What’s the truth about chiropractors? Myths

What’s the truth about chiropractors? Myths

Chiropractors attend health colleges at the graduate level to treat bone, nerve, muscle and ligament disorders. They graduate as chiropractic doctors but are not physicians.

Though chiropractors are commonly known to treat back and neck pain, bone and soft tissue disorders are also treated as well.

We discuss myths and truths of chiropractical treatment in this article. We also explain the preparation that is done by chiropractors, how effective these procedures can be and the science behind the practice.

What certifications must chiropractors have?

A chiropractor’s work involves making adjustments to reduce back pain.
A chiropractor’s work involves making adjustments to reduce back pain.

A common fallacy is that chiropractors don’t receive extensive training.

Indeed, they usually complete about eight years of higher education before being approved.

Chiropractors appear to get an undergraduate degree of 4 years.

Typically they graduate with a pre-med major after taking science classes, such as biology, chemistry, psychology, and physics.

They then attend a graduate program in Chiropractic. On average, these include 4 years of schooling in course credits, with a total of 4,200 instructional hours.

Chiropractic program specifics

A chiropractic graduate program is typically divided by year, that included:

  • First year: Courses in general anatomy, chiropractic principles, biochemistry, spinal anatomy.
  • Second year: Courses in chiropractic procedures, pathology, clinical orthopedics, imaging interpretation, and research methods.
  • Third year: Courses in clinical internships, integrated chiropractic, pediatrics, dermatology, practice management, and ethics and jurisprudence.
  • Fourth year: A clinical internship, in which a student studies under a chiropractor and completes rotations in a hospital or veterans’ clinic.

Other studies often go along with those listed above.

An aspiring chiropractor in the United States can sit for their state licensing board after completing the educational and training criteria. When they have received the board ‘s license and qualification they will become a chiropractic practitioner.

In a wide range of specialties, chiropractors also undergo further training and certification, including nutrition, sports medicine, acupuncture, and rehabilitation.

The average chiropractic program involves as many classroom hours as a program which trains medical doctors, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Are chiropractors legitimate?

Another common myth is that a chiropractor merely cracks a person ‘s back or bones.

Chiropractic treatment is based on manipulation of the spinal cord. But clinicians are now researching how the spine and its functions contribute to the function of the body.

What do chiropractors attempt to heal?

Back pain in ladies
Chiropractors attempt to heal whiplash-related conditions.

A majority of a chiropractor’s work involves making adjustments to heal:

  • lower back pain
  • whiplash-related conditions
  • neck pain

They can also provide services such as postural testing and examination, and other services designed to encourage nutrition and healthy exercise.

Does it work?

Chiropractic treatment is the form most widely used for back pain, according to the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. An approximate 74 percent of Americans with discomfort in this area at some stage in their recovery have used chiropractic care.

Results of a 2010 study cited by the center indicate that spinal manipulation could be useful in the treatment of back pain, migraine headaches, whiplash and other disorders affecting the upper and lower extremities.

Chiropractic care, like other types of treatment, won’t help all accidents. Sessions should be customized to the needs of an individual, and conducted by a licensed chiropractor.

Who could benefit?

Several myths surround this question. One myth is that the chiropractors are treating back pain only. Chiropractic treatment can potentially also help relieve foot, elbow, shoulder and neck pain.

The same study cited by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health concluded that care with chiropractic is not effective in the treatment of:

Review authors failed to find definitive evidence that musculoskeletal problems such as fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint disorders and mid-back pain were treated with chiropractic care.

Often, chiropractors don’t handle serious injuries, including bone fractures. Typically a chiropractor may do an X-ray to ensure that a painful injury does not get worse in the treatment.

Science supporting chiropractic treatment

Studies suggest that chiropractic methods are viable options for managing pain.
Studies suggest that chiropractic methods are viable options for managing pain.

A 2018 study covered 17 years of research involving manipulation of the spinal cord and mobilization, a more passive method of manipulation.

The research explored the impact of these therapies on chronic lower back pain and the authors concluded that the chiropractic approaches were “viable” pain relief options.

A 2017 review looked at the efficacy of spinal manipulation in treating lower back pain.

The authors concluded that up to 6 weeks of therapy increased both function and pain.

The American College of Physicians encourages use of a number of non-pharmacological therapies for people with lower back pain, including spinal manipulation.

Researchers generally accept that there is a need for further research to establish the optimal duration and frequency of chiropractic sessions and identify what conditions may benefit from particular treatments.

Is it safe?
Health is one of the most frequent points of controversy over chiropractic treatments.

An individual may suffer side effects from stimulation of the spinal cord including:

There have been occasional reports of long-term danger related to chiropractic care.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that serious complications can involve worsening pain and cauda equina syndrome in the lower spinal cord involving nerve damage.

Most pain and soreness subsides within 24 hours of stimulation of the spinal cord, the American Chiropractic Association reports.

The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that performing chiropractic manipulation is dangerous for people with some health conditions. These conditions include:

  • bone disease and infections
  • broken bones
  • inflamed joints, such as in cases of rheumatoid arthritis
  • some circulation problems
  • infections of the nervous system


An aspiring chiropractor should spend thousands of hours studying before obtaining a license. In 2016, according to the country’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 47,400 chiropractors worked in the US.

Chiropractic treatment is both drug-free and non-invasive, and can resolve certain musculoskeletal concerns. While not everyone profits from this type of alternative medicine, it is usually considered safe for most people.