Modern chiropractic practice has become a legitimate, recognized, but limited form of treatment in the United States and many other countries. There are certain kinds of complaints for which it is actually superior to standard medical treatment. For instance:
- Several studies have found that chiropractic care is superior to conventional medical care for low back pain. Chiropractic is more likely to bring about remission from pain if it is performed during the first month of symptoms.
- There is some evidence that chiropractic care can relieve fibromyalgia, although the benefits of seeing the chiropractor are about the same as seeing a trained massage therapist.
- The chiropractor can be very helpful in pointing out gaps and side effects in medical care. For instance, most chiropractors are familiar with drug-nutrient interactions. They can offer targeted nutritional supplementation that medical doctors often overlook. The chiropractor may also be able to offer TENS (transepidermal neural stimulation) for pain control, massage, and light therapies.
- Some chiropractors work with orthopedic surgeons, even in surgery, to prevent complications of standard medical procedures.
In the mainstream medical literature, there are 43 articles that report 901 cases of stroke, arterial dissection, or even death as the result of manipulation of the cervical spine, the bones in the neck. This is 900-plus cases in millions of treatments, and most of the unfortunate patients in these cases probably had other risk factors for their vascular problems. It pays to make sure that your chiropractor is very, very careful when treating any problem in your neck.
- There is no good evidence that chiropractors can treat asthma, especially childhood asthma.
- There is no evidence that chiropractors can use chiropractic treatment to improve cancer, diabetes, or coronary artery disease.
- Sweeping claims that all neuromuscular diseases are caused by "lesions" that can be treated by the chiropractor if only the right lesion in the nervous system is located tend to be greatly exaggerated.
Chiropractors can also do damage by discouraging treatment for infectious diseases, especially in children, and they aren't cheap. Each visit to a chiropractor is considerably less expensive than each visit to a conventionally licensed medical doctor, but chiropractors see their patients much more often than conventional medical doctors.
See a chiropractor if you have back pain. See a chiropractor if you have muscle pain. Let your chiropractor point out gaps in nutrition, and treat sports injuries. For most of your healthcare, however, you will need to see other providers.
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