The Skepticism Surrounding Chiropractic Medicine: Debunking the Myths

Ella White

Updated Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 11:36 AM CDT

The Skepticism Surrounding Chiropractic Medicine: Debunking the Myths

Chiropractic Medicine and its Lack of Scientific Evidence

Chiropractic medicine has long been a subject of controversy, often labeled as "junk medicine" due to its lack of scientific basis. The foundational principles of chiropractic, such as "vertebral subluxation," are considered by many to be nothing more than nonsense. Systematic reviews and studies consistently find no evidence supporting the effectiveness of chiropractic medicine beyond a placebo effect, except for some treatments for lower back pain.

The Placebo Effect and Temporary Relief

One of the reasons chiropractic treatments can make people feel better is due to the placebo effect. When patients believe they are receiving a beneficial treatment, their expectations can lead to temporary relief. However, this relief is often short-lived and does not address the underlying issues causing the pain or discomfort.

Lack of Evidence and Legitimacy

Chiropractic medicine is not considered evidence-based, and even many chiropractors themselves acknowledge the lack of scientific evidence supporting their techniques. The founder of chiropractic medicine, D.D. Palmer, claimed to have received the principles from a doctor who had died 50 years prior, adding to the skepticism surrounding its legitimacy.

Misconceptions about Spinal Alignment

Chiropractic treatments that claim to align the spine or fix curves are not based on scientific findings. The notion of "fixing" knots or kinks in the spine is not supported by anatomical evidence. The temporary relief experienced by patients after chiropractic treatments is mostly attributed to the placebo effect rather than any actual physical changes in the spine.

Seeking Evidence-Based Alternatives

For those seeking evidence-based methods of improving mobility and addressing musculoskeletal issues, it is recommended to consult a physical ther***** instead of a chiropractor. Physical ther*****s undergo extensive training and education in evidence-based practices that focus on restoring function and reducing pain.

Exploring Alternative Medicine

While chiropractic medicine falls under the umbrella of alternative medicine, it is important to approach these modalities with caution. Alternative medicine, including chiropractic, should be discussed with a trusted primary care provider who can consider all available options of care. Osteopathic physicians, who bridge the gap between mainstream medicine and alternative schools of medicine, offer a more comprehensive approach to healthcare.

The Role of Osteopathic Physicians

Osteopathic physicians receive similar medical training as mainstream pre-med students and have the same curriculum as standard medical school, with additional classes on osteopathic medicine. They believe in the utility of alternative medicine and may incorporate elements of chiropractic, naturopathic, and Eastern medicine into their practice. However, in emergency medicine settings, osteopathic physicians primarily rely on allopathic (mainstream) medicine due to the nature of the patients and issues they encounter.

The Importance of Primary Care Providers

Patients are advised to have a primary care provider, such as an MD, DO, PA, or NP, who can provide guidance and discuss the available options of care. A trusted primary care provider can explain their reasoning, be open to discussion, and consider all available modalities, including alternative medicine, while ensuring the safety and well-being of the patient.

while chiropractic medicine may provide temporary relief for some individuals, it lacks the scientific evidence to support its effectiveness beyond a placebo effect. It is essential for patients to consult with their primary care providers and explore evidence-based alternatives for addressing musculoskeletal issues and improving mobility.

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