I've always been skeptical about chiropractors, you know, mostly because of that persistent "chiropractors are quacks" rumor. So even though I've had some back-breaking aches in my day, I've never gone that particular pain management route. Just because I figured it wouldn't do anything to help.
Forget helping -- as it turns out, going to the chiropractor can actually HURT.
According to a recent study, most of the "randomized clinical trials" done on chiropractic treatments "failed to report any adverse effects."
Meaning, all of the randomized clinical patients who went crawling out of their chiropractor's office feeling worse than when they went in? The researchers just didn't bother mentioning those guys.
Uh, yikes!?!? That's pretty scary. But that's not even the scariest part ...
According to Professor Edzard Ernst (the dude who spearheaded this trial result-debunking effort):
"About 50% of patients seeing a chiropractor have adverse effects, which is staggering."
More to the point, the patients are staggering away from treatment ... and that's if they're lucky. "Adverse effects" can range from more pain to stroke (!?!?!), which is definitely worse than a backache.
What's the take-home lesson here? Proceed with extreme caution when it comes to your back. I've seen family and friends try everything from acupuncture to surgery to relieve their sometimes crippling back pain; some methods have worked, some have done the opposite (so far Advil and yoga are the only two things that have ever helped me, but not that much).
And it seems to me that the back is such a fragile, finicky mess of nerves and muscles and bone that pretty much any treatment carries the potential of risk.
Also, I think I just figured out the whole prescription painkiller addiction epidemic thing.
Have you ever been to a chiropractor? Did it help or make things worse?
Image via Andreanna Moyer/Flickr