Chiropractic Myths


Over the years a number of myths pertaining to chiropractic have been created, mostly by economic competitors and those with differing philosophies.


While the majority of myths have no basis, they do exist and cause some confusion to individuals unfamiliar with chiropractic care. Four of those chiropractic myths are discussed below:

Spinal Adjustments Hurt

Spinal Adjustments Are Dangerous

Chiropractic Doctors Lack Education Compared With Medical Doctors

You'll Have To Continue Chiropractic Care For The Rest Of Your Life 

Spinal Adjustments Hurt (Myth #1)

•Using a gentle adjustment technique helps reduce any associated discomfort.

•Most patients feel instant relief immediately after a treatment.

•Most established patients look forward to their chiropractic treatments.

•With a severe bout of back or neck pain, some discomfort may be experienced since the area is more sensitive than normal when arriving at the doctor's office.

•Gentle techniques used to treat will usually minimize discomfort of severe disorders.

•Current literature shows, if minor discomfort or soreness does increase following an adjustment, it usually fades within a 24 hour period. Afterwards, most patients feel an increase of function and mobility greater than prior to treatment.

Spinal Adjustments Are Dangerous (Myth #2)

•Chiropractic spinal adjustments are extremely safe when performed by chiropractors.

•No health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects & some conditions may not respond to treatment. Severe conditions may need other types of treatment.

•Spinal adjustments performed by health care professionals not specifically trained to perform it can be much less effective and even harmful. Therefore, stick with professionally trained doctors only.

•Clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute low back pain reveals any serious complication from lumbar spinal adjustments are extremely rare.

•Conservative treatments (such as spinal manipulation) should be pursued in most cases before considering and surgical intervention.

•Some medical treatments are safe, and others are unsafe. Corticosteroids can only be used about 3 times before they begin damaging joints. Surgery is an option that should be considered as a last resort in most cases but can be helpful for those who really require it. Some severe conditions may require surgery.

•Chiropractic care is a very conservative form of treatment. However, very advanced degenerative conditions may not respond and may need a referral to another healthcare specialty.

Chiropractic Doctors Lack Education Compared With Medical Doctors (Myth#3)

•The training and education chiropractors go through is extremely demanding, and is similar to that of medical doctors with the exception of pharmacology and surgery.

•It requires 4 years of undergraduate studies prior to admission.

•There is 4+ academic years of studies at a chiropractic college. They have extensive training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, differential diagnosis, chiropractic adjusting techniques, biomechanics, and other health-related studies. Most chiropractic colleges opt for a 13 quarter schedule and less breaks to complete the program in 3.3 years equal to the same 4 academic years of study as medical school.

•Prior to graduation students complete several hundred clinical hours of "real" patient management in a formal clinical setting under professional supervision.

•All students also partake in clinical externship programs which takes place in actual chiropractic offices.

•After graduation, new doctors of chiropractic are required to successfully complete rigorous National and State Board examinations prior to getting their license to treat chiropractic patients.

•After licensing, chiropractors must complete 24 hours of annual continuing education courses to ensure that a high level of competency is maintained.

Subject Hours Comparison Between DC's and MD's

You may be surprised to learn that chiropractic doctors receive more class and study time in many important subjects compared with their medical counterparts.

SUBJECT Class Hours Chiropractic Students Class Hours Medical Students
Anatomy 540 510
Chemistry 165 325
Diagnosis 630 325
Microbiology 120 115
Neurology 320 110
Obstetrics 60 150
Orthopedics 210 155
Pathology 360 400
Physiology 240 325
Psychiatry 60 145
Radiology 360 150



Spinal Manipulation



Advanced Radiology



General Surgery


4,485         4,250

You'll Have To Continue Chiropractic Care For The Rest Of Your Life (Myth #4)

•Many new patients are introduced to chiropractic if they are injured or have chronic problems that don't go away. Others don't want to take drugs for their pain.

•How long a patient needs chiropractic care depends on their condition, their age and multiple factors. Each person is unique. Some conditions stabilize in 1 visit where others may take much longer such as an auto accident injury.

•Periodic spinal care is similar to what dentists recommend to their patients in order to prevent cavities and gum disease with regular check-ups.

•Your spine is the super highway of your nervous system. The spine transfers information to and from your body. It is silly to think visiting a chiropractor only once will ensure a lifelong healthy spine just as visiting a dentist once will ensure freedom of cavities or gum disease for the rest of your life. Wellness care is a process to work on throughout your life.

•Our nervous system undergoes daily bombardment of stresses originating from bad posture, suboptimal work environments, psychological stress, poor nutrition, insufficient rest, hectic lifestyles, and overuse injuries to name a few.

•The preventative approach is gaining recognition in our medical community.

•It is less expensive and easier to stay healthy than to get healthy.

•Patients are given options to continue with chiropractic care if they choose, it's a choice. It's always up to the patient to choose periodic chiropractic care.

•After acute or chronic conditions are stabilized, many chiropractors recommend "wellness" care. Some patients choose wellness care with monthly visits to support their health. Along with periodic dental care, many people choose to have periodic chiropractic care to stay as healthy as they can be.

•How long a patient chooses to benefit with chiropractic care is always up to them.