Sometimes, when I’m bored, I browse the Grand Rapids subreddit to keep up with current events. It’s usually filled with random questions and complaints, as most cities’ subreddits are. However, I saw one recently that caught me off guard.
The post has since been deleted, but a user posted a question about chiropractors in the area; they were looking for recommendations in Grand Rapids to (hopefully) get an adjustment. I saw some folks recommend our friends over at Kooistra, among other nearby chiropractors. Surprisingly enough, every comment was downvoted. For those unfamiliar with Reddit, you can downvote comments to make them less likely to appear. In essence, every time a user recommended a chiropractor, a bunch of other users would downvote the comment.
It seems the people in Grand Rapids aren’t fond of chiropractors. And honestly, I can’t blame people for being skeptical; unfortunately, chiropractors—much like fitness businesses and gyms—can have pretty predatory practices.
So, the question is, should you write chiropractors off completely like most of Grand Rapids Reddit, or are they worth giving a chance?
First, What is a chiropractor?
For those of you who are unfamiliar, a chiropractor is a healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders. They manually manipulate the spine, extremities, and other joints to treat their patients and clients.
Chiropractors also use various other treatment methods, including massage therapy and exercise, to facilitate better movement and spine function.
Chiropractic care was initially based on the idea that the body has an innate ability to heal itself. Back in the day, chiropractors believed that when the body was in alignment, it was better able to heal itself. Thus, realigning the spine and other joints can help restore balance and function to the body, allowing it to heal itself. However, most contemporary chiropractors use manipulations and treatments to help people move better; it’s less about “healing” the body from the inside out and treating the person where they’re at physically.
Sounds too good to be true
Well, it is. First, chiropractic care does help with functional mobility issues of the spine and neck. Further, manipulations of the extremities (e.g., hands, knees) may also be helpful. However, chiropractic care cannot “heal” anything internally, and there is a clear lack of scientific evidence that it can (1). So, if you’re trying to use your chiropractor for something other than a physical disorder, you should seek medical attention instead.
It’s also worth mentioning that chiropractic care has potential risks, even though it is mostly safe. As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of injury, infection, and adverse reactions to treatment. Therefore, speaking with your doctor before beginning chiropractic care is essential to ensure your safety.
Lastly, chiropractic care is not recommended for everyone. For example, those with certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, may not be able to benefit from chiropractic treatments. In addition, pregnant women should not receive chiropractic care, as it can put the fetus at risk.
Overall, consult with your doctor before jumping into chiropractic care; it’s the smart, safe thing to do.
What Are the benefits?
Chiropractic care can offer a range of benefits, from pain relief to improved mobility. The most common uses of chiropractic care include the following:
- Pain relief: Chiropractic care can help reduce pain in the back, neck, and other body areas.
- Improved mobility: Regular chiropractic adjustments can help improve joint mobility and range of motion, allowing for better overall mobility. For instance, manipulating the upper back may help improve thoracic mobility.
- Improved posture: Chiropractic care can help improve posture, reducing the risk of muscle and joint strain risk.
- Stress relief: Chiropractic care can help reduce stress and tension, improving overall health and wellbeing.
Types of chiropractic treatments
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat their patients. Some of the most common methods include:
- Spinal manipulation: This is the most common type of chiropractic treatment. It involves manually manipulating the spine to realign the vertebrae. There are multiple schools of thought on this, but you can equate manipulations to anything that results in one or more of your joints “cracking.”
- Soft tissue therapy: This type of treatment involves massaging and manipulating the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles and ligaments, to reduce tension and improve range of motion.
- Exercise programs: Chiropractors may also recommend exercise programs to their patients to help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion. However, sometimes this is outside of their scope. Nevertheless, this is precisely why places like Kooistra in Grand Rapids push their clients toward us at Motive Training.
How to find a qualified chiropractor
When finding a qualified chiropractor, it’s essential to do your research. In addition, you’ll want to ensure that the chiropractor you choose has the proper qualifications, experience, and training.
Start by asking your friends and family for recommendations. You can also search online for chiropractors in your area. Once you’ve found a few potential candidates, you can check their credentials and read reviews to better understand their qualifications and experience.
It’s also good to ask your primary care physician for a referral. They may be able to recommend a chiropractor who is well-qualified and experienced in treating your specific condition.
In Michigan, we always refer people to Kaitlynn and Rob at Kooistra, as they are well-versed in human movement and won’t try to upsell you on supplements or things that won’t help you. So reach out to them if you ever need help.
Ultimately, most people will benefit from learning to move their entire body more than from getting weekly adjustments from a chiro. However, if you have chronic pain in your spine or neck, it may be worthwhile to see a qualified chiropractor who can give you a better idea of how to move and function your best.
Brian Murray, FRSC, FRA
Founder of Motive Training