The Truth About Chiropractic… Is It a Scam?

truth about chiropractic

For decades, the most popular natural healthcare approach for treating back pain in the United States has been chiropractic.

And for good reason…

Chiropractic adjustments can help remove misalignments (“subluxations”) in your vertebrae.

Since virtually every function in your body is controlled by nerves which travel through and exit the spinal column, any spinal misalignment could potentially pinch a nerve.

Pinched nerves may cause pain. But they can negatively impact your health whether you have pain or not.

For example, a spinal subluxation might cause back pain. But it could just as easily affect the function of your heart, lungs, gallbladder, liver, stomach, kidneys and other organs.

So yes, a chiropractic adjustment could make a positive improvement in your life. But before you make another appointment with your local chiropractor, ask this question…

Why must you visit the chiropractor so often?

Many chiropractors encourage their patients to come in for adjustments as frequently as three times per week.

After an initial assessment, expect to spend a lot of time travelling back and forth to their office for 5- to 15-minute spinal adjustment sessions for the chiropractor to “crack your back” and neck.

And since “adjustments don’t hold” and “anything can subluxate your spine” from picking up a baby to watering the lawn, you’ve just signed on for a lifetime of treatments.

That’s led many to ask: Is chiropractic a scam?

There are two good reasons why those adjustments don’t hold. I’ll share both in a moment.

But first, let me reveal one of chiropractic’s best-kept secrets:

When chiropractors perform properly, you don’t have to visit them often at all!

Yet many chiropractors today have taken a different approach than chiropractic was founded on.

Rather than getting incredible results in one session, you’ve simply become their cash cow.

I know the difference firsthand.

My own chiropractor here in Austin (yes, I use one – but only once or twice a year!), Dr. Stephen Berman, follows the comprehensive approach developed by D. D. Palmer, the “founder of chiropractic,” in the late 1890s.

As Dr. Berman explains in the video below, D.D. Palmer’s patients in the age of horse and buggies and riverboats didn’t come to town three times a week. More like three times per year.

Those were the same patients that spread the fame of chiropractic after single adjustments… because a single session with the chiropractor worked.

Chiropractors trying to get their patients to come in three times a week would have been laughed out of town.

Or, honestly, the chiropractor might even have been thrown in jail for fraud.

Which brings me back to why most chiropractic adjustments don’t hold.

Good chiropractors adjust the whole body

Most chiropractors typically adjust only your back and neck. That wasn’t always the case.

It’s like the old kid’s song…

“The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone. The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone. The knee bone connected to the thigh bone.” And so on.

That’s the first reason typical chiropractic adjustments have limited effect and don’t hold… you’re only getting a partial adjustment!

Early chiropractic treatment was far more comprehensive. Every joint in the body was manipulated to ensure it was properly aligned.

That’s the approach my chiropractor takes.

In his video, Dr. Berman shares a brief history of chiropractic, then demonstrates on actual patients what legit chiropractic assessments and manipulations should look like.

Watch the video then compare his comprehensive chiropractic technique – the one I get once or twice a year, based on the original chiropractic method – with the adjustments given at your local chiropractor’s office (especially if they’re asking you to come back again in three days).

There’s still another reason chiropractic adjustments fail to hold.

It was summed up nicely by one of our customers several years ago:

“Bones only go where our muscles put them.” 

Yes, your spine and other bones and joints may be out of proper alignment. And a chiropractic adjustment can help restore balance.

But muscle imbalances – where one set of muscles are overdeveloped and tight in one area of your body while the opposing muscles are weak and stretched out of their normal position – will quickly pull your skeletal system back into old patterns.

While your bones and joints may seem “frozen” in a misaligned position, it’s your muscles which put them there.

For example, one of the most common postural dysfunctions I see is a forward tipped pelvis.

Years of sitting… at work, in the car, at the dining room table… tightens and strengthens those muscles in your hip flexors, quadriceps and lower back used to keep you in a seated position while stretching out and weakening the opposing, less used muscles in your hamstrings, glutes and abs.

Forward Tipped Pelvis vs Neutral Pelvis

This muscle imbalance pulls your pelvis forward, creates numerous muscle strains and, when left uncorrected, causes severe pain and physical dysfunctions.

The cure is simple.

