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"I Don't Believe in Chiropractors"

Bigfoot.

The Loch Ness Monster.

Vampires (especially the emotional, glittery kind).

UFOs.

A French military victory.

Some people believe in the existence of these phenomena.  Most people don’t.  And while I understand that legends of sea monsters and little green men require a leap of faith, there are people that say they don’t believe in chiropractors!  Well, I can assure you, they do exist.

Okay, maybe people don’t question the EXISTENCE of chiropractors.  However, there are many people out there that question the notion that chiropractic is a viable health care tool.  That’s fair enough.  Let’s take a closer look, though.

Some people have tried chiropractic and it didn’t work for them.  Okay.  I would ask that person:  have you ever had a headache and took an ibuprofen?  Have you ever had an instance where that pill did not fix the headache?  Sure, you have.  Does that mean that you no longer believe in medicine?  Of course not.  That would be silly.  One negative result does not totally negate the effectiveness of a treatment (or entire profession).  So why is chiropractic subject to this all-or-nothing scenario?

If you say that you don’t "believe" in chiropractic, you are saying that it NEVER works.  Because, if it works for some, it works for all.  Human beings are all the same, are we not?  (Well, we’re 99.999999 % the same...close enough).

The issue is that chiropractic doesn’t always work for everyONE or everyTHING.  It’s not magic. It certainly isn’t perfect.  No treatment is.  But why is only chiropractic vilified if it doesn’t fix your neighbor Jim’s sciatica?  He tried pill after pill, two months of therapy, three injections, and THEN went to a chiropractor.  After all this, he still has sciatica.  However, your neighbor doesn’t give up on medicine, but he’ll claim that chiropractic is bogus.

I hate to say it, but maybe it’s Jim’s fault!  Maybe, just maybe, if he wasn’t 80 pounds overweight, a type 2 diabetic, and sleep-deprived, he would heal better.  Maybe if he actually did the exercises and stretches the chiropractor prescribed, he would have done better.  Crazy, right?  A good potter can only do so much with bad clay, after all.  Or, maybe he didn’t actually follow through with the program that the chiropractor put together.  I’m sorry but if someone tells me that chiropractic “failed them” after only two visits, I doubt that person’s credibility.  Again, chiropractic isn't magic.  If the chiropractor in question gave the impression that complicated physiological insults can be remedied after two visits, well then shame on the chiropractor.  False claims would tick me off as a patient, as well.

But if you want to put chiropractic through the Pepsi taste test with every other treatment out there for back pain, neck pain, and headaches, I'm all for it.  Oh wait, they already did.  Consumer Reports did a study on the effectiveness of dozens of treatments for back pain.  14,000 patients were polled and they could respond whether they were unsatisfied, satisfied, or highly satisfied with their case.  Chiropractic care came out on top, with 59% of those who tried chiropractic saying they were highly satisfied.  Primary medical doctors?  34%.  Ouch.

So, would someone who doesn’t “believe” in chiropractic say that all the patients who had success are wrong?  That they were somehow tricked?  If so, they had better results than the folks did with the medical doctor.  If that’s the case, I’d much rather be “tricked” than given drugs and injections, but that’s just me.  Besides, taking drugs for pain is essentially "tricking' your nervous system into not feeling the pain.  It's not actually fixing the problem, but I digress.

So, if medical care does so lousy, does this also mean that medicine is bunk?  Of course not.  Medicine works wonderfully for broken arms, punctured lungs, etc.  In my opinion, medical intervention is only beneficial for lower back pain in extreme cases, but that doesn’t mean I throw the baby out with the bath water and claim that I don’t “believe” in medicine.  That would be a logical fallacy.

So what's belief got to do with it?  Nothing.  I don’t like it when someone says they do or don’t “believe” in chiropractic.  It’s not a religion or act of faith, so belief is not a requirement.  There is plenty of unbiased research that proves that chiropractic care works as a whole.  We are NOT talking about faith healing here.  Chiropractic is a science and it works.  If you like it, great.  If you don’t, fine.  It's no skin off of my back, pun intended.

Chiropractic has been here for over 115 years and is not going anywhere because it is a viable treatment and people are looking for alternatives to drugs and surgeries for their migraines, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, and sciatica.  Chiropractic is not a panacea but it is effective and very safe.  In fact, every day I meet people who come to our Norton Shores practice because why?  They just want to get off the drugs.
Does that mean that they no longer "believe" in medicine?  I hope not.  Because if one of my patients has a heart attack, I hope they don't call me. I hope they call a hospital because kickstarting hearts is not in my job description.  There's a Motley Crue joke in there somewhere.

To sum up, you don’t have to “believe” in anybody or anything when it comes to your health.  Simply believe in yourself and your  body’s ability to heal (and give your body the best chance to heal by making better choices).  Use logic and reason to find out what your problem is and the best course of action to treat it (hint: covering up the symptoms is not going to achieve that). If you really feel that chiropractic is the best option, then try it.  If one practitioner doesn't seem to be getting you where you want to be, consult another one.  Do your due diligence before writing off an entire profession.

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