Episode #26: Chiropractic Myths & Misconceptions

July 19, 2019

Show Notes:

Speaker 1: (00:00)
Hey everybody, what's going on? Doctor Chad Woolner here and Dr. Buddy Alan. And this is episode 26 of the health fundamentals podcast. And on today's episode, we wanted to talk about chiropractic myths and misconceptions. So let's get started.

Speaker 2: (00:13)
You're listening to the health fundamentals podcast. I'm Dr. Chad Woolner and I'm Dr. Buddy Allen. And this show was about giving you the simple but powerful cutting edge tools you need to change your health and your life. So sit back and enjoy the show as we show you the path to your best life down to a science.

Speaker 1: (00:32)
So, hey, everybody, uh, on today's episode we wanted to talk a little bit about chiropractic myths and misconceptions. Uh, if you guys have followed our podcast for any length of time, you know that, uh, both myself and Dr. Alan are both chiropractic physicians, uh, here in Meridian, Idaho. Uh, we run an integrated clinic. What that means is that, uh, we, we take the best of modern medicine, regenerative medicine, functional medicine, Chiropractic Rehab. We put it all under one roof, uh, as a means of better helping our, uh, our patients and our community. Um, and, uh, obviously as Chiropractors, uh, we see things through a slightly different lens than our medical counterparts. But we have, uh, a, um, a nurse practitioner that works with us. We had a medical director for a short period of time that was with us, a medical doctor, and, uh, and we have plenty of friends that are medical doctors literally.

Speaker 1: (01:26)
Um, and so we feel like we have a pretty unique perspective in the sense that, um, we're pretty open in terms of collaboration and working together and really seeing where, um, you know, both kind of schools of thought or philosophies or approaches fit together, um, ultimately for the, for the betterment of the patients. Um, really to help serve them and help them. Um, but we, we would have to be living under a rock if we didn't see and know that there are still to this day, a tremendous amount of myths and misconceptions about chiropractic. And so what we wanted to do is perhaps maybe address some of those and maybe help, uh, create a little bit of a paradigm shift for people. So, uh, Dr Alab, where do we begin in terms of some of the myths and misconceptions, unpacking this and myths and misconceptions? Um, I would say I think the probably the biggest myth is that we, the only thing we kind of understand is the back the neck.

Speaker 1: (02:25)
I mean, you know, like the spine in general, you know, we fixed backs, we fixed next, we, you know, low back pain, um, and well I either need a very limited scope of what our knowledge is. We, and I would even take it back a step further than that. I'd say that's being pretty generous because I think there are still some myths out there making claims that chiropractors aren't like real doctors. Sure. And, and when we say aren't real doctors, uh, really the question where you have to do is get real specific and say, what do you mean by we're not real doctors, are we not real medical doctors? Cause if that's the case, you bet we are. We are not real medical doctors because we're not medical doctors. We're doctors of Chiropractic. The initials behind our name when we finish a chiropractic college. And when we take our board exams is, is we receive what is called a dc degree.

Speaker 1: (03:08)
It's a doctor of chiropractic degree. And, uh, in terms of background on education, um, all 50 states now are accredited or are, are, uh, acknowledge and acknowledge that the degree of the DC degree, um, and, uh, so, so it's all 50 states. Chiropractors are like, it's licensed as a, as a licensed, um, profession. Um, all of our schooling, uh, is accredited, uh, and standardized for the most part. Um, I don't know how many schools are here in the states. Like they, good question teen are 16 different chiropractic colleges here in the United States. A, there's some Canada worldwide. Yeah, Canada. Some in South America. Now I know there's a school in Japan. I know there's a school that's there. They're looking at creating a school in China. Um, several in Europe. I know one in Scotland. Um, but, uh, but, but yes, so, so I answering the kind of that first or addressing that first myth that that chiropractors aren't real doctors.

Speaker 1: (04:09)
It's a doctorate level program. What that basically means is in order for someone to uh, get into chiropractic college, you have to have first your, um, pre-chiropractic training, which is going to be very similar to either premed, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, any of the professional schoolings or virtually going to be the same in terms of your undergraduate studies. You're going to have to have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree. You're going to have to have your year of biology, your year of chemistry, your, uh, you know, your, all of your basic general ed requirements and then your other sciences in there as well. Um, and so you're going to have your, you know, your four years of undergraduate and then chiropractic colleges and other four years, uh, program, uh, in addition to that. So you're looking at a, a minimum of eight years.