Align your muscles to align your bones

Stretch only the overly tight muscles. And strengthen only the weak muscles. This imbalanced form of exercise eliminates the muscle imbalance so your body can naturally assume a neutral posture.

Notice, that’s not the same as the generic chart of exercises most chiropractors hand out to every patient presenting with back pain.

You’re an individual. And your body has its own unique set of muscle imbalances and postural dysfunctions created over your lifetime.

Which is why you need a personalized, comprehensive approach to assessing and reversing muscle imbalances just like you need a chiropractor who takes a personalized, comprehensive approach to chiropractic.

You can get the right chiropractor by finding one who practices the technique demonstrated by Dr. Berman in the video above.

And you can ensure your chiropractic adjustments “hold” with the correct stretching and strengthening exercises to eliminate your own muscle imbalances.

Our Lose the Back Pain® System was developed precisely for that purpose. It walks you step-by-step through easily identifying your own postural dysfunctions and related muscle imbalances, then gives you the exact stretching and strengthening exercises – for your unique situation – to return you to a normal, neutral posture.

And… like most who try it… you may never need a chiropractor for back pain again.

Lose the Back Pain SystemClick Here to See How You Can Try
Lose the Back Pain® Risk Free for 90 Days!


The biggest problem with chiropractic care

Like I said earlier, I personally use chiropractic care. But I don’t visit Dr. Berman expecting him to solve every health issue I may have.

Yet many chiropractors seem to suggest everything short of a broken bone can be helped by chiropractic.

That’s little different than your typical MD who thinks drugs or surgery are the answer to virtually every complaint.

Both have fallen victim to “single-tool mentality.”

You’ve heard the adage before. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

Yes, chiropractic care may help. But what if your pain is caused by a trigger point in your upper back? A spinal adjustment probably won’t get it to release.

Or perhaps a magnesium deficiency is causing your back pain? Again, an adjustment won’t help.

For optimal health and pain-free living, you must adopt a holistic, big-picture view of how your body operates.

For decades I’ve studied the pathways to – and back out of – pain. And I’m here to tell you no single solution fits everyone.

Yes, there are common root sources of pain, such as muscle imbalances. But you still have to look at diet, trigger points, spinal compression, stress, mental attitude, and more. The list goes on and on. I’ve covered these major sources of pain, and how to overcome them, in my Complete Healing Formula package.

If you’d like to discover for yourself how to live a truly healthy, pain-free life, I’d like to give it to you FREE.

All I ask is that you give it a fair shake. Listen to both audio CDs and make some simple changes in your life.

To make sure you enjoy life to the max, without fear of pain, I’ll also give you a free trial of my monthly Live Pain Free®  newsletter so you can stay on the right track.

Each month, if you decide to remain a subscriber (no obligation!), I’ll forward you another issue jam-packed with the latest natural health news and actionable tips for living a pain-free life. Plus, I include a CD in every issue where I interview another top natural health experts to bring their valuable insights direct to you.

What do you have to lose, but your pain?

Click here now to watch a personal video from yours truly explaining the most common sources of pain and ask for your FREE copy of the Complete Healing Formula…

Filed Under: Back Pain, Video
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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29 thoughts on “The Truth About Chiropractic… Is It a Scam?”

  1. Cassandra says:

    How do I find a chiropractor such as this in my area? What do I ask?

    1. Tom says:

      Yes – how does one search for this type of chiropractic therapy? Is there a specific name of the “style” of therapy? Is there an organization to which members of this form of practice belong that I could search to find a practitioner in my area? My searches for full body chiropractic services in Pittsburgh have turned up nothing in terms of people who state that they clearly offer this kind of service. Any help in guiding end users like us to finding chiropractic practitioners of this caliber would be most appreciated.

      1. Don Younger says:

        where can I find a doctor that can do this

        1. Jeannette McNicol says:

          Bowen chiropractors do this kind of therapy . It is gentle, and realigns tendons and muscles, and requires very few visits. After years of ‘bone crunchers’ , who just seemed to make me worse, I have nothing but praise for my Bowen chiropractor–and have recommended her to many people, who are equally happy with her .

          1. stevec says:

            We love Bowen Therapy, too! However, there are significant differences between that and regular chiropractic.

            For those interested in learning more about Bowen Therapy, we wrote an article and shared a video on it – click the link below to see it.

