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Misconceptions and Facts About Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractor working with patient in clinic, closeup

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

Related: Modern Chiropractic – Why does virtually every professional sports team have a chiropractor and why are chiropractors in over 100 hospitals?

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 a 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 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 a 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 keep their spine healthy and prevent back pain episodes.

Massage for Back Pain

woman at a massage clinic getting a therapeutic massage

Back pain is one of the most common medical ailments affecting adults.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, about 31 million people in the United States have back pain at any given time.

Although pain can develop anywhere in the back, low back pain occurs most frequently. Symptoms of back pain can range from mild to debilitating. Pain may develop suddenly after an injury or develop gradually due to wear and tear.

In some cases, back pain is chronic, which means it is ongoing. Long-lasting back pain can affect all areas of a person’s life including employment. Back pain can lead to increased absences from work and decreased productivity.

Common Causes of Back Pain

Many different factors can cause back pain. Something as simple as picking up a heavy object in the wrong way can lead to back pain. The most common causes of back pain include:

Muscle strain: Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of back pain. Poor posture or awkward lifting can place added stress on the ligaments or muscles in the back, which leads to discomfort.

Bulging discs: The discs in your back act like a cushion or shock absorber for each joint segment in the back. The material inside a disk can leak out and press on the nerves in the back.

Arthritis: Arthritis can lead to painful joints, such as the knees, fingers, and hips. It can also lead to lower back pain due to narrowing of the space around the spinal cord.

Skeletal abnormalities: Skeletal abnormalities can be present since birth or develop later in life. If the spine is irregular, added pressure may be placed on the muscles, ligaments, or nerves.

Trauma: Back pain can also occur as a result of injury to the spine or the back muscles.

Complications of Back Pain

Back pain, especially if chronic, can cause complications. If left untreated, problems with the lower back may lead to pain in other areas of the body. For instance, if your lower back hurts, it may change how you move or walk, which can lead to hip or leg pain.

In some cases, back pain can force you to decrease your activity level. Leisure activities, hobbies, and exercise may be reduced, which can have a negative effect on your quality of life.

Any chronic pain can cause emotional issues. People with chronic pain can develop depression and anxiety. Frustration can also develop if it’s difficult to get the pain under control.

Treatment for back pain may include cortisone injections, surgery, and medications. In some instances, narcotic pain meds are prescribed, which can lead to dependency, causing a whole new set of problems.

Types of Massage Most Effective for Back Pain

Depending on the severity of the pain and the underlying cause, massage therapy can be useful in decreasing back pain. Massage treatment may ease spasms, muscle tension, and stiffness. The most effective type of massage technique may depend on the cause of back pain. The following types of massage may be useful in treating back pain:

Deep tissue massage: Deep tissue massage involves applying direct pressure to the muscles and connective tissue. Manipulation of both the top layer and deeper layers of the muscles is included. Deep tissue massage may be most effective for back pain due to a muscle strain. Because it involves direct and firm pressure, it may not be comfortable for people with arthritis in their spine.

Myofascial release: Myofascial release involves manipulation of the fascia, which is the connective tissue surrounding the muscles. The fascia supports the muscles. Myofascial release involves massaging and stretching the fascia, which may decrease pain and tension.

Swedish massage: Swedish massage involves combining deep pressure in one direction with light manipulation in the other to promote relaxation of the muscle. It can reduce stiffness and soreness in the muscles of the back. It may also be helpful to decrease inflammation and improve circulation in back muscles.

Quadratus lumborum muscle massage: The quadratus lumborum muscle connects the pelvis to the last rib. It plays a role in pelvic stability and keeping your spine in correct alignment. The muscle can become irritated, which is a common cause of lower back pain. Massage and stretching of the muscle can decrease tension and reduce back pain.


If you have chronic back pain, it’s helpful to see your doctor or back pain specialist to determine the underlying cause. Massage therapy for back pain is usually safe for most people, but there may be instances when it is not recommended.

It’s also essential to talk to your massage therapist and provide an explanation of your symptoms. Your therapist may recommend certain types of massage depending on the severity of your pain. Be sure to also mention additional symptoms, such as numbness or tingling.

Massage can be helpful in decreasing back pain. But it’s important to remember; it’s only one part of an overall plan to keep your back healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise including core work, along with proper lifting and posture are also vital to keep your back strong and pain-free.

