Chiropractors are arguably one of the most hotly contested topics when it comes to modern medical care. Some say that they hurt more than they help, while others consider them to simply be inferior to traditional treatment methods. While there is no substitute for evidence-based, mainstream medical treatment, a new JAMA study found that those who went to a chiropractor and a regular doctor had better outcomes than those who went to just a doctor.
Ah yes, chiropractic adjustments. Easily one of the most divisive flashpoints when it comes to medical opinions, chiropractics has something of a split reputation in this country. While some people make fantastic claims about chiropractics, including that it can cure asthma, others dismiss the treatment as a glorified massage that — if done improperly — can result in serious, lasting damage. According to a new study in JAMA, however, the truth appears to be somewhere right in the middle.
The study found that outcomes were best for people who sought both “traditional” treatment for their back pain as well as seeing a chiropractor. This mixed approach fared better than individuals who opted for only one treatment or the other. The study was quick to reel in some of the more outrageous claims made by chiropractic aficionados, however: it found that this success is primarily centered around issues with back pain.
This study should appease both sides of the fence, and not just in terms of chiropractics specifically. Often, there is a clash between unproven, homeopathic practitioners and medical doctors. Each thinks that the other side is overrated, when in reality they can both be useful depending on the context. However, you should always err on the side of receiving science-backed, evidence-based medical care like the kind found at Urgent 9, rather than unsubstantiated homeopathic options.
So, what is chiropractic care, exactly? When you go to a chiropractor, you’ll get “adjusted” in an attempt to relieve discomfort or chronic pain, particularly in your back. This is done in a variety of ways, from “cracking” your skeletal structure and joints, to using various alignment devices, to moving a chiropractic table (and in turn, segments of your back). Detractors of these types of adjustments claim that there is no underlying fix occurring when you temporarily provide relief through massaging and cracking of bones. These detractors claim that this simply creates a cycle where the person needs these adjustments more and more, just to continue to feel relief.
On the other hand, traditional medical science has a difficult time treating back pain specifically. More than ever, doctors are trying to avoid over-prescribing opioid medications that have proven to be addictive and deadly when abused. Other medicinal treatments for back pain are somewhat lacking: stretching and exercise, anti-inflammatory medication, and (in extreme cases) epidurals round out the options for this tricky, chronic problem.
It’s no wonder, then, why mixing the two approaches seems to yield the best results. It looks to be the case that if you have back pain, you should consider making use of all available (safe) options while staying informed and aware of the pros and cons of each. Remember: healing yourself is an intensely individualistic process, as everyone’s body responds slightly differently to treatment.