Going Beyond Results

Just because a treatment of some kind may produce results doesn’t mean the theory behind that treatment is true. Psychoanalysis certainly helps some people but at least some of Freud’s theories have been surpassed by evidence-based science. I’ve seen positive responses to nerve blocks and meditation but have yet to see a strong theory backed up by enough evidence to give a complete explanation of how they help.

Looking at it another way, just because Tylenol may take away your headache doesn’t mean your headache was caused by a lack of Tylenol. Nevertheless some may reason that because their back felt better after a chiropractic adjustment, the back being misaligned, i.e. out of adjustment, caused the problem.

This kind of reasoning is just not logical. In chronic back pain we now know there are factors beyond mechanical alignment of the spine that contribute to the sensation of pain. In those cases where adjustments (or injections or drugs) lead to relief, other things such as expectation, relaxation or the compassion and warmth shown by the person giving the treatment may be as important as the manipulation or pill.

I’m all for a treatment that works. However, understanding how it works will lead to better treatments and we could certainly use more of those.