OK, a week later but still timely, let’s talk about Chiropractic & Chiropractors. As I might have mentioned during my somewhat fanciful piece last week, I have a history of issues with my back, my lower back in particular. Nothing major, but it’s been recurring for a number of years and I’ve finally decided to be a tiny bit proactive with my ideas for how to deal with it. Up til now, my self treatment has been a 2 step process;
1) Ignore it.
2) If I can’t ignore it, rest for the shortest time possible, then ignore it.
How has that worked for me? Honestly, it has, at least for the last 10 years. But maybe as we get older we get a touch wiser, so I’ve finally convinced myself to look into a very popular, though controversial branch of medicine. Namely chiropractors.
So, first off, exactly what is it?
To quote the fine folks at Wikipedia, who, btw, aren’t really very complimentary at all about this practice;
Chiropractic is a pseudoscientific complementary and alternative medicine that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Chiropractors, especially those in the field’s early history, have proposed that such disorders affect general health via the nervous system. The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues, but may also include exercises and health and lifestyle counseling.
It is generally agreed that D. D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s, after saying he received it from “the other world’. Palmer maintained that the tenets of chiropractic were passed along to him by a doctor who had died 50 years previously.
OK, so I’m starting to see why the mainstream medical community may have had, umm, questions.
…but I digress
The American Medical Association called chiropractic an “unscientific cult” in 1966 and boycotted it until losing an antitrust case in 1987. In recent decades, it has gained more legitimacy and greater acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States. Nowadays, Chiropractic is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions such as osteopathy and physical therapy Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain. Back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic.
Currently, nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults — 8 percent of all adults — experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. Low-back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs each year. Add in lost wages and decreased productivity and that figure easily rises to more than $100 billion. Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.
Many people are interested in finding alternatives to medication for pain relief. And chiropractic treatment is one potential pain management option. A 2012 study found that 12 weeks of spinal manipulation was more effective than medication at treating non-specific neck pain in a group of 272 adults . A 2019 study found that cervical spine manipulation may help decrease neck pain in the short-term.
A large 2020 study compared the number of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers filled for adults who visited just their doctor or who visited both a chiropractor and their doctor to treat spinal pain. The study found that adults who visited a chiropractor were less likely to get an opioid prescription filled for their pain compared to those who only saw their doctor.
It seems like traditional medicine might actually ( tho grudgingly) be opening it’s eyes to the benefits of chiropractic. Though there are still PLENTY of doubters in that community. And the fact that many chiropractors also delve into homeopathic and herbal medicine can cause some eyes to roll. My new best friend / chiropractor has what I consider an unhealthy interest in my dietary habits and consumption of coffee & wine. My answers of “ I hear you” and “that makes sense” have served to keep these issues at arms length.
So what do I think?
I’m into week 2 of my chiropractic experiment.
My back does feel better.
Now, does it feel better than it would have if I had just rested and done what I’ve done many times before?
I don’t know. It feels better, that’s progress.
What the doctor talks about as she is working on me isn’t too wacky. Some of the observations make sense to me. Yeah, she wants to save me from the dangers of wine & coffee, and had a small coronary when I mentioned Diet Pepsi ( That stuff is poison, yeah I know…) But I’m giving it a month, which I think is a fair evaluation time. Then we’ll see if I think it’s going to benefit me in the long run.
You thought I was going to supply a definitive answer about chiro?
Sorry folks, in some cases you have to try for yourself and make your own choices. I’m feeling like this may be one of those. But I’ll give you a back-update in 3 weeks. We’ll see what we’ll see.
Have an outstanding week. And be nice to each other. I feel like we may need a whole bunch of that these days.