Chiropractic Myth Busting


Everyone has a different viewpoint on chiropractors. Some absolutely love them while some think they’re all “quacks.” While these varying viewpoints are frustrating to us as practicing chiropractors, we can understand the confusion. Generally, it is due to the general public not really knowing what we do. So to help clear things up, this article is about things “we don’t do.” It is our version of Chiropractic Myth Busters! Below are the five most common myths we hear regarding chiropractic.

Chiropractors put bones “back in place”

This is probably the most common thing we hear from people. Patients say something along the lines of “something in my low back went out, I need you to put it back in.” While this seems to be pretty common terminology in many chiropractic offices, it isn’t exactly true. Numerous studies done with MRI and X-ray imaging show bone position doesn’t permanently change with an adjustment. So what does an adjustment do? Primarily, it restores proper joint motion, decreases pain and relieves muscle tension.

So where did this idea come from? Well back in the early days of chiropractic (late 1800s), the BOOP (Bone Out Of Place) theory seemed reasonable. The chiropractic profession didn’t understand joint biomechanics, muscle physiology or neurology back in those days. So the only possible explanation of the benefits gained from adjustments was believed to be from putting bones back into place. Now that our profession has grown and the research is there. We now can explain exactly what goes on with an adjustment.

Once you go to a chiropractor, you always have to come back

This is another very common thing we hear from our patients as well as people outside our clinic. People believe once you start going to a chiropractor you need to keep going for months, years or even the rest of your life. This idea is ludicrous. If you come into our office, it is our job is to treat your pain or dysfunction as quickly as possible. It is also to give you exercises and tips to keep you out of pain and out of our office.

Chiropractors don’t get along with medical doctors

This myth is also due to the profession’s early days when the two groups had very different ideas and philosophies on treatment. As each profession has grown, this grudge between the professions has diminished. Today, chiropractors and medical doctors regularly co-manage patients. This utilizes the best of each profession and gives the patient the best possible outcomes. In our office, we also regularly update our patient’s primary care physician. We let them know about the patient’s condition and treatment outcomes.

All chiropractors are the same

This is a myth we wish were true. Generally, when people think of what chiropractors do, they think of chiropractic adjustments. While this is a part of our practice, it is only one tool in our toolbox for getting people out of pain. We also use various other manual therapies such as myofascial release, nerve mobilizations, various types of exercise and rehabilitation, and even nutrition. These different therapies have all been shown in research and clinical practice to be very effective at treating pain. Unfortunately, most chiropractors aren’t trained or educated in these therapies, or just don’t care to do anything outside of adjusting. In our office, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible treatment for each patient, whether that patient only needs an adjustment or needs everything but an adjustment.

Chiropractors only treat neck and back pain

Right now, most of the research promoting the benefits of chiropractic adjustments was done on neck and back pain. That doesn’t mean adjusting doesn’t help with other areas, it just hasn’t been researched yet. Also, going back to the previous answer, the various other therapies we used have been shown to be very effective for things like shoulder and knee pain. So, while chiropractic adjustments have only been shown to treat neck and back pain, the other “tools” in the toolbox work great for any joint or muscle pain.

Well there you have it. Hopefully we gave you enough information to properly “bust” these five myths. If you have any questions about this article or anything else, feel free to call or email.

That’s it for this article. As always, if you have any questions, comments or ideas for future articles please contact us!
Drs. Jeff Remsburg and Thomas Cotter are chiropractors at Active Health KC: Chiropractic & Rehab located in Prairie Village, Kansas. Their clinic focuses on combining cutting edge chiropractic care with the latest in exercise and rehabilitation for pain treatment and performance enhancement. You can find more information about their clinic by visiting their website at or by calling 913-341-1200.