Speaker 1: (04:57)
I would say the biggest departure of chiropractic college versus say medical school is that chiropractic college doesn't have a residency. As part of that, we have an internship, um, program that you can either do in, in the clinic, uh, you can do out in the community working, uh, under the direct supervision of a licensed chiropractor. Um, and then there are a variety of different postgraduate, um, fellowship fellowships, uh, deployment programs and, uh, other, you know, even residency programs that are available. There's one specific residency program. Uh, it's a radiology residency program. It's an additional three year, uh, training. Uh, they collect a deck bar program. It stands for a diplomat of the American board of chiropractic radiologists. Um, and those guys are phenomenal radiologists. Yeah. Um, they, they do a lot of training there. Um, but so in terms of that kind of common myth, our chiropractors, real doctors, we're real doctors in the sense that it's a doctorate level training program.

Speaker 1: (06:02)
Uh, there is, uh, once you're finished with the school, uh, in order to be able to actually practice Chiropractic, you have to pass a series of board examinations that are going to be comparable to, um, most again, professional schools. I know that, uh, Ma, obviously medical doctors have to be board certified to be able to practice. Um, physical therapists I know have physical therapy boards. Uh, dentists, I'm confident having a series of board exams. Uh, osteopaths have their own, I think they're very similar, if not the exact same as the medical, you know, and so Chiropractic, uh, we have a four-part board examination. We take part one board after our first year of school. Is that right? Part one which covers anatomy, physiology, um, microbiology pathology. Um, am I missing something there? Probably Biochemistry, biochemistry. Um, and then we have a part two and three we take after our third year, is that right?

Speaker 1: (07:02)
Parts two and three. And then there's a physio, physio therapy board evaluation, which is, uh, covers all of the, you know, kind of non-chiropractic therapies and things like that. So whether that's exercise, Rehab, uh, soft tissue therapies, uh, various different modalities like ultrasound, uh, therapeutic ultrasound, not diagnostic, um, muscle stem, uh, a variety of other different types of therapies and things like that. So parts two and three, and then part four, we take at the very tail end of the schooling, which is all clinical. It's all a series of different cases where you've got to go through and uh, and diagnose, you know, see exactly. So in, in terms of the schooling, it's very rigorous schooling we cover, um, like we had said, we cover topics ranging from obviously, uh, we, we cover a tremendous amount in terms of anatomy and physiology. I would say that's where a bulk of the education is spent during your first year to two years, uh, full, uh, full dissection of cadavers from, from head to toe.

Speaker 1: (08:04)
Um, cadaver lab is, uh, is a huge part of the, of the curriculum and the training there. Um, you know, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, biochemistry, um, and then we, we, where things really start to diverge or shift for us in terms of our training is right around years two and three where we start to then specialize in what is referred to as kind of in the population, the chiropractic sciences where we really focus a lot on, um, you know, adjust the chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is what some people will refer to it as. Um, but we have a series of specialized classes, they call them NMS, neuro, musculoskeletal, uh, treatment and diagnosis. And basically what we then do is we dive very specifically into condition-specific, uh, protocols that we learned in terms of, uh, a wide range of, of different topics and issues that are musculoskeletal.

Speaker 1: (08:55)
Obviously neck and back pain, just about every kind of that you can imagine. Um, shoulder issues, other joint issues, hip and knee, ankle, wrist, elbow, TMJ, you know, if it's got a joint to it. Uh, we, we, we learn about that. We study it, we learn it, you know, uh, the pelvis we learned about the biomechanics of the spine and the pelvis. In the body and all those different things. And so it's, um, you know, I, I would say that that chiropractic education, I've never been through physical therapy schooling, but I would say it's probably going to be a, a fair amount of overlap there in terms of what they study and learn. Um, I would say with us, we, we shift a little bit from even them in the sense that we've, we focus on radiology. We have a lot of radiology, not just in terms of, uh, taking x-rays but interpretation of x-rays and not just spine films, although that's most of where we spent our time.

Speaker 1: (09:46)
But just films in general. We, we look at, uh, you know, um, we have a, a series of courses, uh, bone pathology looking at different, uh, either metabolic problems, uh, you know, fractures, your injuries, acute trauma, um, to, to the bones and then obviously, uh, disease, processees various cancers and things like that. And so, um, obviously a tremendous amount of education there, a lot, very, very rigorous schooling. So I would say that's a big myth right there that we could kind of help, hopefully clear up, you know, is that the schooling is very rigorous. Um, it's, it's very exceptional training, uh, that we go through, um, to really be as well rounded as possible to ultimately become, you know, what would it be considered a portal of entry provider, physician for patients such that, uh, patients don't need a referral to come to a chiropractor.

