Over 4.5 million Canadians see a chiropractor every year. From head aches to digestive problems, chiropractic treatments help much more than back pain. People are still hesitant to visit one themselves, often due to myths surrounding the practice.
Chiropractors use something called adjustments on patients. These are precise physical manipulations of the spine and other joints in the body. These adjustments restore movement to areas worked upon and allow for the body function properly. Adjustments are often audible and make cracking noises.
Being adjusted was one hesitation that made Patricia Hunter wary of seeking out chiropractic treatment.
“I come from a family where everything is medical- my mom is a nurse. Nobody in my family had chiropractic in their health care regime. It was the unknown, and it was a little daunting.”
She also notes that hearing misconceptions fueled her skepticism. It wasn’t until a close friend who had seen a chiropractor suggest that she see one.
“It has definitely had a great impact on my life. Absolutely.”
Dr. Shawn Martin has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. He works out of his clinic, Martin Wellness.
Dr. Martin says that chiropractic is much deeper than realignment of bones.
“The entire central nervous system in encased in the skull- the brain, as well the spinal cord which is encased in the spine. So if the spine is the house of the nervous system, and the nervous system is in control of everything, we think it makes sense to take good care of the house.”
Dr. Martin sees the cloud of myths that surrounds chiropractic.
He says the distance from mass-medical institutions ultimately deny people from the care they need.
“That’s why I’m so passionate about chiropractic. There are so many misconceptions.”
He addressed a few popular misconceptions about his practice:
- Seeing a chiropractor is not a lifelong commitment, but an addition to healthy habits
- Chiropractors have the lowest malpractice rates
- Treatments are not limited to back pain, and can help with other issues including digestive problems
Dr. Martin doesn’t wholly agree with the alternative therapy label only because, “there’s nothing alternative to it.”
He uses the example of seeing a dental hygienist. You visit the dentist’s office to maintain the health of your gums and mouth. Visiting a chiropractor is to maintain your spinal hygiene. You can live foregoing the check-up, but it won’t be functioning at its best.