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Pros and Cons of Chiropractic Care

missypiemissypie Registered User Posts: 18,303 Senior Member
edited November 2007 in Parent Cafe
I have never seen a chiropractor. My parents expressed the opinion that chiropractors "weren't real doctors" and that they could really mess up your back.

My daughter is experiencing a lot of dance related strains and pains. I asked her dance company director if she knew of a doctor who was good with that kind of thing and she recommended a doctor who had once been a professional dancer.

I googled him and it turns out he's a chiropractor.

Does anyone have any personal opinions of chiropractic care? I'm not so prejudiced against them that I wouldn't take my daughter to one if I thought it would help. However, if she had torn a muscle, for example, what help would a chiropractor be?
Post edited by missypie on

Replies to: Pros and Cons of Chiropractic Care

  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Registered User Posts: 21,834 Senior Member
    Many ART (Active Release Technique) practitioners are chiropractors by degree. I really recommend ART for sports-related injuries, and this might be what your daughter needs. I would google ART (they have a website where you can find local practitioners). If you are in the Phila area, I know the most incredible guy- many elite athletes and high school sports kids go to him. There is also a good one here in Nashville.
    What you DON'T want for your daughter is a run of the mill chiro who thinks he can crack her back and all will be fixed.
  • lealdragonlealdragon Registered User Posts: 3,204 Member
    Your parents' opinion was common many years ago, and they might not be aware that chiropractors are now considered just as reputable as any other professional.

    Around 10-15 years ago (not sure of the exact date) chiropractors won a lawsuit proving that their methods are more effective for back and neck injuries than those offered by practitioners of the AMA. Because of this lawsuit, chiropractors were able to push for recognized status as professionals, and coverage from injuries sustained in car accidents.

    As a result of that lawsuit, many health insurance companies now cover chiropractic.

    I sell health insurance and the company I work for, a top-rated company, covers chiropractic, not only for injuries, but for routine maintenance therapy as well. My car insurance company, State Farm, covered chiropractic when I had injuries after a car accident.

    So the view that they are somehow 'not real doctors' is completely obsolete.

    My husband teaches martial arts and he gets a chiropractic adjustment about every 2 weeks, for maintenance.

    I injured my back when I was a child - slipped and fell on my back, and my parents never took me to the doctor. I don't know what got injured, but it was a sharp pain so there was some sort of injury that never got treated. For the next 20 years, I had chronic pain in that particular spot on my back. A chiropractor was able to alleviate that old pain in just a few visits.

    Since then, I get an adjustment whenever I feel 'out.'

    It completely boggles my mind whenever I hear of people having back surgery for chronic back pain, when it could probably be fixed so easily by a chiropractor.

    There is nothing 'weird' about it - the whole principle is perfectly logical if you think about it. Vertebrae being out of alignment can block nerves and blood supply to vital organs, which in turn can cause other symptoms. A mechanical resetting back into alignment makes perfect sense. It's so simple, and so effective.

    I've never heard of ART, but I do know there are sub-categories within chiropractic. So you might find that a chiropractor practices this or that technique of chiropractic. But they all have to be licensed, so as long as the one you choose is licensed, s/he should be able to help your daughter. Some specialize in athletic injuries; sounds like the one referred to you has plenty of experience with the sort of problems your daughter is having, so, since you got a referral from her dance instructor, I'd recommend starting there.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,464 Senior Member
    There can be a big difference in chiros, if I won the lottery, I would try to hire my old one as a live in! I won't even go to another one, after trying a few with less than ideal results on an old neck injury.

    Seems some people really enjoy chiro treatment and others don't understnad the need for it- I see people with looser ligaments, people who crackle & pop naturally, benefiting more than people who are generally "tight" As a dancer, your D may experience some real benefits?
  • lealdragonlealdragon Registered User Posts: 3,204 Member
    Oh I'm one of those tighter people, and I think our type needs chiropractic even more than the 'looser' types. My son can adjust himself on his own just by stretching, but not me, I need some help.

    It's just like with any other practitioner...you know how you might really love your doctor and not want to see anyone else? Well it's the same with chiropractors. My husband and I joke that if our chiropractor ever moves out of state, we will have to move too.