Speaker 1: (10:38)
They can come, you know, straight in off the streets and a chiropractor has the sufficient training to be able to do a, a sufficient a workup, you know, in terms of evaluation management for these various problems. Um, so I would say that's, that's one, but, but kind of going in line with what you were saying there is that I think a lot of people think that chiropractors just deal with neck and back issues. What would be some of the things that might surprise people in terms of training, in terms of what chiropractors see and help patients with? Well, you know, just like any other, uh, medical, dental, we have, you know, we go into our yearly, um, schooling that we have to do, you know, we have to have our continuing education and frankly, most docs after we get into practice, we kind of find areas of interest where we kind of have a tendency to specialize or areas that are more exciting to us.

Speaker 1: (11:26)
Right? Right. And so, I mean, there are doctors that specialize in, um, sports medicine where they're, they're really, uh, predominantly treating people with sports type injuries, sprains, strains, dislocations, you name it. There are docs that get into kind of more of the, um, functional medicine, if you will, where we're really looking more at the, the chemistry that's going on in your body and helping to, uh, work with hormones and chemistry and, and you name it, right? So the using natural approaches to managing chronic health problems, things like, uh, thyroid problems, things like adrenal issues, things like, you know, metabolic issues, helping p patients naturally manage and, or, uh, solve things like diabetes, type two diabetes and or other metabolic problems. Um, it's a really common one for, for, um, for some chiropractors to, to, to do. Um, what else? Um, well, and then there's like our clinic where we're, we're kind of a mixture of, we've got the integrated model, what we're trying to do more not just in helping restore function and movement, but also to repair many of those areas that have been damaged and beat up.

Speaker 1: (12:37)
Yeah. So I'm offering, offering help and hope there. Um, I got honestly using regenerative therapies, um, in conjunction with everything we're talking about as well. So, um, what are some other myths and misconceptions about Chiropractic? You know, probably one of the biggest myths or Miskin misunderstandings or untrue untruths really is, um, the, uh, the reality that they think that our adjustment, especially of the cervical spine is the causing strange, dangerous and causing right vertebral artery dissections. A couple of things to address that. Let's, let's talk about, you know, chiropractic adjustments or manipulation in general, and then we'll kind of dive a little bit more specific. Um, you know, like any health intervention, um, what we do is not without risk. Um, however, that being said, the risks associated with chiropractic adjustments are very, very rare. Um, the complications associated as a result of the adjustments are extremely rare, uh, such that we, we enjoy some of the lowest malpractice rates of any healthcare professionals.

Speaker 1: (13:49)
Uh, we pay. And I think that's the biggest, most, I think telling a indicator of the, of the risk associated with what it is that we do. We pay such low premiums, uh, each and every year in terms of our malpractice rates because, uh, what we do is so extremely safe by and large. Uh, now specifically if you look up chiropractic adjustments and or risks, uh, one of the big kind of hot button topics that people love to really, uh, overinflate or just outrightly lie about is risk. This, this idea of that, uh, adjusting the neck can cause a stroke. Um, and that's the thing you'll see, you'll see in the news a lot of sensational headlines that a chiropractor caused somebody to have a stroke and nothing kind of makes my blood boil more than this topic because this is a question that is no longer out for debate.

Speaker 1: (14:44)
It's been solved that the answer to that question does chiropractic manipulation can do chiropractic adjustments, call them strokes, Knapp solutely not. Uh, there was a study that was published in a medical journal Spine, uh, back in 2010 and this was their conclusion from this study. It was a long study and basically said VBA stroke or vertebral Bassler artery stroke, which is the type of stroke they say chiropractic adjustments. Cause what they basically wanted to answer was that question is there, is there causation? There are chiropractors, is the adjustment causing strokes? They said VBA stroke is a very rare event in the population. The increased risks of VBA stroke associated with Chiropractic and PCP visits, PCP beading primary care physicians, um, is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from BBA dissection seeking care before their stroke. So in English, basically that means if there were what appeared to be people who had strokes as a result of seeing a chiropractor, the reality of it is what the science says.

Speaker 1: (15:49)
Uh, not what the new station says, not what the blog article says. What the science says is these were people that were already having a stroke. They were in the process of stroke. See, and that's one of the interesting things as I always pose this question to people that are concerned about this. As I say, what are the signs of pre-stroke? What are the signs? And sometimes people will, will say things like, well, you know, the drooping of the mouth or the slurring. No, no, no, no. That's interconnect. That's Ane, that's, that's you're having a stroke, right? Signs of pre-stroke are headache and neck pain, stiffness and soreness. That's pre-stroke. Uh, we learned in school and I think nothing has really changed since then. Cause Trust me, if it's changed, I want to know about it. We would stay up to date on this is what are accurate, uh, screening tests available to us to be able to help separate out someone who might be at risk for a stroke versus someone who's not.

