Chiropractic Myths and Facts

MYTH #1: Chiropractic adjustments are not safe.

FACT: Chiropractic treatments are much less invasive than many medical treatments. Since chiropractic care is drug-free and surgery-free, it avoids many potential ill effects. Risks associated with chiropractic care are extremely small, far less than the risks associated with taking prescription painkillers or even over-the-counter medications like aspirin. The risk of serious complications from chiropractic treatment is estimated to be less than one in 1 million treatments—less than the odds of being struck by lightning—and the adverse effects reported generally stemmed from a pre-existing medical condition.

MYTH #2: Chiropractors are less educated than “real” doctors.

FACT: Chiropractors are considered physicians under federal law. The number of post-graduate education hours required to become a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) are comparable to those needed to become a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). In addition to completing a minimum of 4,200 classroom, laboratory and clinical practice hours, chiropractors must also pass national board examinations and complete requirements for state licensing. Doctors of Chiropractic receive training in most of the basic health care functions performed by primary care physicians, such as examining, diagnosing and treating patients; analyzing results of lab and imaging tests; referring patients to other health care practitioners when appropriate; and counseling patients about preventive care. One major difference between DCs and MDs is that chiropractors do not prescribe medicine.

MYTH #3: If I can get my own back to “crack,” I don’t have to go to a chiropractor.

FACT: While it’s true that one very common chiropractic technique is spinal adjustment, the sole purpose is not to “crack” the spine. Spinal adjustment (also called spinal manipulation) may sometimes result in a popping sound as gases are released, but your back will not always crack during chiropractic treatment, and there are many chiropractic techniques besides spinal adjustment. You definitely do not want to attempt to perform your own spinal adjustment without the benefit of the years of education and training that a licensed chiropractor has. Keep in mind that chiropractors have extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and its biomechanics, and use very precise movements to help restore proper joint function. Getting a nonprofessional or friend to adjust your spine at home is not recommended. Chiropractors often get phone calls from people who need to come in immediately because they are in serious pain after trying to adjust themselves.

MYTH #4: Chiropractors treat only back and neck pain.

FACT: While chiropractors may be best known for treating back and neck pain, their goal is to preserve and restore overall health. Chiropractors are also trained in clinical examination and diagnosis of the entire human body. Chiropractors focus on the relationship between the skeletal structure, muscles and nerves, and how these affect an individual’s health, which goes beyond the backaches and neck aches. Other ailments that have been treated by chiropractors include headaches, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, tennis elbow, TMJ disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, ear pain, vertigo, fibromyalgia and other conditions. Many chiropractors are also trained in overall nutrition, lifestyle recommendations, and fitness goals and training as well—so besides treating painful conditions, chiropractic care can help maintain wellness and keep you on track for a healthy, pain-free life.

MYTH #5: Chiropractic adjustments are painful.

FACT: Chiropractic adjustments typically relieve pain, not cause pain. Some patients experience slight soreness or stiffness after chiropractic treatment, but this usually subsides in a few hours or days and is similar to the soreness felt after certain exercises. Patients may feel some pressure during adjustments to certain joints, but the majority feel relief from pain following the adjustment. If the area being treated has sustained an injury in the past, this could affect how the adjustment feels. However, the amount of soreness felt during an adjustment often decreases with further treatments as the injured area improves.

MYTH #6: Once you start going to a chiropractor, you have to keep going forever.

FACT: A chiropractic treatment plan is designed around each patient’s needs. For example, if you’ve been suffering from a painful condition for many years before seeking chiropractic care, it may be unrealistic to expect to get better in a week or two—but if new symptoms motivate you to see a chiropractor promptly, relief may come much earlier. It’s important to note that chiropractic care is not just for reacting to symptoms, but for prevention and maintenance. Thus, even after recovering from an injury, many people continue to schedule regular chiropractic visits as part of a wellness lifestyle. Similar to why we regularly get dental cleanings or change the oil in our car, chiropractic maintenance care can help keep our body tuned up so it functions at 100%. A body of research has shown that a regimen of chiropractic maintenance with monthly visits for up to 9 months appears to improve the outcomes of chronic back pain patients.

MYTH #7: Chiropractors don’t believe in drugs or surgery.

FACT: Chiropractors believe strongly in natural and alternative healing. However, in their extensive education, chiropractors are trained to make proper referrals to other health care practitioners when drugs and surgery are needed. Chiropractors often work hand in hand with other health care practitioners such as medical doctors, orthopedic surgeons and neurologists.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.

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