“22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually” Says WebMD.
Based on a US population of about 331 million, that’s roughly 7% of the US population. 35% of individuals seeing a chiropractor seek care for back pain, which means 14 million Americans see chiropractors for more than just back pain.
Since Chiropractic care optimizes nervous system function, chiropractors can treat a wide variety of conditions. Patients helped range from those with knee pain, to heartburn, to ADHD, and cyclic vomiting syndrome. Chiropractic education focuses on nutrition, botanical herbs, rehabilitation, psychology, and even acupuncture. Each patient is seen holistically in what is called “The Triad of Health.” The foundation of the triad is biomechanical-We want the joints to move properly. Another side of the triad is chemical/nutritional-We want to eliminate toxins and provide proper nutrition. The third side is mental/emotional; We want to relieve stress and allow healing to occur.
So why don’t the other 309 million Americans see us? Perhaps they wonder if we’re safe?
While NOTHING is free from risk, death caused by chiropractic manipulations is very rare. A RAND study states that the rate of serious complications caused by chiropractic adjustments are one in one million. (26 TOTAL recorded deaths) For comparison, daily aspirin use is responsible for 3,000 deaths/year. Chiropractic care is INCREDIBLY SAFE! One could easily argue it is safer than conventional therapies. (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/04/upshot/the-right-to-know-that-an-operation-is-next-to-useless.html)
Perhaps they wonder if we’re effective?
According to researchers, there is no better clinical study than the randomized, double blind, clinical trial…. (aka Randomized Control Trials).
Unfortunately, That model doesn’t work for conservative modalities. How, does a provider “fake” a service like Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT), let alone remain “blind”? The same could be said for acupuncturists, physical therapists, and massage therapists. Location of treatment is a HUGE factor determining success-or is the spinal level/acupuncture point chosen randomly? How is that determined relative to the “disease” being studied? Many factors depend on the body type of the doctor and the patient, too. Force differs and skill lies in leverage, speed, and knowledge-not to mention experience. No two doctors are the same and to try and categorize a blanket statement about spinal manipulative treatment (SMT) is, in my humble opinion, inherently flawed using RCTs. Treating as a clinician is more an art of prioritizing desired outcomes, than a science of applying the perfect recipe repeatedly like a drug trial.
Empirical knowledge, or knowledge gained through personal experience, is the most reliable. So what is the best method of finding a doctor? (chiropractor or otherwise) What is their philosophy of treating patients? What is their fee schedule? How much time do they spend with you? Are you a person or just another appointment in their practice? Beware of scare tactics and exorbitant treatment “packages.”
A good doctor will offer you a diagnosis, an idea of how they intend to treat the issue, how long it will take, and how much it may cost. A good doctor educates and charges reasonable fees. An excellent doctor doesn’t do the exact same treatment more than a few times before checking for results.
Great doctors strive toward excellence, so if the same problem is encountered on repeated visits, a re-examination should occur because either the diagnosis needs refinement, or the patient is non-compliant and needs education. Great doctors are not hesitant to release noncompliant patients.