Everyone has that one friend, neighbor, or coworker who swears by their chiropractor. They say their pain has vanished and their posture is amazing. They’re happy to demonstrate all the movements they couldn’t do before. You’re impressed, but are you convinced?
While some of us might make a weekly trip to the chiropractor, others see the practice as a pseudo-scientific hoax — a guy in a white coat getting dangerously close to snapping your neck. So who’s got the right idea? Experts have weighed in, the real story about the effectiveness of chiropractors is out for all to see.
Chiropractics officially started less than 150 years ago, though many took a crack at it before then. Literally. Without professionals, people would crack their own backs, resulting in injuries and even death. But then, a man in Iowa had an idea.
In 1895, Daniel David Palmer suggested that cracking people’s backs could heal other parts of the body. He believed “misaligned vertebrae” was the root cause of most diseases. Where did he get such an idea? Apparently, it started with a joke.
Daniel David Palmer
The janitor at Palmer’s workplace had hearing issues. One day, the janitor told Palmer a joke that caused Palmer to laugh so hard, he slapped the maintenance man on the back. This slap just so happened to hit a lump in the janitor’s spine. A few days later, there was a “miracle.”
The janitor’s hearing was restored! This was enough to convince Palmer to pursue the study of vertebral treatment. But the founder of chiropractics was unconventional. He believed in magnetic healing and spiritualism, which stained the reputation of chiropractics. But today, the field looks very different.
U.S. Air Force
There are now over 70,000 active chiropractors in the United States. Unlike the inventor of the practice, these chiropractors have science on their side. They must attend a four-year graduate program with thousands of hours in training. So why are so many critics still on the fence?
Cleveland University-Kansas City
The nature of the treatment causes anxiety for many people. The idea of laying down to get cracked and crunched may not seem appealing, let alone medical. However, the benefits are increasingly difficult to ignore. Even major institutions are recognizing this fact.
Staff Sgt. Michael Ellis
The NFL has chiropractors for all 32 of their teams. When a player is injured, they’re sent for immediate treatment. Before the season begins, chiropractors help prevent injuries. In fact, some of the biggest names in sports have called chiropractics a lifesaver.
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Lance Armstrong, to name a few, have sworn by the positive effects of chiropractic care. When they feel their best, they’re one step ahead of the competition. The stats seem to agree. But is chiropractic care essential for the average person?
At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, chiropractors were among those deemed as essential workers. Up to 80% of all adults experience lower back pain that can be relieved with the help of a chiropractor. So why is the public view of chiropractors different than that of doctors, dentists, and other lines of work?
Unlike other medical practitioners, many view chiropractors as unprofessional. This is simply not true. Without the expert care of a chiropractor, people may attempt their own readjustment. Or worse, they might ask a friend, which can have devastating results — it’s happened before.
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson
A man in India suffered from a severed spinal cord and brain stem injury when he let his barber attempt to adjust his neck! Incidents like these are why experts are insisting that chiropractors be taken more seriously. The trick is looking at the research correctly.
Studies have examined the facts and myths of chiropractics’ effectiveness on a number of conditions. They found no significant effects on patients with asthma, gastrointestinal issues, fibromyalgia, or carpal tunnel syndrome. So when are chiropractics the most effective?
According to researchers, chiropractics has significant improvement on neck and shoulder pain, as well as sports injuries. Thus, chiropractics is considered a complementary medicine. This label is part of the negative image chiropractors have. But don’t let the definition fool you.
“Complementary” medicines include acupuncture, osteopathy, aromatherapy, herbalism, and, of course, chiropractics. They are considered “alternative” and “unconventional.” And yet, chiropractics is the only complementary medicine that requires rigorous study. This is no accident.
For years, chiropractors have been fighting for their image. They’ve won legal battles, created exhaustive programs, and changed the laws of the land to label chiropractors as true medical professionals. Who have they been fighting this whole time? Organized medicine.
Thanks to hostility from conventional medical institutions, chiropractors have faced astounding pushback. This led to a very dark time for early chiropractors in the United States, particularly those attempting to practice in private.
During a controversy in California, chiropractors operating “without a license,” which they were unable to receive at the time, were sent to jail. In a single year, over 450 chiropractors were locked up for malpractice. Even then, they practiced chiropractics on fellow inmates.
US Air Force
In 1922, California finally voted to allow chiropractors to obtain licenses. Those in jail were pardoned and released. These laws were passed throughout the entire country. However, the existence of the controversy has left a negative impression of chiropractics to this day.
The truth is, like any other medical professional, it’s important to learn about your chiropractor’s beliefs ahead of time. Some still subscribe to alternative medicines that you may not agree with. Others have multiple doctorates in many fields of medicine. It’s about finding the right match for you.
People are finally accepting chiropractics as an essential practice. In fact, it’s so essential that chiropractors have their own chiropractors! If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, do some research on chiropractors near you. Your body may love you for it! Meanwhile, educate yourself on other lesser-known medical issues.
