Chiropractic wellness is a topic that is not often discussed, as only about 10% of the population report having regular visits to the chiropractor– while only about 50% of people have ever been to see one. This ratio is even lower among Black people, as chiropractic care is not often discussed or utilized among Black Americans. Chiropractic care is easily accessible, as it is often much cheaper than more invasive and riskier medical procedures. There are more and more Black chiropractors entering the field in recent years, as well as many educational and informative resources about chiropractic medicine available so that anyone of any color can benefit from these extremely helpful and relatively safe therapeutic techniques.
One study from 2012 found that 97% of chiropractic patients are white, while Black people only make up 1%, with the remaining percentages being comprised of other racial minorities. This is due to a number of reasons including the general distrust of medical professionals among the Black community, as well as the lack of Black chiropractors currently in the profession. Black chiropractors make up only 1.6% of the practitioners in the United States. These statistics turn Black people away from chiropractic care, despite its many benefits and the fact that it is covered by Medicare.
Due to the disparities in health trends among Black United States residents, prioritizing physical and mental health through self-care is imperative. Black people are disproportionately affected by chronic pain as well as the majority of life-threatening illnesses and complications; including heart disease, high blood pressure, infant mortality, breast cancer, COVID-19, and pregnancy-related deaths. Black people in America could benefit greatly from regular chiropractic care as well as other forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices.
The many benefits of chiropractic care amount to better overall well-being. Studies have shown that improper spine alignment can be the cause of pain not only in the back, but throughout the entire body. Chiropractic care addresses the root causes of pain, preventing its resurgence and ensuring the issue remains fixed. It is also one of the few completely natural forms of medicine. Regular chiropractic care allowed patients who suffer from chronic spinal pain to scale back use of highly-addictive opioids for pain management. Chiropractic visits are also relatively low-risk because there is no need for invasive surgery, unlike many other medical treatments.
While there is no direct evidence that chiropractic care can prevent diseases, there are many secondary benefits of chiropractic care that may reduce the risk of acquiring a disease in the first place. There is a growing body of evidence to support the use of chiropractic care to reduce stress levels and manage chronic stress. Chronic stress has been linked to cognitive impairment and mental health issues as well as a range of metabolic and cardiovascular health issues. The stresses faced by the Black community today in America are significant and include social, financial, racial, and physical stressors. Having access to a cheap, safe, and effective stress reduction technique such as chiropractic care can be an invaluable tool for improving mental health, physical health, the risk for disease, and overall quality of life.
Some helpful resources for chiropractic and other complementary medical practices for Black people include:
Live To Sustain – 5 Black Acupuncturists to Follow: A thoughtful article with great social media suggestions to follow and support Black acupuncturists all over the country.
National Association of Black Physical Therapists, Inc. (NABPT): An organization that was founded to address the emotions and feelings of minorities breaking into the field of physical therapy, their site offers a national directory of Black physical therapists and an event schedule.
American Black Chiropractic Association (ABCA): This organization works to increase the awareness and visibility of chiropractic medicine within the Black community and offers a directory of Black chiropractors all across the United States.
Black Acupuncturists Association: A national platform for Black and Brown acupuncturists in the United States including state-specific directories to find minority acupuncturists in your area.
Black Community Resource: This website has a state-by-state directory for physical and mental health resources for Black people, as well as links to self-help and economic assistance.
Spine Health: This is a group of medical professionals that provides users with highly informative blog posts for understanding and seeking appropriate treatment for back and neck pain. Although it isn’t specific to Black people, it is still an incredibly helpful resource.
The Chiropractic Research Organization: This site is also not specific to Black people, however, they are the oldest and most extensive compilation of chiropractic and CAM resources on the Internet.
Some helpful fitness and self-care resources for Black people include:
African American Leadership Forum – Community Healing Initiative: A group based in Minnesota that conducts several virtual classes and groups, including fitness and mental health support, that is centered around Black healing.
Today – 5 Black Wellness Experts Share How They Practice Self Care: The title says it all in this article from Today.
L.A. Times – 10 Black-Owned Fitness Businesses That Offer Virtual Classes: The title says it all, but this article lists a variety of helpful health and wellness resources for Black people, by Black people.
American Psychological Association – Racial Stress and Self-Care: This very informative article includes parenting tips to help Black children deal with racial stress and self-care as well as providing helpful tips.
NBC News – Black Fitness Stars: This NBC story highlights Black fitness stars who are using their platform to increase awareness for Black mental health and self-care. It includes an inspiring video and some great women to follow for virtual fitness classes and inspiration.
Afropunk: This guide entitled “Radical Self Care” provides an extensive list of 25 self-care tips for Black people to implement in to their daily routine.
Heal Haus: A diverse group of wellness practitioners that offer virtual yoga, meditation, workshops and more.
Semi Crunchy Mama: This article is not specific to Black people but gives 50 ideas for physical self-care that include a number of unique and thoughtful activities.
Black Health Matters: This Black wellness site has compiled 4 pages of fitness articles including everything from kids and family exercises to yoga, running and various workout guides.
Afro Tech: This article from Afro Tech provides “6 Black Fitness Trainers You Can Support Virtually”.