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Fact or Fiction

I’m a chiropractor. Ergo, I’m going to think and behave just like the other chiropractors you know. Wrong. Pure fiction. Just because I share a professional degree with thousands of chiropractors around the world, past and present, does not mean that we all practice, think, and behave the same way. I have been practicing for 16 years so far and the way I think and practice has already changed for the better in my career. And, by “better”, I mean I am a more efficient and effective chiropractor at helping you heal, rehabilitate and lead well lives. How did I do this, and why don’t others do like I do? I am a more efficient and effective chiropractor by letting the science of my profession (physical rehabilitation) lead me to more efficient and effective techniques. And, others do this too. I am a member of The Evidence-Based Chiropractic Network on Facebook. This private, 11,000+ international member group, has received word-wide recognition for helping evidence-informed chiropractors share their knowledge, research, and to discuss the science of physical rehabilitation.

Fact: Chiropractors are regulated health care practitioners in Ontario, Canada, and in most countries of the world. Like other health care providers, we are limited to certain types of health complaints. And, we do have a limited scope of practice to ensure we do not try to solve all health problems with our limited tool kit. For example, antibiotics is the proven method to treat bacterial infections. So, I will not claim to treat an infection using my chiropractic skills, other than my skill of referring to the correct health care providers when necessary.

Fiction: Chiropractors just crack backs.

Fact: Spinal manipulation is a health care procedure mastered by chiropractors, world wide. Spinal manipulation (SMT) is a scientifically proven method for treating various spine-related musculoskeletal complaints, including the obvious examples: neck and back pain, sciatica, headaches.

Fiction: All chiropractic patients receive spinal manipulation

Fact: Spinal manipulation is but one tool in my tool belt. Functional Release (FR) is a myofascial soft tissue technique that I use a lot. It is non-invasive, tolerated well, and is a very effective manual therapy technique. Joint mobilizations are a slower joint movement technique that is also a proven method for rehabilitating musculoskeletal complaints. I also incorporate Cold Laser Therapy and exercise advice in many of my patients’ treatment plans.

Fiction: Spinal manipulation “clears” spinal ‘subluxations’ allowing for proper nerve flow and optimizing human function.

Fact: ‘Subluxations’ are a make-believe term used by some chiropractors, including many chiropractors from the past, to describe the “problem areas” of their patient’s spines requiring spinal manipulation. ‘Subluxations’ are cited as the reason for pain, dysfunction, and a variety of human conditions that don’t seem related to musculoskeletal problems at all (eg. ear infections). ‘Subluxations’ do not exist. I do not treat what does not exist. Chiropractors that still use the term ‘subluxation’ believe it exists to the extent that they use this term as a means to justify a high volume of treatment visits. ‘Subluxations’ is more relevant to the practitioner’s bank account than it is to your health. I treat the human being in my office. If there are “problem areas” of your spine, I will explain to you what and why these areas exist. Predominantly, poor movement of spinal joints are the “problem areas”. Restoring motion to these poorly moving joints is the art of spinal manipulation and mobilization. The treatment does not “clear” ‘subluxations’. The treatment provides movement where it is sorely needed. Then, the prescriptive exercises are carefully selected to teach your body how to keep those “problem areas” moving well so that you, the human, move well and feel better.

Apology: In a recent blog on my parent-clinic’s website (LiveWell’s webiste), the blogger claimed that chiropractors use spinal manipulation to treat ‘subluxations’, thereby removing nerve interference, leading to an improved immune system. I do not do this, nor claim to be able to do this. I apologize for letting this falsehood add to the fiction of my profession on the internet. If my treatments, including spinal manipulation, have any affect on your immune system, perhaps the reasons are due to the addition of exercise to your routine, or the laughter I provide you with my witty banter, or because of the calm I provide you with my reassurance that your aches and pains will resolve. Or, perhaps your immune system improves with the gradual improvement of your overall condition. Or, perhaps the power of touch has struck again! Bottom line, ‘subluxations’ are not real, and are thus not correlated with health conditions.

Promise: I will always be your trusted voice in the crazy world of musculoskeletal medicine.

Got a question? Email me.

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