pain.

FACT: Chiropractors do treat back pain, but are also able to help with other health issues!

Chiropractors also treat:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Other forms of acute and chronic pain throughout the body

The adjustments involved for these issues are also painless, at most incurring mild discomfort or stiffness that goes away when the patient relaxes.

Myth 5: Chiropractic treatment doesn’t work

FACT: Chiropractic treatment works!

Numerous studies have been conducted to validate the effectiveness of chiropractic. A UK study showed that patients reported reduced pain (92%) and increased mobility (80%) with chiropractic care, and 63% also reported that chiropractic treatment helped maintain their general health and well-being. This result is corroborated by a Harvard Medical School study where patients reported less pain intensity and needing less pain medicine after six weeks of chiropractic care.

Summary of Chiropractic Myths Debunked

The infographics below summarise the myths debunked in this article and clear up several other important questions about chiropractic.

If you’d like to experience chiropractic for yourself, give us a call at 62084669 or drop us an email wecare@mychirocare.sg; we’re more than happy to work with you on your health and wellness!