In January 2020, the National Press Organization put together a four-day seminar called Covering Your Heart. Speakers from the cardiovascular industry came together to shed light on the critical issue of heart disease.
The heart — while only the size of a pear — literally pumps tons of gallons of blood through our arteries constantly to keep us alive, alert, and functioning day after day. Anything that impedes this flow results in serious problems.
No one wants to find themselves on the receiving end of a heart attack. No matter what kind of physical condition you’re in, it can happen due to a variety of factors. What they don’t tell you, however, is that there are differences with genders.
One of the greatest discrepancies speakers wanted to discuss was the difference between men and women when it came to heart failure. Depending on your genetic makeup, the affliction can strike in different ways.
The most damaging myth people tend to believe about heart disease is that it mostly affects men. Speakers at the conference made sure to highlight the absurdity of the myth.
Women, the speakers noted, are just as likely to suffer the consequences of heart disease. Both sexes need to watch their wellness if they intend on keeping their hearts clean of plaque and other unhealthy buildups. The myths did not stop there.
Another popular myth that too many people buy into is that women who suffer from cardiovascular disease don’t die nearly as often as men who are afflicted. This just isn’t true at all.
It’s a scary fact, but, as the speakers pointed out, disease caused by heart failure is actually the leading cause of death in both sexes. “In 2017, 418,655 women and 440,460 men died of cardiovascular disease.” That’s an alarming statistic.
Most of us also expect that cardiovascular disease symptoms look exactly the same in both men and women. Why wouldn’t they? It all has to do with the same organ, right? Doctors, as the speakers noted, will tell you differently.
Extensive research shows that women’s hearts physically look different even though the disease might be the same. The plaque buildup on the arteries and valves also affects the organ in different ways, since women have smaller hearts.
Hawaii News Now
See, a male heart attack exhibits all the symptoms people are familiar with: pressure or tightness in the chest, pain in the left arm, and shortness of breath. Women experience these attacks differently.
Women might experience pain in the upper back, neck, or maybe even in the stomach. The pain and discomfort can seem completely unrelated to the heart at all, and diagnosing an attack requires a more sensitive blood test.
Now, regardless of how cardiovascular disease might look in men and women, you’d expect both sexes to receive the same kind of hospital treatment during an emergency. But men reportedly receive better care.
We naturally hope that healthcare should be the same across the board, but a study performed from 2002 to 2008 involving over 30,000 patients found women were less likely to receive care that followed established health guidelines.
The care differed in a few ways. Women were less likely to be given proper medication immediately following attack (aspirin or beta blockers), and invasive emergency procedures weren’t performed by doctors as frequently.
In many cases, doctors failed to perform anti-blood clotting therapies within half an hour of a patient’s admission to the hospital, and also failed to execute timely coronary angioplasties, which clear artery blockage.
It also seemed that younger women experienced poor hospital treatment more frequently than older women. Doctors recommended to many of them to adopt a healthy lifestyle — but that’s not always so simple.
Dragging yourself to the gym even once a week for a grueling physical workout can be a difficult fitness regimen to follow. But we all know our bodies love us for it in the long run.
Maybe hitting the gym and lifting next to all those muscle heads isn’t your thing? Tons of people love to run, and a great cardio workout gets the blood pumping and the muscles going as well.
United States Air Force
There’s also a healthy diet! You can go to the gym as much as you want, but if you eat garbage you won’t ever see results. Speakers at the conference suggested super foods to include in a healthy diet. Some of them were a bit unconventional, however.
United States Army
1. Turmeric: This bright colored spice has been used as a medicinal and nutritional spice for centuries in other corners of the globe because it contains a compound called curcumin, which helps stop your heart from getting enlarged.
2. Seaweed: Don’t eat it straight out of the ocean or off your dog’s head, but do enjoy some properly prepared seaweed. It’s a rich source of iodine and can help prevent your blood from clotting and your arteries from hardening.
3. Carrots: Snowmen love them, and so should you. Carrots are filled with vitamins A, K, and C and their own antioxidant called carotenoids. Carrots prevent heart disease and also improve your vision! Best of all, you can also just snack on them raw. Yum!
4. Beets: These have a unique ability to lower the levels of homocysteine in your blood, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and strengthen your organs. They taste great with a little goat cheese!
5. Pomegranates: This fruit may look a little funny on the inside, and eating them takes some getting used to, but they’re bursting with vitamins and antioxidants that help prevent strokes, diabetes, and even Alzheimers!
6. Coffee: When you skip the double shot decaf pumpkin spice frappe-cappu with extra whipped cream, coffee is pretty healthy for you — in moderation. It can reduce your chances of heart failure and heart disease. Too much of it, though, can raise your blood pressure.
7. Broccoli: Yes, most of us hated having to eat broccoli when we were young, but it’s actually very beneficial to your health! It can reduce cholesterol, and it contains sulforaphane, which balances your blood sugar levels.