Speaker 1: (16:41)
And the reality of it is there really aren't there or there aren't. Now that doesn't mean that we shouldn't use good judgment, right? I'm not going to adjust an elderly, frail old woman the same way I would adjust, uh, a healthy adult like you, uh, in terms of if we're going to be adjusting attic or, or that being said, if we were to adjust a baby, I'm not going to adjust a baby the way I'm going to adjust an adult. That's just, that's using common sense and that's usually using good judgment. But this is what they said. The, the, the, the final punchline of this study was they said, we found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care. So you are not at any greater risk of having a stroke, seeing a chiropractor or seeing a medical doctor or seeing any physician for that matter.

Speaker 1: (17:32)
Um, and so it's loud and clear. This, this question is no longer out for debate. A chiropractic is extremely safe. The research shows it loud and clear, and anybody who says otherwise is simply either ignorant or unaware of the evidence or even worse, choosing to deliberately dismiss or ignore that evidence to, uh, continue to push whatever their agenda is and, or to continue to reinforce their own personal bias against chiropractic. I mean, that's really what it boils down to. Um, it's, it's crazy that, that we still live in a day and age where there are people who, who still think and still continue to perpetuate these types of myths out there. And the unfortunate thing is that the people who suffer at the end or the are the patients, patients are the ones who suffer. And, and that's what's frustrating to me. Uh, the, the interesting thing that we find to a real common scenario of, of people who are, who have some type of an agenda against chiropractic is one of their favorite kind of tools or tactics that they love to do is they love to compare chiropractic from its origins, uh, from today's standards, right?

Speaker 1: (18:44)
So what they'll do is they'll take today's standards of medicine and understanding of science and anatomy. And physiology and just everything we understand today. And they use that as the comparison or the or the littler that, you know, kind of the standard that they're trying to measure against chiropractic from its inception. Well, it should be pretty obvious that chiropractic has evolved significantly. Chiropractic when it first began in the 18 hundreds is not what chiropractic is today. You know, back then, you know, much better science now, much better science, much better education, much better understanding, you know, but, but the thing is, is that what we need to do for, if we're going to play that game of looking at chiropractic back then, you know, and kind of, uh, you know, throwing it under the bus, so to speak, all those guys were quacks. They were Weirdos, they were whatever.

Speaker 1: (19:29)
And, and, you know, you know, they just didn't understand anything. Let's be fair here and let's, let's make an apples to apples comparison. Right? And when, what we need to do then is we need to look at what were their contemporaries doing at that time, you know? So if we look across the aisle and we say, oh, chiropractic was so strange or bizarre back then, what was medicine doing back in those days? Right. And we were just, just for the fun of it, we were kind of looking here, uh, at some of the more kind of, uh, we'll, we'll put it lightly radical absolute radical interventions and therapies that were being used at the same time. You know, at the same time, a dd Palmer who was the founder of Chiropractic and then his son, BJ Palmer, who really kind of further helped push and develop that, what were they doing?

Speaker 1: (20:16)
You know, what were they teaching? And basically what they were teaching was that, you know, subluxations, which is a fancy word for a dysfunction or misalignment of the spine was the kind of the root cause of all disease. And, and today I think people would look at that and say, well, that's kind of bizarre for sure. In today's standards, that might seem a little bit strange, but if we go back in time, we look at it back then, that was a pretty progressive and very forward-thinking philosophy. Especially compared to what was being done back then. For instance, we a, we just looked at some of these, uh, and we'll, we'll make sure we include the, the article here for you guys to read. It's actually pretty hilarious. The way they wrote it. It was in, actually it was cracked.com is where we found it, but, uh, children's soothing syrups, um, basically they, uh, would, would pump these bottles full of different types of narcotics to basically just not kids out back in the day, baby.

Speaker 1: (21:10)
Just dope up kids just to get them to chill out back in the day. Um, and they would advertise this safe and harmless, uh, Mrs. Winslow's soothing Sir for children teething. And it was basically just morphine is what they were giving them. Uh, chloroform, um, codene heroin powder and opium, uh, cannabis, Endeca and sometimes even combination is what they said. Um, they would use, uh, other various treatments like, uh, you know, heroin for cough medicine. They would use heroin for cough medicine. They would do, uh, electrical impotence cures for men. So if, if men were having performance issues, they would strap on, uh, an electrical belt on the guys and let that kind of fix stuff. Um, uh, let's see here. Another one. Oh, lobotomies all time favorite good old frontal lobotomy. Yeah. So, so basically, uh, a psychiatrist would basically split your brain. Yeah. Basically take a and an ice pick and go right above your eyebrows.

