1. Chiropractors know about more than just your backbone!

It surprises many people who had no idea that chiropractors treat more than just the spine.  We treat almost all musculoskeletal conditions.  We treat shoulder, knees, wrists, and feet in addition to every joint in your body.  We give advice on nutrition, fitness, ergonomics, biomechanics, and lifestyle.  We screen for conditions not related to the musculoskeletal system and refer out to medical doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, and other health care practitioners when necessary.  Chiropractors can also specialize in other areas such as pediatrics, sports rehab, neurology, clinical nutrition, and much more.

Other than particular specialties and the differences in learning to adjust and learning to prescribe medication, our training hours are not dissimilar from that of medical doctor. The following are the classroom hours for basic science requirements compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic schools and 22 medical schools.

Minimum Required Hours

456 Anatomy/Embryology 215
243 Physiology 174
296 Pathology 507
161 Chemistry/Biochemistry 100
145 Microbiology 145
408 Diagnosis 113
149 Neurology 171
56 Psychology/Psychiatry 323
66 Obstetrics & Gynecology 284
271 X-ray 13
168 Orthopedics 2
2,419 Total Hours for Degree 2,047


2. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction

A person’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or even years before it presents as a problem and the person shows up in a chiropractor’s office.  The absence of pain is not health!  While medication may be needed, if you take a pill and the pain goes away, the dysfunction that caused it still remains.  Muscle, ligament, and joint injuries often occur as a result of long-term biomechanical dysfunction.  Sometimes the dysfunction comes from past injuries, making the area more susceptible to future injury.

3. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury


Sports chiropractor for the NFL chiropractic

33% of NFL teams had a chiropractor on their medical staff. The other 77% referred out for private chiropractic care.

Athletes visit chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage every year, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. Click here to read some of their testimonials.  These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them a greater competitive edge.

4. Doctors don’t do the healing

Sorry to disappoint you, but a chiropractor will never “fix” your back.   We can restore proper motion in your joints which relieves tension on the muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it was made to do.  We assess to find with spinal levels are causing the dysfunction you feel, and we adjust it to restore proper function so your body may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

5. Chiropractic is for all ages

Many seniors aren’t aware of the benefits of chiropractic care, which can help them not only with pain relief, but also increase range of motion, balance and coordination, and decrease joint degeneration. There’s no patient too young for chiropractic either! Chiropractors can check infants moments after birth for misalignments of the upper vertebrae that may occur as a result of the birth process. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, parents also take their children to chiropractors to encourage healthy brain and nervous system development, to assist with colic, asthma, allergies, bed-wetting and sleeping problems, and to assist with behavioral disorders.

6. “You’ll have to go forever” is a myth

You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great it feels to get adjusted, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms.  Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to ensure proper motion is being maintained.  Then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist for checkups.  Many people choose to see their chiropractor weekly or monthly for regular wellness and maintenance care.

7. The body performs as a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the nervous system

The brain controls everything in our bodies.  From moving your pinky toe to blinking your eyes to nervous sweating, you can thank your brain and nervous system.  The spinal cord extends from your brain down through your spine and nerves exist at each segment level to innervate every part of your body.  Transmission of these nerves may disrupted if the joints of the surrounding spinal column are not moving properly.  This disruption in biomechanical integrity combined with altered physiological function is what chiropractors call a subluxation. Below is a chart that illustrates the relationship of the spinal nerves exiting the vertebra branching off to the various organ systems. You can see why it is not uncommon for a chiropractor to treat a patient with mid-back pain who also suffers from irritable bowel system, a patient with a subluxated sacrum who has been unsuccessfully trying to become pregnant, or a patient with an upper back fixation and acid reflux.

10 things you didn't know about chiropractic

Your nerves control everything in your body

8. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility

When somebody says that they tried chiropractic and it didn’t help, I cringe and get the feeling that they really missed the message. Of course, there are cases with complicating factors, but I have heard this from people with straightforward musculoskeletal problems.  In most cases, one doesn’t acquire back pain over night, and it’s not going to go away over night.  If a weak core from years of sitting at your desk is to blame for the additional stress on your joints, I would expect an adjustment to provide relief, but I would most definitely prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. I might also suggest we evaluate your nutrition if I suspect an inflammatory diet may be disposing you for pain.  If you don’t do your home care, you can’t expect the best results.

9. Chiropractic may help you get sick less often

Studies have indicated that adjustments consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain, and may also enhance the production of immunoregulatory complexes important for healthy immune system defense.  As far back as the deadly flu pandemic of 1917-1918, chiropractors noticed that their patients seemed to have fewer fatalities than among the general population and were able to publish their work in an osteopathic journal since no scholarly journals were accepting chiropractic data.  The estimated death rate among patients of conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated at 5 to 6 percent while the fatality rate among influenza cases receiving spinal adjustments was estimated at 0.25%.

10. Adjustments don’t hurt

There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns!  The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined.  The adjustment involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific spinal bone.  The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise.  Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason in the past.  Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend stomp on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the motion of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater ease in moving the body, and being able to stand up taller.

The Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness Blog is written by Chris Cooper, DC.

Portland OR Chiropractors at Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness provide customized chiropractic care to the Portland OR, Gresham OR, Clackamas OR, Beaverton OR and Vancouver WA communities.  Visit our main website at eastportlandchiropractor.com

Choose several options to schedule your appointment: call (503) 257-1324 or request with our online form.


Adapted from O’Maley Mobile Wellness blog post http://omaleydc.com/chiropractic/10-things-most-people-dont-know-about-chiropractic/141/