Chiropractic therapy is an interesting approach to holistic healthcare. Chiropractors are a diverse group of caregivers who vary greatly in their practices and ideologies. Most chiropractors are very knowledgeable scholars of anatomy and bodily functionality. Some are truly gifted healers who seem to have a useful and effective solution to many possible health concerns. Others unfortunately, are misdirected brainwashed robots practicing an art closer to magic or illusion than any legitimate complementary medical science.
Remember that chiropractors are not all equal in their skills or experience. Some are fantastic, while others are horrific. Always consider that sometimes it may be the care provider, rather than the therapy itself, which may succeed or fail the patient.
What is Chiropractic Therapy?
Chiropractic is the art and science of aligning the spine to facilitate proper nerve function in the body. Nerve signals are electrical in nature and need to have open conduits in order to move freely throughout the anatomy. Life stresses and activities often create nerve blockages in the form of vertebral subluxations, which need to be corrected to maintain optimal nerve function. This is an extremely over simplified definition to be sure, but it is one of the few common ideals shared by most chiropractors.
In addition, many individual chiropractors practice other healing arts, such as dietary counseling, acupressure, massage, acupuncture, reiki and many others. For additional information on any of these complementary healing arts, please see our back pain treatment section.
In theory, most chiropractors shy away from surgical and pharmaceutical methods of care, which is a welcome change for many back pain sufferers. However, this does not mean that the treatment provided will be any more effective and in very rare cases, may be just as risky.
During my back pain ordeal, my preferred health provider was always a chiropractor. I seemed to get along much better with their holistic approach than with the pharmaceutical obsession displayed by most medical doctors with whom I consulted. I feel I am well qualified to discuss chiropractors, since I have been treated by dozens of them over the years, in countries all over the world. I also have the benefit of holding several as my dear friends and consultants on this very website.
I believe chiropractors to be a useful tool in the fight against back pain, but I do have a few severe criticisms:
First, chiropractic is an ongoing treatment which must be maintained for life in order to provide maximum benefit. This is surely a great economic boon to include within the chiropractic creed (and sales pitch).
Second, many chiropractors over generalize their treatments in a cookie cutter approach. “Rack ‘Em and Crack ‘Em” is the old joke and unfortunately describes the very method used by far too many of these professionals. Don’t feel bad though, chiropractors, this is a big problem throughout the back pain industry and medical doctors are just as guilty of the practice.
Finally, chiropractic is more than slightly competitive with traditional medicine and many chiropractors step beyond their normal roles as caregivers to attempt treatments for conditions for which they have limited training. I have personally witnessed the resulting injuries on several patients who were treated with some new chiropractic approach for a condition which was never meant to be corrected through manual adjustments. I have also suffered direct injury at the hands of more than one chiropractor.
No offense, chiropractors, I love you guys and gals, but I have to tell it like it is.
My Experience with Chiropractic Therapy
The first doctor I ever consulted for my bad back was a chiropractor. As previously mentioned, I went on to see dozens more during the 18 years of unbelievable torture I endured with chronic and acute back pain.
Some chiropractors were terrible, some were fantastic, most were somewhere in between… and one in particular was hilariously wacky and most likely certifiably insane! I would be shocked if this guy ever went to chiropractic school at all. He was so far out there, I would be surprised if he graduated from elementary school. Nevertheless, he is a practicing and licensed care provider, which still scares me just thinking about it.
I have learned much from my chiropractor friends and students. Chiropractors make great martial artists who can use their anatomical knowledge to great advantage and proficiency in the fighting sciences. I have been blessed to have so many of these people in my life.
Regardless of my personal feelings towards these kind souls, I can honestly say that I endured chiropractic therapy for 18 years for nothing.
Now, when I use the term “for nothing”, do not be fooled into thinking I am referring to “for free”. I paid for all my treatments out of my own pocket, which must have cost me tens of thousands of dollars and maybe more. I mean simply that I never received any real relief for my pain from a chiropractor. I did enjoy a psychological placebo effect of treatment which kept me coming back again and again and again and…
Well, I finally stopped cold turkey when I was fairly confident that my pain was not getting any better at all. It was one of the most difficult and scary things I ever had to do, after depending on the treatments for my entire adult life. Once the fear let up, I knew I was on my way to finally ending my back pain.
I was able to completely cure myself, which was a task all my chiropractors failed to do. I do not hold it against them, for they were not trained to deal with psychosomatic back pain. This is precisely the point of this long-winded article.
Chiropractic therapy is a valuable part of a complementary care program for some types of structurally-enacted back pain. Remember that many long-term chronic pain conditions are of mindbody origin, just like mine.
If you have unresolved back pain, there is a good chance that your symptoms may not be purely physical, as well. Keep this thought in mind as you consider chiropractic therapy as one of your prospective treatment options.
I am no longer dependent on any form of treatment, chiropractic therapy or otherwise. I am happy for small blessings at this stage of life.