According to the American Chiropractic Association, an estimated 35 million adults and children go to chiropractors for treatment every year. That is more than one of every ten people living in the United States based on the 2017 population estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau. The same source tells us that patients of chiropractors go to that specialist more often than they do to their family doctor each year.
The latter seems to give credence to the allegation that once people start going to a chiropractor, they are somehow hooked into going to one for the rest of their lives. At last report, chiropractors are not on any list of known addictions. The truth is they give regular annual checkups and schedule patient appointments based on their health needs like the family physician.
The fact that so many Americans go to chiropractors in pursuit of achieving optimal health is, in itself, a statement of trust and confidence in a profession that has contended with many myths since the first acknowledged chiropractic adjustment in Iowa in 1895. The idea that chiropractors “adjust” instead of “treat” may have had something to do with the skepticism, but there is no question that some 80,000 chiropractors in the United States are an integral of the mainstream healthcare system.
The primary definition of adjusting is “to move or change something so as to be more effective.” The medical definition of treatment is a bit more obtuse with no reference to its intended results: “The application of medicines, surgery, psychotherapy, etc, or to a patient or a disease or a symptom.”
In other words, treatment promises nothing in itself while adjusting strives to improve effectiveness.
It’s about Improving Effectiveness
Since people in pursuit of healthcare are accustomed to being treated when they go to a doctor or a hospital, most chiropractors now tend to include “treat” and “treatment” in their lexicon. Yet their objective is still about improving the patients’ conditions. making them more effective than they were before.
People with chronic issues, whether back pain, a pinched nerve, tendonitis, sciatica or fibromyalgia, do tend to return regularly because of the relief it delivers. However, there are many patients who are fully recovered after seeing a chiropractor one, two or three times.
Probably the first hurdle chiropractors had to surmount in gaining acceptance was they only work on backs and that all chiropractors are pretty much the same. The accent is on preventive health care with an emphasis on improving joint function.
Much like the medical profession, there are many different styles of practice. A traditional chiropractor typically uses just spinal manipulation or some basic modalities. Others form more advanced modalities of spinal correction with the goal of returning patients structurally to where they were when healthy. Finally, there are chiropractic rehabilitation offices where multiple techniques, modalities, and even other disciplines, such as physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and advanced technologies, are used.
Some patients prefer “maintenance care,” which means they choose to come to a chiropractor regularly because it makes them feel better. If that’s an addiction, it is one of the few healthy ones.
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