Our expert says:
No, I wouldn't. I'm not convinced that a chiro is the best, simple answer. Then again, some physios will be worse than some chiropractors - it's generalizing to say that one is better than another simply because of a different course of study. An excellent practitioner, regardless of their specialization would be better than an incompetent specialist. I'm sure your wife would do an excellent job, and I've met some physios who could destroy a patient! Then again, I've seen the opposite too. The qualification is less important to me than the approach a person would take, and physio is more conservative.
But basically, the reason I would commit to suggesting one over the other is because when the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then every single problem looks like a nail.
And what I'm getting at here is that the initial poster had a back problem which may have had its origins in the hamstrings, in the muscle, in the nerves, or the back. Not purely in the alignment of the vertebrae, which is of course the fundamental theory underpinning chiropractic medicine.
To me, a physiotherapist who specializes in a range of such injuries is in a better position to diagnoze and treat an injury. If they deem a referral necessary, then so be it.
There are also some concerns over chiropractic methods. Scientifically, the complete absence of proof for the sub-laxation theory is a big question mark for me, though I accept that we don't know everything, and many types of treatment are effective for unknown reasons.
At least, the basis is sometimes questionable. For example, a study in the scientific journal Stroke showed that people younger than 45 who had experienced stroke were 5 times more likely to have visited a chiro within the week of the event (Stroke 2001;32:1054-60). That's what I meant by the more conservative advice being physio.
I didn't say not to see a chiro. Of course this is an option. I just think the more conservative, "holistic" approach would be physio.
Oh, and just to add, what constitute a "doctor's degree" is in a name. They're not medical doctors, so it's a little misleading (as is the case for optometry and dentistry, incidentally). I feel once again that you're a little hung up on the qualification, I seem to remember this previously.
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