    Here's a little tip: Make sure you are hydrated when you go for your adjustment - as in, drink some WATER, not sodas. Your muscles will respond better.
  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 28,605 Super Moderator
    My d's also a dancer. She had major pain in her neck and shoulder last year, just 2 weeks before her final dance concert. She was in such pain that she couldn't raise her arm, much less dance. We went to the ER; the doc there diagnosed a shoulder strain and told her to take Motrin. Didn't help.

    Her studio owner suggested chiropractic. I had also never used a chiropractor; I was skeptical, but she needed help FAST. The chiropractor in our town is a former dancer as well, and he understood the need for immediate help. He made room in his schedule for her. He diagnosed a neck misalignment. After the first treatment, she could rehearse more comfortably. By the third treatment, she was pain-free, and she danced in the concert full-out (6 performances) without pain or pain killers. (He also noticed that she was holding her hips so that one leg was shorter than the other - he straightened that out too!)

    I'm a big believer in chiropractic for dancers now!
  • WestcoastmonWestcoastmon Registered User Posts: 415 Junior Member
    There is also the NUCCA technique - another type of chiropractic technique. I have found NUCCA plus ART (Active Release Technique - used by both massage thereapists and chiropractors) to be very effective.

    Google or use whatever search engine you choose to find more information on NUCCA and ART.

    Also, take a look at this thread:


    Another teen with pain after a ballet lesson. I think the OP ended up finding an ART practioner.

    Another option - look for a good sports medicine clinic in your area - lots of teens do sports, dance, drill team, etc. and there has to be someone in your area experienced in treating these types of injuries.

    Do you trust the company dance director? I don't think the director would recommend someone to treat a dancer in their company who didn't have a good track record.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,464 Senior Member
    One more thought on chiro- many people who are critical of it say that it will not "fix" the problem, that it is a scam because you are asked to come abck repeatedly.

    You have to view chiro care as palliative care, it is something that helps your quality of life and helps you feel better while whatever is wrong may still need to be addressed. For example a person prone to headaches will not necessarily be cured by chiro, but may find that they can enjoy each day more with some chiro, but still may have to deal with chronic headaches.
  • lealdragonlealdragon Registered User Posts: 3,204 Member
    Respectfully, somemom, I disagree. Chiropractic often gets to the root of the issue, which in many cases is mechanical. While it is true that there may be other health problems that need to be addressed, and chiropractic certainly does not claim to fix everything or be a replacement for comprehensive health care, in the case of muscles aches and pains, it is the muscle-relaxers commonly prescribed that, imo, are doing nothing to get at the root of the problem. And, to prescribe expensive, invasive back surgery when a few visits to a chiropractor could have alleviated the problem, is just criminal.

    This is not to say that back surgery is never necessary, but many of those cases could have been fixed with chiropractic.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,464 Senior Member
    I think we agree Leal, just in some cases nothing can "cure" the underlying condition, but some things can make you feel better. I have some experience with chronic pain and chronic pain suffers- some traditional docs want to operate and judge the operation a success because what they wanted to do, they did & the patient lived, but the pain remains or worsens, so their version of "successful" may be different than a chronic pain sufferer. I have a friend addicted to heavy narcotics and now unable to work after an adult sports injury at age 50. The surgery was technically termed a success, but it messed up her life, she now lives in a narcotic haze- the surgery was not a good fix and I would avoid spinal surgery at all costs, exhausting every possible alternative before even considering surgery!

    Many anti-chiro people complain one is not cured, but they do not respect the benefit of feeling better, even if it is not forever ;) What I am trying to address is the attitude of some friends & family who poopoo chiro because it makes me feel better but cannot rebuild my neck- it cannot undo the damage, but it can help it not worsen.

    It is very true a combo of physiotherapy and/or chiro can fix some problems, or perhaps more importantly, diagnose an underlying problem area which one must address. No arguement there, but if that does not happen, that does not mean it is a failure or a scam, it means it may still help you enjoy life, but not make you "all better forever" ;)

    My athlete sees a chiro, a physio, and a masseuse to address the way she works her body.
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    I would love to see a scientific study that shows any benefit to chiropractic care. I've tried to find them, but can't.