Naturopathic Medicine for Cold and Flu Season

Naturopathic Medicine for Cold and Flu Season

When you have a cold or flu, you know how miserable it can make you feel. Typical flu symptoms include aches and pains, fever, and fatigue. A cold may cause nasal congestion, coughing, and a sore throat.


How to Tell the Difference Between a Cold and Flu

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and the flu as symptoms may overlap. For example, both colds and the flu may cause muscle aches, headache, and fatigue. But there are some differences.

Usually, a cold can occur gradually over the course of a few days while the flu has a more sudden and abrupt onset accompanied by more severe symptoms found with the common cold. The duration of the illness also varies. Cold symptoms may last about a week, whereas, certain flu symptoms, such as fatigue, can persist for up to two weeks.

Traditional Cold and Flu Treatments and Side Effects

Whether you have a cold or flu, you want quick relief. Since both infections are caused by a virus, they are not treated with antibiotics. If it’s confirmed you have the flu, antiviral medication may help decrease the duration of the flu. But antiviral meds can cause side effects including nausea, diarrhea, and headache.

When it comes to the common cold, treatment options include decongestants and over-the-counter pain reducers. But they too can have undesirable side effects, such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, and headache.

Naturopathic Medicine and Remedies for Cold and Flu

Fortunately, you have other options to treat common symptoms of a cold and flu. Natural healing remedies has been used for hundreds of years to treat everything from pain to chest congestion, which can be helpful in providing relief for cold and flu symptoms.

Natural healing remedies used by naturopathic practitioners can include herbs, vitamins, and minerals along with botanical medicine. These can be beneficial for a cold or the flu in several ways. For instance, natural remedies may soothe irritated nasal passages that can occur with a cold. Naturopathic medicine may also relax the muscles of the upper airway to decrease cough. Certain vitamins and minerals may play a role in boosting the immune system to fight infections that cause colds and the flu.

RELATED: Traditional Chinese Medicine Principles for Preventing Common Cold and Flu

Treating Symptoms

Symptoms of a cold or flu can last for several days or longer. The severity of symptoms can also vary. Several naturopathic remedies can treat the following symptoms:


Nasal and chest congestion are common symptoms of a cold. A clogged nose can make you miserable and may last several days. Naturopathic remedies may help ease symptoms. Consider the following:

Cinnamon: Cinnamon can be helpful to decrease congestion and help you breathe easier. It also has antibacterial properties, which may help prevent secondary bacterial infections. Try adding ground cinnamon to hot tea the next time you have a cold.

Eucalyptus: To alleviate congestion naturally, consider using eucalyptus. Eucalyptus oil is often an ingredient in chest rubs for colds. Place a few drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water and breathe in the stream to open your nasal passages.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is a common symptom that accompanies the cold or flu. A sore throat can also be a sign of something more serious including strep throat. So, if symptoms persist or are accompanied by a fever, see your healthcare practitioner. The following remedies may decrease sore throat pain:

  • Marshmallow: To ease the discomfort naturally, try marshmallow, which may decrease inflamed mucous membranes. Before you eat a bag of marshmallows, drinking marshmallow root tea is more effective for a sore throat.
  • Slippery elm bark: Slippery elm bark powder can be an effective treatment for a sore throat. Mix a tablespoon of powder with a tablespoon of honey to ease throat pain.

Cold and flu symptoms often include a cough. Coughing can not only be annoying, it can also prevent you from getting to sleep. The following natural remedies may help:

  • Plantain Leaf: Studies have indicated that plantain leaf may be helpful to treat a cough. For example, clinical trial in Bulgaria showed the plantain leaf may decrease coughing due to chronic bronchitis. German Commission E (the German equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration) approved the internal use of plantain leaves to ease coughs.
  • Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle is an anti-inflammatory and can decrease irritation and coughing. It may also reduce a sore throat. Try brewing a tea with honeysuckle at the first signs of a cough.
Antiviral Botanicals

Antiviral botanicals are herbs used to treat viral infections. Certain herbs may have anti-viral properties that decrease symptoms or the duration of an illness. Consider the following:

  • Elderberry: Elderberry may contain properties that decrease viral activity and prevent it from entering the cells and reproducing. It also contains vitamins A and C, which may give a boost to the immune system to help you fight infection.
  • Echinacea: Echinacea contains polysaccharides, which may improve the body’s ability to fight infection.