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How do you feel about chiropractors?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Alternative Treatments
I've heard such mixed things about chiropractors. Some people report amazing results with fewer negative effects than traditional medical treatment; others seem to view chiropractors as charlatans who are likely to do more harm than good.

I have had one bad experience - the chiropractor had me repeat self-affirming phrases while he did some sort of energy work and then he twisted my spine abruptly, eliciting the mother of all back-cracks. I didn't feel right for weeks afterward, and I don't believe I received any benefit.

On the other hand, I have friends, whom I consider intelligent and scientific-minded, who swear by their chiropractors. At this point my MD has said that surgery is probably my only treatment option, and I'd like to avoid that if I possibly can. I am a dancer, and really do not want to get any kind of spinal fusion, as I have heard that you can permanently lose flexibility. Chiropractic treatment seems like a possible alternative, but as I said, I'm not totally convinced it is safe.

So - what do you all think?


  • I have nothing against chiropractors, and know they help many people. That being said, in my situation with severe disc degeneration, my surgeon told me in no uncertain terms that any chiropractic care was out of the question, that even more damage could be done to my spine. I think it has more to do with what your back/neck problem is. Check with your Dr. and see what he/she says.
  • I am not against chiropractic care once an MRI is done and one knows what they are dealing with. however, I think it would be prudent to know if the person has a simple misalignment or posture problem versus something more serious like cord compression, etc. before a chiropractor starts making "adjustments" to their spine.

    A good chiropractor will know his/her limitations and send the patient to a medical doctor if the need is there. I just think it is important that you find a chiro whose ego isn't as big as the neurosurgeons Whidebydc is referring to.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I've had some success with mine (potruding disc). He doesn't do any of that hopping on you and back cracking rubbish, though. People with disc compression problems don't need adjustments, they need to increase the gap compressing the disc. He spends all the time just stretch me out. I always feel immediate relief, but like I mentioned, long term benefits seems to be slow in coming (been doing it for maybe 2.5 weeks). I've been doing this to avoid a microdiscectemy (sp?). YMMV.
  • Chiropractors are great for musculoskeletal conditions. Most spinal pain can be linked to a mechanical cause originating from disc, nerve, joint, or muscle. There is strong evidence in support of manipulation and manual care for spinal complaints as published in well respected journals such as Spine and JMPT. You ask your doctor to review research published by the Task Force on Neck/Back Pain published in Feb 2008 to learn more about current research in the field.

    Unfortunately, the Chiropractic profession has not done a great job policing itself. So people have had a wide range of experiences. As a result, many MD's have generated opinions based on these experiences. Your opinion will be influenced by who you see.

    Spine health has a great article about selecting a Chiropractor written by Kelly Andrews, DC. I recommend reading that first.

    As a side note be careful when using MRI to diagnose spinal complaints. MRI are wonderful tools but may be overutilized when it comes to back pain. They can sometimes be misleading as not all herniations generate pain. Also, keep in mind that ESI are non specific agents for addressing pain. On the bright side, PT following pain reduction is a smart/effective strategy and should be maximized.

    Best wishes. Hope everything works out.

    M.Lopez, DC
  • Surgery can often be avoided. Current research tells us that conservative care should be sought before considering spinal surgery. Consider the intensity/duration of your symptoms before moving forward as this is an extremely personal decision. Surgery is often most effective in those cases that do not respond to conservative treatment. In other cases, surgery has been deemed as effective as other less invasive approaches in the long term. There have also been a few studies published that show manipulation has been effective in treating stenosis and myelopathy provided that there has been no progression of neurologic symptoms. Lastly, I hope this provides a little more insight as you make a decision.

    Best wishes.

    M.Lopez, DC
  • Hi everyone! As my first post to the forums, I thought I would start with this topic, since I am a chiropractor, and have quite a few chiropractors in my family.

    I do understand the reservations some people have about chiropractic, and some doctors of chiropractic. It is very unfortunate, as most of the things I hear are myths, rumors, and criticisms from other health professionals, and even entire health organizations. It has been so wide spread for so long, many of these preconceived notions almost seem like second nature to most people.

    In my career, I have have run into some terrible MD's. Terrible D.O.'s. Terrible LAc.'s...you name the profession there are some bad apples in it. Some professions have just been superior at hiding it.

    That being said, I have some great relationships with a few MD's in my area, one who I just saw on Monday, and an orthopedist that I have sent at least 70 people to in 9 years of practice. I also love my father in law, who has been a practicing ER physician for 25 years. The fellow is amazing.

    I don't use as broad of a stroke to paint professions, and take them on a case by case basis. Something I wish more people would do with Chiropractic.

    I respectfully disagree with the comment that "chiropractor's should know their place." I do believe where chiropractor's make a mistake is when they try to become pseudo MD's, so that is what you may have meant. Chiropractors, IMO, are the current voice of reason for health coming from within, touting the role of the nervous system function in the natural process of healing. We do actually do this from adjustments, not "adjustments." I am assuming the quotes put the term into question.

    A good Chiropractor does this, and educates their patients on health regarding physical, emotional, and chemical stresses. A good Chiropractor recognizes why he is not an M.D., and is proud of it. Not because MD's are bad people, but because we are offering a service that is far different then drugs and surgery as the first answer.