    I know many people who use chiropractors for themselves and for their dogs, and in many cases, I see that the visits come closer and closer together, until they are going twice and three times a week... at enormous expense.
  • lealdragonlealdragon Registered User Posts: 3,204 Member
    somemom: Thanks for the clarification. I guess it really just depends on the nature of the problem. I would never claim chiropractic can fix everything. Some problems are complex and require a combination of treatments. I just don't like to see outdated prejudices against chiropractic. If insurance companies cover chiropractic, you can be sure it must be effective, or it wouldn't be covered. (Incidentally, some insurance companies now cover acupuncture, as well.) I would like to see less prejudice and more acceptance of therapies once considered 'alternative' so that people know what their options are, instead of assuming that they have ONLY the option of drugs and surgery.

    dmd: You might research the lawsuit I spoke of. Also, it's important to keep in mind that most studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies, and clearly they would have nothing to gain by proving the effectiveness of a methodology that does contribute to their profit.

    I'm surprised to hear that you know 'many' people who've spent a fortune increasing the frequency of their chiropractic visits. My hubby & I have seen chiropractors for 25 years, and he has referred many of his (martial arts) students to chiropractors, and always the pattern is the same: a higher frequency (perhaps 3x/week) at first, then DECREASING in frequency, until it's only maintenance (perhaps once a month or less). I've never heard of any chiropractor suggesting an increased frequency schedule. That makes no sense at all.

    I'd also compare the price of chiropractic to drugs and surgery. Chiropractic wins, hands down.
  • 99cents99cents Registered User Posts: 1,088 Senior Member
    I've always thought Chiropractic treatment as a non-effective treatment until I broke my leg and my acupuncture suggested seeing a chiropractor to help unleash a mechanincal problem. It seemed to help. More recently, I had some pain in both my arms, my doctor said it could Carpal tunnel syndrome. But I knew better, I knew it's not Carpa tunnel syndrome. I visited a really good chiropractor and he did something and the pain went away. I don't crack as popcorn anymore. So I do beleive in Chiropractic care now.
  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 28,605 Super Moderator
    My d required one additional treatment following her 6 performances. She has not seen a chiropractor since then (about 6 months), and is still pain free. So I don't know about the "seeing again and again".
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 52,271 Senior Member
    I have unfortunately seen patients who stroked out after chiropractic manipulation http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/chirostroke.html
    I've also seen ads from chiropractors who claim that they can cure ADHD and cancer.Puleeze. One attorney friend told me a client was suspended upside down in a doorway (by a chiropractor) as a treatment for CA. I am glad that soem of you have had good experiences, but I am not yet convinced. Sorry. Please dont flame me- just sharing other experiences.
  • lealdragonlealdragon Registered User Posts: 3,204 Member
    No respectable chiropractor would claim to cure ADHD or cancer with chiropractic alone. However, some chiropractors also practice alternative medicine, utilizing other modalities such as herbs and homeopathy, which they may incorporate into their treatment protocol. There have been many, MANY reported cases in which people claim to have been healed by alternative modalities. The allopathic industry considers these to be anecdotal, because they do not fit into the allopathic disease paradigm.

    Well, if you're going to bring up the very highly biased quackwatch, then it's only fair to show the other side:



    and, excerpted from http://www.herbdatanz.com/death_by_meds.htm
    ©DEATH BY MEDICINE October 2003
    Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND,
    Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD,
    Dorothy Smith PhD.

    A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. (1) Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million.

    Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.

    (2, 2a) The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. (3) The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. (4) The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251. (5)

    TABLES AND FIGURES (see Section on Statistical Tables and Figures, below, for exposition)

    another excerpt from the same site, after the table of figures:
    Multiplied by the fatality rate of 14% (that Leape used in 1994 (16)) we arrive at an annual death rate of 420,000 for drug errors and medical errors combined. If we put this number in place of Lazorou’s 106,000 drug errors and the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 98,000 medical errors, we could add another 216,000 deaths making a total of 999,936 deaths annually.

    and, this about an article in JAMA:
    The author is Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and she desribes how the US health care system may contribute to poor health.


    * 12,000 -- unnecessary surgery
    * 7,000 -- medication errors in hospitals
    * 20,000 -- other errors in hospitals
    * 80,000 -- infections in hospitals
    * 106,000 -- non-error, negative effects of drugs

    These total to 225,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes!!
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