Since it’s conception in 1895, chiropractic has had a hard time establishing a positive image amongst the general population. Of course, there are plenty of people who have used chiropractors over the years. And for the most part, people are pleased with their experience. But in spite of that, the image of chiropractic as a whole has remained to be negative.

A patient first…

Now I’m not just saying that as a chiropractor. I was a patient once too. I remember my first experience going to a chiropractor. I had been referred by a family member because I was having terrible headaches. I insisted that I was NOT going to go “see a quack doctor.” Ultimately, my headaches got bad enough that I decided to try the “quack doctor” and since I am a chiropractor, it should come as no surprise when I say the experience changed my life.

It works…

Turns out that my experience with chiropractic isn’t uncommon. Chiropractic works and it has been helping people get well for over 100 years. So what’s the deal? Why is there such a negative image?

What’s the deal?

Well, there are a lot of reasons for this. But one of the big ones has to do with a misconception about the benefits of chiropractic. Often times I have heard people accuse chiropractors of “thinking they can cure everything.” This is a simple misunderstanding because chiropractors haven’t done a good job explaining the obvious benefits of chiropractic vs the its off-label benefits.  Let me explain.

Warning: Analogy ahead…

In the medical world, drugs are approved by the FDA for certain uses. Those approved uses are considered the on-label uses for that particular medication. But those same drugs are often prescribed by doctors for other, non-approved uses. An asthma medication could be prescribed for COPD  or a depression medication prescribed for sleep disorders. These are considered the off-label uses for that drug. They aren’t the primary uses, but they have been shown to work.

Back to Chiropractic…

Everyone knows that chiropractors work with the spine. So it’s not difficult for people to believe that chiropractic care can help with neck pain, back pain, headaches or something else along those lines. I consider those the standard or on-label uses for chiropractic. They are widely accepted and approved.

Off label chiropractic?

But are their any off-label benefits of chiropractic? Well, this is where it can get tricky. You see, chiropractic actually got its start from an off-label benefit. The very first adjustment back in 1895 was done on a guy that had lost his hearing and his hearing was restored. That’s pretty amazing stuff!

Now does that mean that everyone who is deaf just needs an adjustment? Absolutely not.

Not just the spine…

But chiropractic care isn’t just about the spine. It’s about how the spine relates to the nervous system and how that relationship effects your overall health. It’s much bigger than just backs and necks.

Lots of benefits…

This is why so many people who go to the chiropractor will report health benefits that they didn’t expect. Breathing better, sleeping better, needing fewer medications and getting sick less often are common place for chiropractic patients. Chiropractors see colicky babies settle down, kids who stop wetting the bed and countless other non-spine health problems improve while people are under their care.

But wait! It’s starting to sound like you believe chiropractors can cure everything. Absolutely not. Chiropractic isn’t a magic cure-all. It never has been and it never will be.


For over 100 years, chiropractic care has been shown to have some amazing on-label benefits as well as off-label benefits. As a profession, we have not done a very good job of explaining the difference and why exactly these things happen. So to the average person, it can be confusing.

The truth in the middle…

Because of this, some chiropractors completely shy away from discussing anything but neck pain and back pain. Others go the opposite way and talk about the amazing off-label benefits of chiropractic as if anyone and everyone will experience the same results if they just get an adjustment. Both of those approaches are extremes. The truth about the benefits of chiropractic lies somewhere in-between.

Bottom Line: That here are some amazing benefits to chiropractic care. And if you are a chiropractic patient, you have likely experienced them. Some of the benefits are unexpected and may even seem a little strange. But don’t worry. Those are just the off-label benefits of chiropractic care. Enjoy!

Jerry Kennedy
Jerry Kennedy

Jerry Kennedy is a chiropractor, podcast host, and founder of, a community where people-centered chiropractors can connect and grow.