Did you know that according to a recent Gallup poll, one in four Americans sought care for neck and back pain in 2018 alone? Yet despite the fact that many Americans are suffering from pain, there are still many who are reluctant to seek out help from a chiropractor.
And that’s really too bad, because according to Dr. Mitchell Katz, DC, a chiropractor who served as the official chiropractor for the Chicago Bears from 1991 to 2004 and now serves as a chiropractor at the Center for Holistic Medicine, many people have misconceptions about chiropractic care and are simply unaware of how it can help.
“Not only are chiropractors licensed, credited medical professionals who study at four-year schools and have to undergo extensive training to treat patients, but they also are often able to help people live pain-free without undergoing surgery or taking pain medication,” Dr. Katz explains. “What could be better than that?”
Here are five of the most common misconceptions that Dr. Katz often hears people say about chiropractic care:
Myth #1: Pain Is Inevitable As You Get Older
If you’re avoiding going to the chiropractor because you believe that being in pain is just a natural part of aging, Dr. Katz says you should think again. “There are plenty of people who age gracefully and are doing great,” he says.
He says back pain, neck pain and other muscoskeletal problems may be influenced by a variety of factors such as genetics, repetitive behaviors, lifestyle habits and more. And often, chiropractic care can either help rectify a situation completely or can help reduce pain significantly.
Myth #2: Once You Start Seeing a Chiropractor, You Have to Go Forever
Although there are some unscrupulous chiropractors who tell patients they need to see a chiropractor forever, Dr. Katz says most honest chiropractors will only have you continue treatment as long as necessary to alleviate your pain. He says for many patients, he is able to reduce or eliminate their pain over the course of several weeks, and there are others where he gives them exercises that they can do at home to keep their pain from returning. “But there are some patients that have pain because they have strenuous jobs, repeating behaviors and/or an underlying condition and may need maintenance care. This is a case by case decision,” he explains.
Katz says it’s important to note that insurance will only cover treatment that is designed to alleviate active pain, not ongoing maintenance, so once your immediate pain has been resolved, you cannot bill insurance for additional treatment.
Myth #3: Chiropractic Adjustments Are Painful
“Adjustments are not meant to be painful,” Dr. Katz says. He says is an area is too injured to work on, he may have to work on the areas surrounding the problem area first, in order to address the injured spot in a less painful way.
Myth #4: Arthritis Always Causes Pain
As we age, it becomes more and more likely that we will wear down the cartilage between our joints, so the space between our joints becomes less than it was before. This process is called degenerative joint disease — commonly referred to as osteoarthritis. But just because the space between our joints gets smaller doesn’t necessarily mean that we will have pain. He says the pain, instead, results from other related factors, such as when a bone is pressing on a nerve.
Osteoarthritis advances in stages. People tend to feel the most pain when it’s in the middle stages, as joint loses height and thus becomes less stable and the bone begins to rub on bone. But in the most advanced stages, your joints become more stable, too stable and may fuse together, which reduces your mobility and range of motion, but also eliminates the pain. So it’s the joints that still have a lot of range of motion and are just beginning to lose cartilage that can be the most painful. “The irony is that joints that are typically the most painful are the ones that are the least arthritic,” Katz explains.
Myth #5: Back Pain Starts in Your Back
Did you know that your lower back pain or hip pain may actually have more to do with your feet than your back? Dr. Katz says often, people start to lose the arches in their feet, which causes their hips to be out of alignment and that, in turn, causes undo stress on their lower back. “When one foot is more collapsed than the other, it pulls everything down on that side,” he says.
When Dr. Katz first evaluates a patient, he always examines their feet and arches first to determine if they may be the source of the problem. “You wouldn’t believe the number of people who are practically walking on their ankles,” he says.
Dr. Katz says he recently saw a patient who has so much degenerative problems in his spine that there was no way for Dr. Katz to adjust him. But after examining his body, Dr. Katz realized that much of the patient’s pain was actually being caused by a misalignment of his hips due to his fallen arches. “We’re making him a pair of orthotics that I will make his hips line up and reduce lower back stress thereby lessening his pain,” he says.
Curious about how a chiropractor could help you? Contact Dr. Katz to schedule an appointment today!