A Visit to the Chiropractor: What Just Happened?

me on the weird massage bed

me on the weird massage bed

Having heard that I went to a chiropractor the other day, a friend asked what the doctor did. The most accurate answer I could offer was, “I’m not really sure he actually did anything.”

A few weeks ago, I had some very painful neck spasms that left me laid up in bed all day. Fortunately they subsided, and other than some residual stiffness, I’ve been fine since then.

But despite the improvement, my neck wasn’t 100%, and I had the sense that it went deeper than the muscle tissue. I figured a chiropractor was needed to take a closer look at my spine and perhaps realign it.

Now, I’ve never been to a chiropractor. I didn’t really know anything about what they do. Now, having been there twice, I still don’t know.

At both visits, I spent 20 minutes laying on my back while the table gave me a back massage while a device tickled my upper neck. This was fine, but it was kind of like going to the podiatrist and getting a foot massage–it didn’t seem like the type of thing to happen at a doctor’s office.

Then the chiropractor–who is very nice–cracks my neck twice, my back once, and sends me home.

What just happened?

If you’re reading this as someone who knows anything about chiropractics, I’m genuinely asking, not judging. I truly don’t know what–if anything–happened. Is neck cracking a medical procedure? Am I healed? It feels the same as before.

It’s odd: For so long now I’ve associated doctors with (a) identifying a specific problem through quantitative measures and (b) almost always fixing the problem with some sort of medication or invasive procedure that any other approach seems like pseudoscience. But I don’t want to disregard it just because it’s different.

What do you think? I’m supposed to go back for more visits, but today’s visit was a 90-minute round trip, and I don’t want to spend 90 minutes of my time doing something that amounts to nothing.