    The majority of D.C.'s that I know are fantastic people who do great work, and give great advice to their patients. I do find it frustrating at times finding myself defending the profession, but that is a PR issue more to do then the actual job we are doing to help people.

  • drgraeme said:

    A good Chiropractor does this, and educates their patients on health regarding physical, emotional, and chemical stresses. A good Chiropractor recognizes why he is not an M.D., and is proud of it. Not because MD's are bad people, but because we are offering a service that is far different then drugs and surgery as the first answer.

    The majority of D.C.'s that I know are fantastic people who do great work, and give great advice to their patients. I do find it frustrating at times finding myself defending the profession, but that is a PR issue more to do then the actual job we are doing to help people.
    I am going to forget you are a Chiropractor, and reply as a spine post! :-) I crashed in a helicopter back in '84', and within 6 months I almost couldn't move! The Chiropractor I went to was a "God send." He did x-rays and found I had "double" scoliosis starting. Although months for manipulation, EMS/TENS and massage, he worked wonders for me! Mind you, back then "chiropractor" medicine was still voodoo! He even got my back "straight" again!!

    Fast forward... My neck got stuck and stiff, my local Chiropractor is really good. He does a "pre-interview" and physical exam along with x-ray before he even touches you. I had some alignment problems (again) in my neck, upper back and lower lumbar. He was great with my thoracic and lumbar, but the neck was getting worse with radicular symptoms shortly appearing. He ordered and MRI, found the herniation and stopped treatment on my neck, referred me to an Neurologist, which shortly I was referred to a NS, and was "fixed." That surgery I deem a zillion percent success for me!

    Fast forward again...I still go to him for my lower back - stopped (me) the upper due to burning and soreness. My NS agrees there are issues there, but trying to get my neck under control first (see sig)..add C7/T1 now to the mix (moderate spurs).

    Me...personally? I think Chiropractor is a WONDERFUL tool as long as there are no issues such as herniations, bone slippage such that the nerves are in risk of permanent damage, soft tissue damage etc. My treatments have allowed me to live a "normal" life many times over! I personally feel that *if* my present Chiro continued manipulating my neck when the herniations became known, that would have caused me permanent damage. He didn't, and I didn't! Do I regret *any* of my chiropractic treatments? Absolutely NOT. I would do it again in a heartbeat!!! :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am one who loves my chiro! My parents would go to one on a regular basis while I was growing up, so of course I grew up with it. For me it is a relief for my migraines, along with keeping my spine in proper alignment. My chiro was very understanding when it came down to having to have surgery, and wished me best of luck with it all. I still go to him and get my adjustments, but he is knowledgeable about my back issues, and doesn't do anything that would harm me in any way. I know that people have their opinions about them, but for me they work, and I will continue to see mine.
  • Please read the following article in its entirety including all sections and you be the judge of chiropractic care. I have seen 12 different chiro's in my life, not a single one ever helped. In fact, I am now recepient of two glorious back surgeries in part resulting to the damage chiro's caused me over the years. Stubborn me should never have considered chiro's for my neck after my lower back issues, but thought it would be different. Not the case.



    it's becuse of him i can walk and move.. it's a trust thing i think. i trust him for know it's working for me..i know this is not a fix but buys me time untill something more invasive is needed.... for now this works for me...

    you come to know your body and what it needs... more so what works for you ..... those dock with the needles and cutting scare the hell out of me ....so i say what works for you and whats right for you go for it ......
  • I had a bad experience with one who twisted my neck years ago when I had whiplash. It was so very sudden and unexpected and didn't go back...

    I went to a Chiropractor now years later recently and once he knew I had a herniated disc he would not touch me. He offered TENs machine, some exercises and referred me to massage. I have seen on utube a great Chiropractor who talked about sciatica and piriformis muscles and treatment. PM me if you want the link. Also www.chirogeek.com(see disclaimer) has some great information. LizzieLou do get a second opinion from a Neurosurgeon or Orthosurgeon. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,836
    There is a distinct separation of what a Chiropractor is geared up for vs a Neurosurgeon or other Spine Specialist.

    Chiropractors are best suited for spinal and muscle adjustments. Many people get great results from those type of treatments.

    But once you have a disc related problem, you are much better of seeing a Spine Specialist. I have talked to several chiropractors and then readily admit that when there are disc and nerve related problems, that their practice should not be used.

    Neurosurgeons and others are NOT surgery happy. I read an early append that stated that thats all they are after. That is so far from the truth.

    No doctor worth their weight is going to jump into something just for financial gains.

    The most important thing to consider is to identify what your problem is and to evaluate who is the best professional to treat you.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I have been using chiropractors for at least 30 years, with only positive results.
    I have my spine loosened up every 3 months, and see him in between when my pelvis locks up.
    Physios have tried to treat me but with only limited success, as they won't do the more physical maneuvers that chiros do to free up locked joints.
    If it wasn't for chiropractic help, I'd be completely disabled and in constant pain.
    For me- a life saver.
    I'm more cautious on neck adjustments though, as necks are notoriously difficult to treat.
    Depends on what the x-ray/ MRI shows.
    If the spine is out of alignment, then usually chiropractic is needed to fix it.
    It is filling a big gap in other medical treatments, and if it wasn't successful it wouldn't be around so much.
    My chiro is flat out handling patients, and has taken on a partner.
    It is a physically demanding job.
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