Speaker 1: (22:14)
I kind of like the bridge of your nose and up into your brain. It's crazy. Right? Uh, insulin coma therapy was another one that was used, uh, bloodletting that was actually really fairly common not too long ago. When you think about it all the way up through the 19th century, um, [inaudible] went up till about the 1950s before they 1950s. Yeah. Uh, trepanation, which was basically drilling holes in the head, which was kind of like a, I think at the time it was like a, you drill holes in the head to let the evil spirits out or something like that. I think that's what it was. Um, so I mean, a variety of different things. And so we don't say this to, to knock medicine. What we're simply trying to do is trying to compare apples to apples. When we look back in history, I, I think most of these people be at chiropractors and medical doctors.

Speaker 1: (23:01)
We're doing the best that they, that they could at the time given the information that they had given the understanding. Now obviously things fortunately for all of us have evolved significantly. But what we need to understand is that chiropractic has evolved just like medicine has in a very significant way now. We still as chiropractors hold to a lot of the original philosophical ideals and tenants for sure. But I think like anything, those can be taken to extremes, uh, like, like anything truly like, uh, I think at its core, at the heart of it, I think the philosophy of Chiropractic, this idea that our body has the innate capacity to take care of itself, to heal, to self-regulate. I think any reasonable person could say that. That makes sense, that that should make sense. Right? But like anything else that can be taken to an extreme to where if you're saying that, you know, in no exceptions, the body should never have medicine.

Speaker 1: (23:56)
You know, I would say that's an extreme viewpoint. That's not correct. That's not, you know, you're missing the mark there because sometimes there are a cases and times where medicine is the appropriate intervention, you know, um, you know, saying that all you ever need is an adjustment that an adjustment fixes everything no matter what it is that the adjustment is going to be the thing that fixes it. Again, I think you're missing the mark. I think sometimes the [inaudible], the chiropractic adjustment is a very powerful tool. We use that. And I would say more often than not, it only helps. Yup. Um, but to say that that is the only thing that a person needs, and to say that that is the thing that will fix people 100% of the time, that's not true. That's not reality. Right. So I mean, I think at the end of the day it's, it's understanding.

Speaker 1: (24:40)
Um, there's a place for, for both philosophies, for both ideas, for both approaches. And I think patients should welcome that because at the end of the day, when we have different approaches, different philosophies, different schools of thought, people benefit from that, right? If everything was the same standardized 100% across the way, what other options are available when that, when that fails, when that fails, right. And it does a, you know, medicine is not perfect. And I think most reasonable medical doctors would be the first to tell you that that's, that is correct. You know, that it's not perfect. Just like Chiropractic isn't perfect 100% of the time, you know? So just understanding and recognizing inherent limitations, um, inherent strengths, inherent weaknesses, I guess is a good way of putting it. Anything else you want to add in to that? Yes and no. Not really, other than just when, um, I think in general it's, it's wrong to make assumptions that, oh, they only know this.

Speaker 1: (25:38)
Right? We know. We know a heck of a lot about the body. Just because I don't treat someone with surgery doesn't necessarily mean I don't understand the process. And Ryan goes on for that. And, and from the other direction towards us, you know, I mean there's, uh, sometimes we, we make generalizations or assumptions that maybe we just don't have the full information or all the information. Right. That's all. Get the information, don't make assumptions. Yep. Absolutely. So, all right. Hopefully it's been helpful and maybe dispelling some of the common myths and misconceptions about Chiropractic, maybe giving you a little bit better understanding of what Chiropractic is, what we do and ultimately maybe it helps more people. You know, that's really at the end of the day why we do this podcast is to help more people. So, uh, share this with friends. Um, and uh, we'll talk to you guys on the next step.

Speaker 2: (26:29)
Thanks for listening to the health fundamentals podcast. Be sure to subscribe so that you stay in the loop. And in the note with all of the cutting edge health information that we share, if you knew other people that could benefit from this information, please share it with them as well. Also be sure to give us a review. These really help us to ultimately help more people. Last but not least, if you have questions that you want answered live on the show, or if you have ideas for topics that you would like us to cover, please shoot us an email and let us know at info@thehealthfundamentals.com.



MJ Manlunas
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