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Are Chiropractors Necessary?

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My girlfriend suffered with severe back pain for a long time. In fact, she said it persisted for over fifteen years until she went to a chiropractor and within weeks, she was feeling better.

To be honest, I’ve always been skeptical of chiropractors. After my car accident, I was experiencing severe migraines due to whiplash and my insurance company told me I should see a chiropractor, which I did. I went for about six weeks and nothing changed. There were days where my head felt like it was going to explode and and I spent a lot of time curled up in a dark room.

Needless to say, I stopped going to Mr. Crack-it man.

Right after that, I started going to the gym 3-4 times per week and guess what?

My headaches subsided.

Imagine how much chiropractors must make. When I went in for a visit, the chiropractor laid me down on a couch, cracked my back a few times and away I went. He then charged me thirty five bucks. The entire experience probably lasted ten minutes.

However, for arguments sakes, let’s say it took fifteen minutes. Simple math tells us that the guy was raking in a hundred and forty bucks an hour with very little overhead. The magic cracking man is making a killing, which would be cool if it actually worked. Anyone who has suffered from back pain knows it hurts immensely and can take its toll on almost every aspect of your life.

While the chiropractic experience didn’t work for me, I started to change my mind about how effective they were after hearing my girlfriend’s story. She swears by him and still attends twice a week or so.

But then I read this in Daily Science:

Manipulating or “adjusting” the spine is a popular way to treat occasional or acute lower back pain and is covered by many health insurance plans, but a recent review by The Cochrane Library finds no evidence to suggest it is more effective than other therapy options.

And further down in the article:

The reviewers studied the results from 20 randomized controlled trials representing 2,674 participants with lower back pain of less than six weeks duration. Reviewers concluded that SMT neither reduced pain nor sped recovery faster than treatment options such as exercise, the use of NSAID pain medications or physiotherapy. Surprisingly, the review also found no evidence to suggest that SMT was more effective than therapies known to be ineffective. “This last finding would suggest more research is needed,” said Dr. Rubinstein. If SMT is just as effective as accepted interventions, it should be better than ineffective therapies, such as using ultrasound or heat therapy.


Maybe it doesn’t work after all. Maybe the whole industry is just another scam created to milk the money from people who are so desperate to escape their back pain, that they’re willing to try almost anything.

What do you think? Do you believe that chiropractors are needed or do you think the chiropractic industry is overpriced and overrated?

More importantly, what do you think about this study? Feel free to leave your chiropractic stories in the comment section.

Thanks for reading!


Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Science news


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