Most people would be hesitant to pay $80-$90 for a 10 minute treatment that has you going back multiple times a week and regularly for months, you could take over the counter pain medication and get similar results at a fraction of the cost. The chiropractor may have to lie, deceive and scam their clients just so they commit to months of treatment that can usually be resolved in 2-3 weeks with the appropriate care. Chiropractic adjustments are great for treating joint pain and dysfunction, but like all treatments it has it’s limits! The cracking sound is the joints being released, this is not your bones going back into place, it does not help your neck curve/rounded shoulders (which are muscle imbalances) or take pressure off nerves. Deceiving people for financial gain is bad enough, especially with the cost of living but to take advantage of people who are in pain only makes it worse.
Fortunately there are plenty of effective, ethical and honest chiropractors who genuinely want to help you, with most people only needing 2 or 3 weekly treatments, then as needed. By reading the information below you can hopefully discern the good, from the bad by being aware of the most common scams.
X-Rays & Scare Tactics
There are decades of research showing the vast majority of findings on x-rays have nothing to do with pain and are more just age related ‘wear and tear’, you can take x-rays of people who don’t have back pain vs with back pain and they will be almost identical. Often chiropractors will take x-rays, tell their client their spine is misaligned or the curve in their neck is reduced, the x-rays are then used that as justification for needing regular and long term “corrective” care plans.
I think this is the worst out of all the scams, as it exposes the individual to unnecessary radiation, the cost to the taxpayers, through Medicare and then to the individual who then books in for months of treatment to have their spine realigned or neck curve restored. Research clearly shows, people who have routine scans done tend to suffer more pain, longer duration and become more dependent on treatment… the goal of any chiropractor routinely taking x-rays.
I have written an entire article detailing on how and why most x-rays are used as a scare tactic and how they make pain worse, you can read the article here.
Payment Upfront & “Corrective Care Plans”
If you’re needing so much treatment, its cheaper to buy them in bulk, it may be worth seeing a professional that isn’t purely motivated in getting you back for repeat visits for their own financial gain. If by the 3rd or 4th visit your still only getting symptomatic relief that’s usually a good sign to find another healthcare provider, if you’re needing months of treatment, your pain probably would of went away on its own without treatment. Also, if your paying for 10 or more visits upfront, how could they possible know how many treatments you need and why does everyone need the same amount of treatments? It’s a very dishonest, almost predarotry sales tactic.
Cookie Cutter Treatments
I like to refer to these chiropractors as “whack, crack & keep em comin back” chiropractors, they usually treat for 10 minutes, doing the exact same treatment every time you go and everyone else pretty much gets the exact same treatment as you. It’s a conveyor belt approach, treat as many people as possible an hour and get them returning as often as possible, its a business model and not healthcare. I highly recommend reading my article on a wholistic approach to pain and wellness.
Subluxations, Misalignments & “Pinched Nerves”
Some chiropractors will claim that these “misalignments” or “subluxations” will put pressure on the nerves then lead to a myriad of different symptoms. There has not been a single study, nor any evidence that these “subluxations” exist. The originator of chiropractic made these claims in the 1800’s as a result of supposedly restoring someone hearing through chiropractic treatment of the mid back. The issue with that is, the nerve for the ear is located in the brain and does not extend into the spine. The idea chiropractic helps with illness or disease is as true now, as it was in the 1800’s!I can understand these claims in the 1800’s but to still have health professionals making these claims despite everything we know about biology, physiology, anatomy etc.. is absurd, ironically these are usually the same chiropractors that usually refer to themselves as “doctors”.
How To Avoid Getting Scammed
If you have any doubt or queries it’s usually best to call in advance and ask if x-rays are usually required, they may say that it depends on a case by case basis which is usually means yes. Find out how long a typical visits lasts. Make sure they adapt their treatment to your individual needs, if you haven’t in responded to two or three visits, they should be making changes to their approach and if still little improvement then seek an alternative professional, if they were ethical they would refer you on to someone else. Avoid chiropractors who use terms like misalignments, subluxations or pinched nerve, their understanding of the spine, nervous system and pain is rudimentary at best.
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