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Back Alignment: Useful Terminology Or Outdated Idea?

Back Alignment: Useful Terminology Or Outdated Idea?

back alignment

I need to start this blog entry by saying that there are really 2 factions in the chiropractic profession. While I’m not particularly fond of labels, it is useful to make a distinction between the two. We will call one of them the philosophical camp and the other we will call the evidence-based camp.

Let us now discuss the difference between the two camps.

Philosophical Faction:

Roughly 20% of the chiropractic profession consists of chiropractors holding the belief/opinion that most, if not all, the disease are caused by subluxations in the body. When chiropractors talk about subluxations, it is quite different than when a medical doctor speaks of a subluxation. According to the medical profession, a subluxation is something less than a dislocation and is commonly used when discussing a shoulder injury or something of that nature.

When chiropractors speak about subluxation, they’re talking about something they base their entire practices on. The basic idea is that there is a misalignment of vertebral bones causing pressure on the nerves exiting the spinal cord at that level. This pressure causes dysfunction in the tissue the nerve then runs to. Basically, they say the back is out of alignment. There’s that ‘back alignment’ terminology again.

If they are able to ‘align’ the back alignment and keep pressure removed from the nerves exiting the spinal cord, they’ll be able to heal almost any malady within the body. They believe regular adjustments keep you from needing any vaccinations. They believe you can cure just about anything this way. Through proper back alignment.

Evidence-based Faction:

Roughly 80% of the chiropractic profession tend to consider themselves evidence-based practitioners or, at the very least, evidence-informed. This means the vast majority of the profession does not use the terms ‘subluxation’ or ‘back alignment’ at all as they do not feel there is any high-level research supporting using the terminology.

Many, if not most, evidence-based chiropractors look to integrate patient treatment with other practitioners in the healthcare field. Rather than treating the patient 50-100 times in a year, evidence-based practitioners are seeking to find the most efficient, quickest ways to obtain a successful outcome for their patients and they are quick to refer their patients out to other specialists when the case is clearly out of their expertise. They tend to have a good feel for when back alignment is ineffective.

There are excellent guidelines for the chiropractic profession and very high level, randomized-controlled trials showing significant effectiveness for chiropractic care. Chiropractic care has proved it’s worth time and time again in the research literature. Certainly when combined with exercise/rehab protocols and appropriate physiotherapeutics.

The difference

The difference is that evidence-based practitioners, according to research, are treating movement dysfunction and movement disorders in the spine. That’s a simplification for sure but, essentially, the frame (skeleton) isn’t working correctly and evidence-based chiropractors are tasked with making the proper corrections.

Sometimes that is mobilizing joints. Sometimes it’s strengthening them and leaving mobilization out of the equation completely. Are you seeing why the term ‘back alignment’ has seen better days? Our bodies are built very strongly and the idea of taking a bone from one position and shoving it into another may be a little outdated.

Evolution

Healthcare evolves as the knowledge base expands. Just like the medical field no longer commonly performs lobotomies, blood-letting, or uses leeches, the chiropractic field has long since moved beyond the initial ideas of the founders from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Evidence-based chiropractors are biomechanical experts and have been shown less expensive and more effective than not only physical therapists but usual medical care as well. Chiropractic has also been proven to be as effective or more effective for our bodies than many NSAID medications.

The Question

The question should not be whether you want to treat with a chiropractor for your issue. The main thing is deciding which kind of chiropractor you want to visit. If you visit their websites and see verbiage having to do with anti-vaccine ideas, blog articles on ear infections, allergies, or curing cancer, you need to run.

If you go to a chiropractor and they have you sign a contract for your healthcare and schedule, turn around and run. There should be no contracts in our opinion for chiropractic care.

If there is a presentation of x-rays showing you a decreased curvature in your neck and a discussion of it taking 38+ visits to correct this curvature issue, turn around and run.

These ideas are not supported by the research and would never be recommended by an evidence-based chiropractor.

On the other hand, if you are told about your condition, are recommended a very reasonable and responsible trial treatment schedule, and have exercise/rehab protocols mixed into the treatment with the proper outcome assessments and goals to achieve, well….you may have found yourself a good evidence-based chiropractor.

If you think Dr. Jeff Williams may just be your chiropractor in Amarillo, give us a call here at Creek Stone at 806-355-3000 and we can get you set up.

Creek Stone Integrated Care
Jeff Williams, DC
http://www.creekstonecare.com
806-355-3000

 

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