Is my Chiropractor scamming me? – Unfortunately, some members of the public may feel hurt or even cheated by their healthcare practitioners. This can be due to unmet results, failed expectations or clinical practices. This can be felt with medical doctors and other allied health professionals, including Dentists and Chiropractors.
READ this article to find out what Chiropractors do, what normal practices are and the things to watch out for to ensure you receive the best care possible.
DISCLAIMER: This article is written by a Chiropractor to address any concerns or questions. To discuss with the writer, please see the contact information at the bottom.
What is a
A Chiropractor is a qualified health practitioner, spending 4-5 years of study at University, obtaining a Masters or Doctorate in Chiropractic (depending on the country and institution). Chiropractors go through full time education, learning anatomy, physiology, neurology and other medical topics (including Pharmacology!) before graduation.
A Chiropractor specialises in the nerve system. A dentist focuses on teeth, a cardiologist on the heart, a Chiropractor on the nerve system.
So, what is the nerve system?
The nerve system (also known as the nervous system) is a series of specialised neurons, allowing coordination of actions and sensory information. It works in tandem with other bodily systems, such as the endocrine system, to detect changes in the body and environment and the respond accordingly.
It is made up of the central and peripheral nervous system. The central includes the brain and spinal cord (contained inside the spine). The peripheral is the nerves that branch off of the spinal cord to the body parts, such as muscles, skin and organs.
Think of this like an intricate wiring system inside your body. The brain and spinal cord are the main power and cables behind the walls (central nervous system). The wires from the sockets are like the peripheral nervous system. If a peripheral nerve is damaged it stops something locally (e.g. turns off the TV or weakens a single muscle). If the central nervous system is damaged it can affect lots of the peripheral nerves (e.g. turns all the appliances in a house or weakens all the muscles in the leg)
What does the nerve system do?
The nerve system is the communication system the body and brain use to relay messages for control and bodily regulation.
For example, you want to move your arm. The brain send information along lobes, synapses at the brain stem, then is relayed down the spinal cord to the brachial plexus. Here it is directed to the appropriate muscles in the arm and, voila, the arm moves.
Consider the converse, you feel hungry. The information passes from the stomach to the gastric plexus, being relayed to the spinal cord. This message passes up the spine to the brain stem and is directed to the correct part of the brain.
Now you feel hungry, and the proceeding feelings and actions for seeking, eating and digesting food will all occur. All of which are also controlled and mediated by the same nerve system
So how do Chiropractors work with the nerves? Aren’t they very sensitive and small?
The nerves are extremely sensitive, so any undue pressure will disrupt their normal function.
Think of a garden hose. If you step on it or twist it, the water flow will be affected. This will not just be at the affected site, but affect all along the hose and wherever the water was supposed to be going.
The nerves in the spinal cord of the central nervous system are located in, the spine! Therefore if the spine is misaligned it will impact the quality of the messages the nerves can send, much like the garden hose. And much like the hose, it wont just affect the flow at the kink or twist. This will cascade to any other connected areas.
Therefore, it is logical that the alignment of the spine must be taken into account and checked when considering the health of the nerve system. So, when Chiropractors are seen to pay attention to the bones, it is really due to the direct impact this will have on the integrity of the nerve system.
How do Chiropractors improve this integrity?
Chiropractors use very light physical techniques, known as adjustments or corrections, to reduce the disruptions in the nerve system. Most will use their hands, some may use light tools.
Before any technique is applied they should take a detailed medical history, physical assessment, nerve scans and possible x-rays to determine IF they can help your case. Their examination is for a very particular type of misalignment called a Subluxation.
Whats a Subluxation?
A Subluxation is a misalignment of the spinal bones, interfering with the nerve system. This happens particularly in the top of the neck where the brain stem is positioned.
This misalignment is only a Subluxation if it causes occlusion of the nerve foramen, pressure on the nerves and interferes in the normal functioning of the nerve system. This can be exampled using medical grade testing, such as Computed Infrared Thermography.
This Subluxation may or may not be causing symtoms, but may have a detrimental effect on health in the background, before being noticed. Think of this like high blood pressure or cholesterol. Apart from extreme cases, nobody can feel their blood pressure or cholesterol, but can only be confirmed by objective testing. Both would indicate cardiovascular problems. Chiropractors use other tests and means to examine their patients for Subluxation.
What causes Subluxation?
Subluxation can be caused by 3 main stresses:
This could include falls, accidents, poor posture, sports or other physical impacts. This can either be short–term physical, such as a car accident; or long–term physical, like years slouching.
Mental or Emotional
Mental or emotional stress is not all in your head. There has been medical research for DECADES plotting the effects of chronic sympathetic overdrive due to the fight/flight system. This leads to changes in brain lobe use, stimulation of adrenaline, blood flow to the large muscles (instead of the postural muscles which maintain posture), impaired digestive and immune function, reduced happiness (via under stimulation of dopamine receptors) and diminished logical reasoning.
Toxic or Chemical
This can include physiological changes such as due to a virus, bacteria or disease state. This can also be the poor dietary and chemical choices we make, including sugar, cigarettes, medications and alcohol. All of which will increase the workload for the immune system and blood flow, impairing function in other body parts, such as the postural muscles maintaining alignment of the spinal bones and the regulatory healing of the nerve system.
So, the Chiropractor deals with the physical Subluxation?
Yes, they analyse, detect and correct the Subluxation. They use specific physical techniques, usually with their hands, based on years of training and expertise.
So, why do they need a plan? Can’t it be done in a single visit?
Chiropractic is a gentle, non-invasive procedure. This means that it takes more time, unlike something very invasive and non-reversible, such as a surgical procedure.
Every process in the body, including healing, takes time
Consider a person that wants to get bigger muscles. They can either work hard in a gym or get plastic surgery. The plastic surgery is very fast with minimal attendance needed. However, the surgery will not help strength and it is very likely the results will not be sustainable long-term. The surgery would also carry many risks, or potentially be unsuccessful.
Going to the gym, would take more time and patience. But this would carry far less risk and be sustainable over time. This would also have a myriad of other improvements for the person beyond the ‘bigger muscles’. Such as better cardiovascular health, improved mental acuity, better sleep, more energy and increased strength.
The same is for Chiropractic care. Time is required to produce results. This is especially true if the problem has been there for a long time. If a patient has been experiencing symptoms for 5 years, it is likely the problem started before then. They didn’t notice because it pressured the central nervous system first. Then it started to affect the peripheral nervous system, however it may have started with the nerves which cant be felt (motor nerves) instead of the nerves that can be felt and sensed (sensory nerves).
The sensory nerves in the body are the VAST minority. Therefore, problems can arise years before causing pain or other symptoms.
Examples in medicine would be high blood pressure or cancer. Blood pressure can rarely be felt, unless very high or low. Cancer ordinarily doesn’t cause symptoms until it is at a later stage.
How is a plan made?
The Chiropractor should make a plan based on:
- Your case
- Your test results
- The best available research
This plan should be tailored around these concepts. A problem occurs when everyone gets exactly the same plan. There will be similarities between patients. This is alike to patients of similar ages and conditions requiring the same prescriptions for medicine. However, if ALL patients get the same plan, this may not be a best practice.
But, why so many visits?
Think back to the analogy of the person seeking bigger muscles. These results cannot be achieved in a day. Even the results which are attained over a couple of weeks may not be sustainable (everyone knows someone who lost weight in a month then put it all back on in within 2 weeks!).
The number of visits should be based on the clinical research such as set out by the ICA.
Should the techniques or treatments be only where I experience symptoms?
Certainly not! The focus should be the CAUSE of the problem, rather than the area in pain.
A great example can be seen with medical doctors. If a patient has a heart problem, they may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, liquid in the lungs and swelling in the legs. However, the cardiologist will focus on the heart, the cause of the problem, rather than the symptoms. By correcting the cause, it corrects the symptoms.
