Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chiropractor Myth # 4 - Chiropractors only treat the back

This myth is a common mistake because of the disparity in the chiropractic world. Some chiropractors claim to only treat "conditions of the spine". However, like me the majority of chiropractors welcome all kinds of injuries into their practice.

So what injuries should I go see a chiropractor for?

The majority of injuries which chiropractors deal with focus on muscles, nerves and joints. Observe a list of conditions me and colleagues of mine have treated and rehabilitated in the past:

Tennis Elbow           Golfers Elbow      Shoulder Instability
Sprained Ankles      Osteoarthritis       Ulnar Impaction Syndrome
Muscle Strains        Spondylolisthesis   Facet Syndrome
Migraines               ITB Syndrome        Piriformis Syndrome
Trigger Points         Plantar Fasciitis    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
ACL Sprains            Acetabular Tears    Hamstring Strains
Disc Herniations      TMJ Syndrome        Adductor Strains
Sports Hernia          Tendinopathies       Turf Toe

As you can see by the prior list of conditions, injuries can span from head to toe. However, one must also not underestimate the power of a diagnosis. Often patients will present with condition which can't be treated by us. Furthermore, conditions can be found accidentally on x-rays by a chiropractor. Whether or not patients are referred back to their medical doctor, a specialist or a surgeon a diagnosis can still be a rewarding experience for a chiropractor. Observe a list of conditions myself and colleagues of mine have diagnosed.

Kidney Stones            Gall Stones            Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Hyperthyroidism        Hypothyroidism      Multiple forms of Cancer
Multiple Sclerosis       Polymyositis           Ehler Danlos Syndrome
AS                             Reiters Syndrome   Cushings Syndrome

So why the confusion?

Much like other health professions chiropractors have different beliefs and philosophies.  Some chiropractors are subluxation based chiropractors. I am not a subluxation based chiropractor so cannot speak on their behalf. However, this particular group of chiropractors believe sickness is due to misalignments in the vertebral column known as subluxations. This is why we are commonly associated to only treat the back or the spine. However, there are multiple chiropractors who do not practice this type of philosophy.

So how do I know which chiropractors  treat more than the back?

Often best methods is to simply ask. Also, viewing a chiropractor's website or calling their office can often give you a good indication on how they practice. Furthermore, friends have no incentive to misinform you on the chiropractor they go to. So asking another patient of a chiropractor about their philosopies can be very informative. 

In summary, chiropractors can treat a wide spectrum of conditions and injuries. During my internship in school I actually got more shoulder patients than any other form of injury. This was a great learning experience and made me more proficient in this area. So next time your hurt in an area besides your back don't rule out a chiropractor as a reliable option. Dr. Wayne Button, BSc, D.C  Chiropractor Myths 1-3



  1. I have a 7 y/o german sherpard /rottie mix that has been screaming in pain with his head stuck to the left and he also raises his left leg when he has these attacks. I have taken him to the vet and they placed him on medication (rimadyl)but that it not helping. What else can I try to stop him from being in pain?

  2. The article was so scary but it opens my eyes on what can the chiropractor can do to my back. Now I will be careful about choosing whom am I going to have a chiropractic treatment.

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