8. Chocolate: Believe it or not, chocolate is good for you, but it all depends on how you consume it! The darker the chocolate, the better, because milk and sugar — which you’ll find plenty of in lighter chocolates — aren’t great for your body.
9. Red wine: Surprise, surprise! This type of alcohol isn’t all bad for you! Red vino can reduce built-up cholesterol and keep your blood vessels flexible, which will reduce blood clots. However, the limit is one glass a day.
10. Lentils: These little beans are a wonderful option for vegetarians and gluten-free folks alike. They’re packed with protein but are low in calories, plus they taste great in salads and lentil soup!
11. Chia seeds: While they used to be sold as the fur for pet-shaped planters, nutritionists have since found a better use for chia seeds: juices, bowls, salads, you name it! They are an incredible source of fiber, antioxidants, omega-3s, and protein.
12. Grapefruit: You either love or hate this bitter fruit, but it’s definitely good for you. Grapefruits are loaded with fiber and potassium, as well as heart-happy things like lycopene and choline. Plus when you’re done eating, you can use the peel to make a helmet for your cat.
13. Asparagus: Eat some asparagus for vitamins A, C, E, and K, and many other minerals to promote regular digestion and decrease your risk of diabetes.
14. Almonds: Like all other nuts, almonds contain protein, but on top of that, they also contain a long list of nutrients that improve memory and intelligence and reduce your risk of diabetes. If you combine these with some very dark chocolate, you’ll have a party in your mouth and get double health benefits.
15. Garlic: Get ready to stink! Garlic is not only flavorful but it also helps lower plaque levels in your arteries to keep them from getting clogged. There are even garlic supplements you can buy. We should warn you though, this is not for vampires.
16. Blueberries: They’re a fun size, and they taste great in almost every sweet dish, but what most people don’t know is that blueberries lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cancer.
17. Quinoa: It’s alright if you don’t know how to pronounce it, just make sure to eat some once in a while! It has more than twice as much fiber as you’ll find in other grains, and it also contains protein, minerals, and essential amino acids. Just swap it in for rice and pasta, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
18. Avocados: There’s a good reason why people love ’em so much. Avocados add a nice, smooth, cool texture to rough foods like toast, salads, rice dishes, tacos, and of course as guac on some chips. They are filled with monounsaturated fats, a good kind of fat that helps hearts grow even stronger.
19. Oranges: Of course they’re juicy, sweet, and refreshing, but oranges are so much more. They contain a fiber that absorbs cholesterol as well as potassium, which neutralizes proteins that could potentially cause heart failure.
20. Cranberries: The main problem with cranberries is that they are very rare, so most foods and drinks that claim to contain cranberries are actually just cranberry flavored. However, when you find the real stuff, you can enjoy their antioxidants.
21. Chickpeas: These can be eaten raw, boiled, pan-fried, mashed, and turned into some delicious hummus dip. They contain fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B-6, and some protein. They’re incredibly healthy AND versatile!
22. Green tea: What’s the tea? Much like broccoli, green tea can lower your cholesterol, and its antioxidants cleanse your body of unwanted chemicals. With a little honey mixed in, it can also be great on a sore throat.
23. Apples: Unless your evil stepmother witch queen has poisoned them, you should totally eat more apples! Like green tea, there are plenty of flavors to choose from, all loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and a little caffeine. Don’t you want to keep that doctor away?
24. Oats: Get your spoon out and prepare to eat some oatmeal! It’s a filling, energizing breakfast full of fiber. Try to steer clear of those super sugary oatmeals, though, and add different fruits — or even just a touch of honey — instead.
25. Kale: Surely you’ve heard all the rage about kale, as it can be found in nearly every salad, smoothie, and pasta or rice dishes nowadays — and for good reason: it’s loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and (the good) omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a solid leafy green that helps prevent heart disease, so go ahead and jump on the kale train.
26. Eggplant: The only time some people consume eggplant is in an eggplant parm, and we’re sorry to say loads of cheese, bread crust, and marinara sauce in that won’t save you — but other eggplant dishes will. Enjoy the vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids (metabolites that help cell-signaling pathways and antioxidant effects).
27. Salmon: Don’t go crazy with eating fish, since you could get mercury poisoning or high cholesterol, but a balanced amount of fish, especially salmon, is excellent for your health. It’s packed with good omega-3 fatty acids, which can fight off blood clots, heart disease, and even dementia.
28. Chicken: You don’t NEED this in your diet, so don’t worry if you’re vegetarian, but for meat-eaters, chicken is one of the healthiest ways to go. It’s a lean protein that matches well with almost every dish, so it’s easy to eat.
29. Olive oil: Remember that some oils and fats are good for you! Extra-virgin is a healthier alternative to cooking with butter or animal fat, and it will help balance your blood sugar and reduce harmful cholesterol.
Alex / Flickr
30. Spinach: Popeye had it absolutely right — spinach is good for you and can make you strong since it’s packed with iron and vitamin K. You still need to exercise to be strong and healthy, but spinach will give you stronger bones, fewer blood clots, and lower the risk of heart disease.