            Bowen Therapy: Australian for Pain Relief

            Steve Coombes
            Editorial Director

  2. Linda Roberson says:

    Why not also help with a list by state of those doctors who do this sort of treatment as well?
    This would also help and allow more of my cash flow to go toward your products and not for repeated doctor visits which are an hour away costing also gas as well as my valuable time.
    I have used your amazing back pills but the cost of those and my treatments my pension budget will not allow. So compile a list of good doctors and we can suppliment with your back pills which I did find great results with when I used the sample bottle. I also use the cream and carry a tube with me as it works on my stiff hands so very well. Thank you so much.
    Linda Roberson

    1. cathy harrison says:

      Linda youre right. Drs are cashing in on sick folks and not delivering the services promised. Nowadays youre better off treating self.

  3. Pat says:

    The other thing that younger, newer chiropractors are doing is using a “plunger” type tool instead of manually adjusting your back. They cannot “feel” what is happening and may cause unknown damage, such as broken spinal processes, that has to be repaired with major spine surgery by a neurosurgeon. If you use a chiropractor rather than an osteopath, make sure everything is done manually, as well as making sure you get a full body adjustment. An osteopath is trained to only give full body adjustments and only use his/her hands — no tools! I had 3 pieces of bone that migrated to my sciatic nerve after a chiropractic adjustment, (took 3 months to diagnose) and major neurosurgical spine surgery, after a two chiropractic adjustments. Now I have sequelae that caused permanent damage. Of course, I cannot prove that the three pieces of bone that had to be removed surgically, were caused by the chiropractic treatment, but there is no other explanation.

  4. Charles Overbeck says:

    Do you have any names of this kind of chiropractic in the Longview or Tyler area of Texas?
    Chuck Overbeck

  5. Stephen R Stanfield says:

    You are way off course here. Read about NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Association and Atlas Chiroprators. C-1 is the only vertebra that needs adjusting, and one only needs to go when it is needed. You will know when to go. Dr. George Berry in Longview, Tx and Dr. Cecilia Yu in Dallas, Tx. I believe there is one in Austin area, but have not been to one there. Google it for one in your area. Atlas uses sound to make the adjustment and NUCCA uses hand manipulation with very slight pressure. No cracking or popping of joints. I was scheduled for injections and being prepared for surgery. All five lowers are bulging. Luckily found out about this technique the week before injections. That was three years ago. Back to playing golf.

    1. Birdie Allard says:

      LOVE LOVE NUCCA!!! it is VERY effective for me…

  6. Tom says:

    This video was amazing! I had no idea how comprehensive a chiropractic examination “should be”. My first visit to a chiropractic office was within the past two weeks,and the level of attention to detail was not even close to 10% of what was demonstrated here. I was asked to come back twice a week for a period of a few months to alleviate some minor aches and pains in my back. I will now be searching for a much more thorough practitioner. Thank you for this invaluable information!

  7. William Thursland says:

    Do you have any names of chiropractors who do this adjustment in the St. Charles,Illinois area?

  8. William Thursland says:

    Very Interesting.

  9. Greg Hyde says:

    Can you give me the name of a Doctor (Osteo/Chiro) in the North Orange County, Calif. who practices this method. I had such an Old School Chiropractor (Dr. Minor), but he passed on several years ago. His adjustments took 30 minutes, were head to toe and kept me going for several weeks/months. I haven’t found anyone yet that is a fraction as good as he was.

  10. stephen says:

    Yes, it would help to have a directory or some place to find these types of services.

  11. LisA says:

    You need to provide information and resources for us to find a doctor in our area who can help us Using this method. Otherwise your information is worthless

    1. Mica M. M. says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I just spent over an hour trying to find such a doctor here in Arizona. I still haven’t found the needle in this haystack. Anyone know of a good chiropractor that works with this method in Scottsdale or N. Phoenix? Ever thankful.

  12. stevec says:

    We’ve had several comments requesting a list or directory of chiropractors providing this kind of service. The problem is they ALL call themselves chiropractors but not all will follow the same standard and thoroughness of care.

    Just like you would want to do your own due diligence before choosing a doctor for your medical care (they may all be MDs, but not all will prioritize natural patterns of care over the surgery & drug model), you will also need to do your own due diligence before hiring a chiropractor or any other healthcare professional.

