Is Chiropractic Really Considered “Alternative” In Today’s Society?

Many patients who hear the term “alternative medicine” immediately assume the methods being practiced are less legitimate or useful than those used in conventional medicine. However, a lot of people are surprised to find out that chiropractic is considered an alternative practice, despite its ability to potentially develop successful results.

When it comes to musculoskeletal pain, surgery and medication are usually considered the two “conventional” forms of treatment. Outside of these methods are numerous other forms of alternative health care, including massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic. Even today, chiropractic is still referred to as alternative medicine. However, the term might not mean exactly what it appears to mean at the outset.

At Ideal Spine, we embrace the term “alternative medicine” because we believe in a non-invasive, holistic approach to wellness. Where traditional medicine involves surgery, pain medications, and extremely high treatment costs, chiropractic remains gentle and accessible.

What is alternative medicine?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), two different terms can represent medical practices outside mainstream or conventional medicine: complementary and alternative.

“Complementary medicine” refers to medical practices that are used alongside conventional medical approaches. For example, a patient suffering from lower back pain takes prescribed painkillers from their physician but also visits a chiropractor. The chiropractic treatment is complementary to the painkillers.

“Alternative medicine,” on the other hand, refers to medical practices that are used in place of conventional medicine, not in tandem with it. The NCCIH states that true alternative medicine is actually uncommon, as most patients use a blend of conventional and complementary approaches to ease pain and discomfort.

The confusion between the terms, then, is simply because people have grown to use the two terms interchangeably.

Why is chiropractic considered alternative or complementary?

Whether chiropractic methods are considered “alternative” or “complementary” depends on whether a patient is using chiropractic in tandem with or in place of medication or surgery. The reason chiropractic is not considered conventional is because, like other alternative forms of musculoskeletal treatments including acupuncture, yoga, or homeopathy, it is not taught in medical schools.

Medical Doctors (M.D.) are not licensed to practice chiropractic adjustment. Instead, chiropractors must undergo approximately four years of training in the classroom and working hands-on with patients to receive their Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree.

However, the label of alternative or contemporary does not mean chiropractic adjustment is less effective. In fact, numerous studies have suggested that chiropractic does benefit some people with lower back pain. Chiropractic is actually regarded as one of the most popular forms of alternative treatment among adults.

Will chiropractic work for you?

If you suffer from lower back pain, speak with your physician about chiropractic adjustments and whether they would be a good treatment to add or replace any existing conventional treatments. Many doctors will recommend chiropractic treatment to patients, particularly those who do not want to use strong painkillers to aid their discomfort. Always make sure to discuss any complementary treatments you are using to ease back pain with your doctor.

If you are interested in chiropractic treatment for your pain, consult with an Ideal Spine chiropractor regarding a tailored Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) plan. Do not be deterred because it is not considered conventional medicine! Despite its “alternative” label, chiropractic treatment may help you ease joint pain and improve mobility in your back and neck through spinal readjustments.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See for providers in your area.

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Meridian, ID 83642

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