Modern healthcare should be based on a combination of relevant current research, the clinical experience of your healthcare provider, and your wishes and values. This is called “evidence-based practice”.
You deserve to know the scientific facts about your healthcare. So, your healthcare provider should know what the best available evidence is that’s relevant to you, and they should share it with you when you see them. But not all things have yet been studied, so your healthcare provider also has to rely on their own clinical experience when caring for you.
Your healthcare is your choice, and you have every right to make choices based on your own values and beliefs.
This is known as evidence-based practice or evidence-informed practice. Your healthcare providers are taught to share with you the best available scientific evidence (in an easy-to-understand language without any medical jargon). They are also trained to share with you their own clinical experience and then allow you to make your own healthcare decisions.
Chiropractic has a great scientific basis that is growing every day. So, you can take great comfort in knowing that there has been lots of research done about chiropractic care. We know from many research studies that chiropractic is safe compared to most healthcare choices and that people who see chiropractors really love the care they receive.1-3
We know from the science that chiropractic care improves your brain’s ability to see what is going on in and around your body.4 This means you can have all sorts of improvements in your health and function other than just the reason you went to see your chiropractor, to begin with.5 Many people say they experience improvements in things like the way they breathe,5 or their blood pressure,6 or even their digestion when they get adjusted,7 irrespective of whether they saw their chiropractor because they were in pain or not.
We also know from science that people who have spinal problems, such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches, improve well under chiropractic care. 8-10
Chiropractic may help
Lower back pain may be due to a breakdown in the way that your brain is controlling the muscles in your back.11 So, your back and brain aren’t talking to each other properly, which may mean that you aren’t able to control and stabilize your spine properly and protect yourself from injuring your back when you move or lift an object.
This is where a chiropractor can help. A chiropractor will gently adjust any dysfunctional spinal segments in your back, or what they call chiropractic subluxations. They do this to restore healthy spinal movement, and to improve the communication between your brain and your body, which may have an impact on the way your brain is controlling the muscles in your back.
For many people with back pain, this can result in a big difference in the way they feel and function and can help them to get over their back pain and get back to enjoying life.
The research backs this up and tells us that for people with lower back pain, chiropractic care is as effective, if not more effective, than other healthcare options.12 13
More research needs to be done to work out just how effective it is, but for now, the research suggests there are no better healthcare options available.13
The same is true for other conditions such as neck pain and many types of headaches.9 14 There’s also lots of research being done that looks at how chiropractors can help people with all sorts of problems that may be caused by a breakdown in communication between your brain and your body. It turns out that spinal function is really important for your brain to know what is going on in and around you.15
So, when you see your chiropractor, you can feel secure knowing that the care they provide is backed up by research as well as their clinical experience. But remember your health care is your choice and you can make choices based on your own values and beliefs. And this lies at the heart of evidence-based healthcare.
So, have you seen your family chiropractor lately? If not, go have your brain/body connection finetuned, because chiropractic is all about helping you to feel great and to get the most out of life by functioning at your optimal potential!
- Gaumer G. Factors associated with patient satisfaction with chiropractic care: survey and review of the literature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006;29(6):455-62.
- Weigel PA, Hockenberry JM, Wolinsky FD. Chiropractic use in the Medicare population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014;37(8):542-51.
- Gouveia LO, Castanho P, Ferreira JJ. Safety of chiropractic interventions: a systematic review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2009;34(11):E405-13.
- Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):768-76.
- Hawk C, Khorsan R, Lisi AJ, et al. Chiropractic Care for Nonmusculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review with Implications for Whole Systems Research. J Altern Com-plement Med 2007;13(5):491-512.
- Bakris G, Dickholtz Sr M, Meyer PM, et al. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. Journal of human hypertension 2007;21(5):347-52.
- Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore (NY) 2009;5(5):290-5.
- Ruddock JK, Sallis H, Ness A, et al. Spinal Manipulation Vs Sham Manipulation for Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Chiropr Med 2016;15(3):165-83.
- Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011;34(5):274-89.
- Bryans R, Decina P, Descarreaux M, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014;37(1):42-63.
- Cholewicki J, Silfies SP, Shah RA, et al. Delayed trunk muscle reflex responses increase the risk of low back injuries. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2005;30(23):2614-20.
- Goertz CM, Long CR, Vining RD, et al. Effect of usual medical care plus chiropractic care vs usual medical care alone on pain and disability among us service members with low back pain: A comparative effectiveness clinical trial. JAMA Network Open 2018;1(1):e180105.
- Goertz CM, Pohlman KA, Vining RD, et al. Patient-centered outcomes of high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation for low back pain: A systematic review. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012.
- Gross A, Langevin P, Burnie SJ, et al. Manipulation and mobilisation for neck pain contrasted against an inactive control or another active treatment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015(9):Cd004249.
- Treleaven J. Sensorimotor disturbances in neck disorders affecting postural stability, head and eye movement control. Man Ther 2008;13(1):2-11.
- Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
- Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
- Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc