Have you or people around you had some preconceived notions about chiropractic? Many people are curious about chiropractic treatment, the role that it plays in the Canadian health care system, and it’s benefits to their health. Today we are going to be sharing the top 6 common myths about chiropractic and debunking them. Think about this article like an FAQ that you probably already wonder about in your mind. Keep reading to find out more:

Chiropractors can only treat back pain

Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts and are trained in assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing bio-mechanical disorders that originate from the muscular, skeletal and nervous system. In addition to the evidence that supports chiropractic care in managing musculoskeletal complaints of the spine, there is also evidence that it supports chiropractic management of the extremities, headaches and pain. Chiropractors are also able to provide lifestyle counseling about nutrition, fitness and ergonomic advice, as well as prescribe rehabilitative stretches and exercises, among others that may be useful in managing or preventing a variety of health conditions. The health of your musculoskeletal system doesn’t just start with a healthy spine, you need to be fully aware of your body to maintain a well-rounded healthy lifestyle!

 A medical doctor must refer you to a chiropractor

In all provinces in Canada, chiropractors are primary care providers, which means you can access them directly. Due to the extensive training of chiropractors as diagnosticians, chiropractors will perform a comprehensive assessment to help determine a diagnosis or clinical impressions. Depending on the outcome, the chiropractor can discuss a course of care or refer to another healthcare professional, as needed.

Once you see a chiropractor you have to keep going back

This is false. When seeking care from a chiropractor, they will perform an assessment including a history and physical examination to determine the cause of the pain or dysfunction. From these observations, a diagnosis will be provided, and a treatment plan developed in collaboration with the patient – according to their needs and goals. The treatment plan may recommend a number of subsequent visits to see how the patient responds to care and schedule re-evaluations when indicated. Depending on the patient and the condition, the recommended course of care may vary. Ultimately, the decision to continue care is yours. As a patient, if you have questions or concerns about care, you should feel comfortable to ask the chiropractor for more information on the recommendations made and address any concerns. The care plan should be part of a shared decision-making between the patient and practitioner.

 Chiropractors are not ‘real’ doctors

Chiropractors are regulated in all 10 Canadian provinces and are designated to use the title “doctor” similar to physicians, optometrists, and dentists after completing the extensive Doctor of Chiropractic degree program. The professions that are recognized to use the “doctor” title have extensive training in their area of expertise that allows them to be diagnosticians – to provide a diagnosis.

There is no evidence to support the effectiveness of chiropractic care

The chiropractic profession and researchers have invested significant resources to build a robust body of evidence studying the impact of manual therapies on musculoskeletal conditions. For example, spinal and joint manipulation has been shown to be effective treatment for acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, like back pain.

Adjustments are painful

In general, adjustments or joint manipulations do not hurt. In fact, many patients report immediate pain relief. Patients may be nervous about the ‘cracking’ or popping sound that may occur during an adjustment, but that cracking sound experienced is associated with the rapid creation of a gas-filled cavity within the synovial fluid when the joint is separated.  As an example, think of cracking your knuckles!

A bonus misconception about chiropractic: Chiropractors only perform adjustments.

This is false. In addition to adjustments (also referred to as joint manipulations), chiropractors also provide other manual and hands-on therapies including soft tissue therapy such as instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation (IASTM), acupuncture, customized therapeutic stretches and exercises, nutritional/dietary counseling, patient education, and more. As mentioned earlier, the recommended course of care will depend on the patient and condition.


Asking questions about your health and treatment options is especially important. You are a partner in your care and your participation is critical to helping chiropractors provide the best care to meet your goal. If you have any questions beyond this blog about chiropractic treatment, visit a chiropractor in your area.

To book an appointment with Evolve’s experienced chiropractor, please send an email to info@evolvevancouver.ca

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.