The place to find holistic information about your health

Rethinking Chiropractics: How To Choose A Good Chiropractor

Joe Rogan, I heart you but come on man! What’s up with the scathing rant about chiropractor on your podcast? And SciBabe tearing the profession down in the most unintelligent, can barely make a sentence way, it just break my heart. But you did it! You got people talking, slinging claims on both sides of the fence.

What it comes down to is this: There is a layer of skepticism that cloaks chiropractic in the medical community. And that trickles down to the community in general. But, while it’s always been there, I don’t think it always will be. The truth is, there’s a major shift happening. Chiropractic is gaining credibility more and more, and even medical doctors are beginning to refer their patients for spinal manipulation, physical rehabilitation, and looking at the body head to toe to find the root cause. Yes, you read that correctly. Medical doctors are now referring their patients to chiropractors. And it’s about time!

Two in three people will likely experience significant low back pain at some point in their lives. And because most back pain resolves over time, therapies aimed at symptom relief and allowing the body to heal naturally are ideal. Less traditional approaches, like the nonpharmacological practices of physical therapy and chiropractic have proven quite effective and, in many cases, safer than medication.

Physicians are now beginning to understand what chiropractic patients have known for years. Spinal manipulation works. In a large survey of patients from 2002 through 2008 found that more than 30% of them sought chiropractic care. That’s a lot of people lining up time and again for something that “doesn’t work” according to Rogan.

For decades, there was little research done on chiropractic, and what little research was available was shoddy at best, making the results pretty grim. Recently though, we’ve been seeing an upswing in higher-quality studies, which means a pretty good accumulation of data.

In 15 randomized controlled trials, which included more than 1,700 patients, spinal manipulation improved pain by about 10 points on a 100-point scale. And, the results from 12 randomized controlled trials of almost 1,400 patients, showed that spinal manipulation also resulted in improved function.

Not too shabby.

And not long ago, the American College of Physicians released new clinical practice guidelines for the noninvasive treatment of subacute back pain. As first-line therapies, they recommend patients try heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation.

So yeah, things are changing.

This doesn’t mean though, that all chiropractors are created equally. Case in point—Joe Rogan. So be sure to do your research. Don’t eeny meeny miny moe your way to a chiropractic office, or you’re just asking for trouble. Here are our solid pointers for what to look for in a chiropractor:

  1. Did they graduate from a chiropractic school that roots itself in medical diagnosing and less on the spectrum of “chiropractic philosophy? ” What does that mean? Some schools teach for four years everyone needs a spinal adjustment to cure everything from a snake bit to cancer. These chiropractors throw around the word subluxation like its crack. Steer clear! There are other schools like University of Western States, New York Chiropractic College, Los Angele Chiropractic College, and National Chiropractic College who teach you how to diagnose and treat from a medical model along with holistic approaches.
  2. Does your chiropractor know physical rehabilitation tools? These could include NeuroKintetic Therapy, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, Postural Restoration Institute, Anatomy in Motion with Gary Ward, or Functional Anatomy with Andreo Spina. Adjustments hold better when there are not tight muscles pulling the bones out of alignment and when you can find stability and strength where you need it.
  3. Does your chiropractor do Active Release Technique (ART)? I may be biased here, but this is the gold standard in soft tissue release. Orthopedists recommend it to their patients, and the practitioners in the Active Release community are top notch intelligent. You have to be to know your anatomy to the high standard that ART holds you.
  4. Your chiropractor knows when NOT to adjust. As chiropractors, we don’t want to release weak muscles or hypermobile joints, which can cause more pain and instability. We only want to release in relationship to other muscles that are not working. This is something that should be given a great amount of care. You’ll want a chiropractor who takes a holistic approach to spinal manipulation—giving thought to the entire body, head to toe, rather than just the area causing the pain.

Check to be sure they offer things like rehabilitation, massage, a stability and mobility assessment, and strength training as well. Chiropractic has so many facets and anyone who stops at spinal manipulation is selling their patient short.

For more information about the benefits of a great chiropractor or to schedule an appointment, be sure to check out Urban Wellness Clinic. We know great chiropractors all over the country and are happy to refer you to those luminaries in the community.

Best in health xo

Dr Emily Kiberd