    The purpose of the article and video are to, in part, help you identify what to look for in a chiropractor. We cannot stress enough – ALWAYS due your own due diligence! It’s YOUR health!

    Steve Coombes
    Editorial Director

    1. Justin says:

      Perhaps a follow-up blog post with questions to ask a chiropractor in or to pre-screen them before making an appointment? I think that would be very helpful!

      1. stevec says:

        Good idea, Justin. Thanks for the suggestion.

        Steve Coombes
        Editorial Director

  13. Ron Gorick says:

    Do you have any names of chiropractors in the Mount Pleasant South Carolina area.

    1. peter hodgetts says:

      the video on youtube states “Dr. Steve Berman demonstrates the Berman Chiropractic Technique.”

  14. Corrie Lavina Knight says:

    My current chiropractor is the 8th or 9th (I’ve lost count) I’ve seen in three countries, on two different continents, over a period of 28 years. He is by far the best chiropractor I have visited anywhere. His initial treatment was nearly as comprehensive as in this video, though I must admit, I have yet to encounter the balloon technique. He does have a little collapsible foot board thing that helps him do adjustments in the feet, and there are times when, if necessary or at a patient’s request, he will use an activator. Not every visit to him is a ” total body ” adjustment, but each visit is by far more comprehensive than that of any other doctor I’ve seen for chiropractic treatments.

    Dr. Philip Aumann
    Bozeman Family Chiropractic
    Bozeman, MT

  15. Rhenry says:

    I had a chiropractor stretch my back 40 times, saying it was a muscle problem. It actually was a bone problem. As a result of this power table, my 2 discs collapsed. I then had surgery to remove the discs and fuse the area. I had a great surgeon, and outcome. I am active, and so glad to have had the surgery that gave me my life back. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I take care of my health, exercise to keep back muscles strong, pain free.

  16. Dr. Jolene Kuty, Doctor of Chiropractic says:

    Chiropractic care works best when combined with exercises, soft tissue work and manual spinal adjustments. However, each patient is different and chiropractors try to find the best tools for that patient to use. Chiropractic is a science and art. Find the doctor who listens to you and works with your specific needs.

  17. Allen says:

    Well, I’m a chiropractor, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner. I practiced as a high volume chiropractor for 10 years. I’ve used many techniques. Chiropractors are great at “talk medicine” and that’s not a criticism. Our education prepares us to be great “musculo-skeletal” practitioners (simplified term) but woefully inadequate to deal with any other condition. I didn’t say inadequate to “understand” or even “diagnose” any other condition–I said “deal” (treat) with it. Manipulation of joints has it’s proven therapeutic value but you can hardly make a living doing it without high volume, chiropractic is relatively cheap care. Where my colleagues get into trouble is applying a specific therapy to a broad spectrum of conditions and espousing a panacea approach by “optimising” your health. They are not alone in this broad reach. I’ve seen this done in every medical and dental specialty, too. A portion of each profession trying to wash the lines away so they can practice a little more “out of scope”. I won’t comment on specific criticisms of chiropractic but I will say it is useful in conditions requiring improved mobility and strength. In an nutshell there isn’t much difference b/t a good DPT. and a D.C. anymore. A D.O. who chooses to manipulate may be a more knowledgeable practitioner but unless they do manipulation often they will be poor in their skills. Automatically assuming a physician is the best person to perform these maneuvers is a mistake. Equally, automatically assuming a chiropractor has made a correct diagnosis is a mistake, too. In Chiropractic, differential diagnosis is very limited to neuromusculoskeletal conditions and chiro’s very seldom get exposure to living, breathing examples of abnormal pathology or anatomy. That can be said of a lot of practitioners. So in general if chiropractic helps you, great! Just be an informed consumer and remember the responsibility for your care lies with you first, not your provider, and one type of provider does NOT fit all conditions. Take a team approach and know each of your providers strengths and weaknesses.

  18. Mike daugherty says:

    I had a very bad experience with a chiropractor.He gave me one adjustment for my low back pain.

    he told me to put ice pack on my back that evening.The next day I was in excruciating pain and had to be driven to the hospital where I was injected with a pain killer in my low back.

  19. Claire Masters says:

    My brother was in a minor car accident yesterday and has since been complaining about his hip. So, I am looking up information if a chiropractor could help him. Thanks for mentioning here that treatment should always be customized and comprehensive to the specific needs of the patient.

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