There are some cases where the origin of the problem may be close to the symptoms, such as a stiff neck originating from the upper neck. This is when it is best to consult with your Chiropractic Doctor and ensure they explain the origin properly, before starting care.
Which conditions does science show Chiropractic improves?
Research, focused symptomatically and functionally, shows improvements in conditions with
a neurological influence. This includes:
- Meneieres disease
- Sleep problems
- Neck pain
- Slipped disc
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Hay Fever
- Numbness, tingling, weakness
- Chronic Fatigue
- Sinus Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
- Blood Pressure
- Bells’s Palsy
- Arnold Chiari Formation
- Ear Infections
is my chiropractor scamming me? WATCH OUT!
Now we understand the basis of Chiropractic and how it works, let’s go through some things to watch out for to ensure you get quality care for you and your family.
They should make a tailored plan
This plan should be tailored around the above concepts. A problem occurs when everyone gets exactly the same plan. There should be similarities between patients. This is similar to patients of similar ages and conditions requiring the same prescriptions for medicine. However if ALL patients get the same plan, this may not be a best practice.
They shouldn’t offer short pain based care
The Chiropractor should not take your care visit by visit, or expect results within 6 visits for a chronic problem.
They focus on function not pain
A Chiropractor should not base their results purely on symptoms. Improving your symptoms is important, but it is unethical to practice this way. This is the equivalent of stopping medical treatment for a patient with heart problems because they aren’t currently experiencing chest pain or a heart attack.
They should take x-rays
The Chiropractor should be taking objective tests for your case, including x-rays and nerve scans.
They should see the x-rays first
The Chiropractor should not perform ANY treatment until the x-rays or other imaging results have been seen.
The Chiropractor should remain up to date on the most current research.
The Chiropractor should offer you the choice of monthly instalments or paying in full.
Chiropractors should not demand re-x-rays for all cases. This should only be if you have a significant structural problem, such as a severe scoliosis.
Test the nerve system
The Doctor should test your nerve system at EVERY appointment to track your progress and assess if you do or do not need a treatment.
They shouldn’t adjust at every appointment
If the Chiropractor always needs to perform a correction or adjustment, there is always a problem. If there is always a problem the body isn’t healing properly. There should be appointments where no correction or treatment is needed because the body is functioning properly. If this isn’t the case, they may not be accurate enough in their techniques.
Think of this like a Dentist, if they always extracted a tooth, they may be missing something in your case.
You should rest after each adjustment
The adjustment corrects the alignment, taking pressure off of the nerves. However, the surrounding muscles are still used to the old alignment and will not adapt instantly. Massage would be too aggressive and could make it worse. The research shows the muscles need 13-15 minutes to adapt. This rest time should be taken after EVERY adjustment.
They should have a speciality
The Chiropractor should have a specific field of patient care they see, such as paediatrics, upper cervical or scoliosis. If not, they may not have adequate experience for cases like yours.
They should be qualified
In Singapore, MoM (Ministry of Manpower) only requires foreigners to be certified and registered to approve their EP as a professional. But for Singaporeans and PR’s (permanent residents) there is no legislature currently.
Chiropractors are highly trained professional with the majority working diligently to help their patients in every way that they can. All health professionals, from Medical Doctors, to Dentists, to Chiropractors, should act in a way that always puts the best interests of the patients first.
But in every group there can be some less ethical or competent practitioners.
So, to answer, “IS my Chiropractor scamming me?”, the likelihood is probably not; but they may not have communicated and explained things properly.
Use the guidelines above to find the best Chiropractor for your case. You can also contact us and we will be happy to discuss your case, answer questions and help to refer you to the best health professional (Chiropractor or not) to help you.
is my chiropractor scamming me
Since 2013, Upper Cervical Chiropractor, Dr. Shaan Rai helped patients achieve greater health, relocating to Singapore in 2016 and founding Vitality Chiropractic Centres. He has an impressive track record in providing relief and solutions for people who experience nerve system problems, such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo or neurological conditions.
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