Chiropractic care explained

Since 80 per cent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organisation, most people will seek medical assistance to deal with the pain.

Chiropractic care has been shown as an effective, natural solution to spinal pain without the use of drugs and surgery. However, there are many misperceptions about chiropractic treatments, which may stop people seeking out the help of a chiropractor.

This is according to Dr Robert Delgado, registered chiropractor and certified wellness practitioner, who says that these perceptions are often due to a lack of understanding about chiropractic treatments and the profession as a whole.

Dr Delgado explores the common myths of chiropractic treatments which may be deterring people from seeking out this type of treatment.

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Myth 1: Once you go to a chiropractor, you have to go for the rest of your life

Every patient is in complete control of his or her health and it is no different when it comes to chiropractic care, says Dr Delgado.

“While some people may choose to have their spine checked regularly for the rest of their lives as a part of their wellness lifestyle, some may only use it sporadically for relief care. The amount of chiropractic care you utilise is always up to you, and your chiropractor will support you whether you choose relief care or wellness care.”

Myth 2: Chiropractors are not real doctors

Dr Delgado says doctors of chiropractic complete at least six years of full time university education, which is on par with any other doctor.

“The major difference is their approach to health as chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. Their main goal is to naturally support the body’s own healing by removing nerve interference created by areas of tension in the spine.”

Lifestyle education also plays a big part in chiropractic care, says Dr Delgado. “If a chiropractor finds something during the exam which is out of his/her scope of practice, he/she is trained to refer to a specialist in that particular area.”

Myth 3: Chiropractic adjustments are painful

Adjustments should never be painful, says Dr Delgado.

“There are so many techniques that a chiropractor has at his disposal that almost any patient in any condition can be safely and comfortably adjusted. Most patients find a deep tissue massage more uncomfortable than a chiropractic adjustment. Sometimes you can feel stiff or get a slight headache after an adjustment, but this is usually very mild and gone within a couple of hours.”

Myth 4: Chiropractors shove bones into place

Dr Delgado says this myth may arise from the “clicking” sound that sometimes accompanies an adjustment.

“Some patients imagine that bones are being crunched together which is definitely not the case. The sound comes from the movement of gas and fluid in your joints as they get stretched. This is the same as when you click your knuckles and does not mean that the bones have been moved in or out of place. An adjustment is very similar to a stretch except it is done at a specific point at a high speed to stimulate the nervous system.”

Myth 5: Chiropractic is not safe

Dr Delgado says that chiropractic is incredibly safe for everyone including infants and the elderly.

“As with any health profession, chiropractic does have a set of risks but statistically you have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning – which is one in 100 000 – than getting a serious adverse effect from a chiropractic adjustment – which is one in 1 000 000. Chiropractors enjoy some of the lowest malpractice insurance premiums of any registered health care professional due to its safety record.”

Myth 6: Chiropractic is unscientific

Chiropractic is based on sound scientific principles, says Dr Delgado. There is definitely more research needed on the exact way that chiropractic can affect the health of a person and the truth is that we don’t have all the answers yet. Let’s look at things logically:

  • It is a known fact that the nervous system controls and regulates every cell and tissue in your body.
  • It is also a known fact that reduced movement/misalignment of your spine can interfere with the functioning of the nervous system.
  • The aim of chiropractic is to improve the movement and alignment of the spine thereby reducing interference to the nervous system.
  • Chiropractic has been proven without a shadow of a doubt to be very safe.
  • Chiropractic has helped millions of people over 150 years and has grown to be the third biggest health care profession behind medicine and dentistry.
  • Chiropractic has been proven to be very cost effective.
  • Chiropractic has a very high patient satisfaction rate.

Opinions expressed in this article are that of Dr Robert Delgado.

Dr Delgado graduated cum laude with his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the Durban University of Technology in 2006. After living in the United Kingdom and attended seminars in Europe and the United States, he was inspired to further his education as a certified chiropractic wellness lifestyle practitioner.

Dr Delgado has been practising in South Africa since 2010 and In 2014, he founded Delgado Chiropractic in Sea Point, Cape Town. Dr Delgado’s desire is to teach his patients how to eat, move and think their way to a lifetime of health and wellbeing. He has a special interest in postural correction, chronic illness prevention and the enhancement of mind/body performance.

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