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A large number of chiropractors fear that if they do not separate themselves from the traditional vitalistic concept of innate intelligence, chiropractic will continue to be seen as a fringe profession.[22] A variant of chiropractic called naprapathy originated in Chicago in the early twentieth century.[35][36] It holds that manual manipulation of soft tissue can reduce "interference" in the body and thus improve health.[36]

Early opposition to water fluoridation included chiropractors, some of whom continue to oppose it as being incompatible with chiropractic philosophy and an infringement of personal freedom. Other chiropractors have actively promoted fluoridation, and several chiropractic organizations have endorsed scientific principles of public health.[223] In addition to traditional chiropractic opposition to water fluoridation and vaccination, chiropractors' attempts to establish a positive reputation for their public health role are also compromised by their reputation for recommending repetitive lifelong chiropractic treatment.[32]

There is a wide range of ways to measure treatment outcomes.[91] Chiropractic care, like all medical treatment, benefits from the placebo response.[92] It is difficult to construct a trustworthy placebo for clinical trials of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), as experts often disagree about whether a proposed placebo actually has no effect.[93] The efficacy of maintenance care in chiropractic is unknown.[12]


I am a science writer and a former Registered Massage Therapist with a decade of experience treating tough pain cases. I was the Assistant Editor of ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I’ve written hundreds of articles and several books, and I’m known for readable but heavily referenced analysis, with a touch of sass. I am a runner and ultimate player. • more about me • more about PainScience.com

Your neck and shoulders contain muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, and veins, as well as many ligaments and other supporting structures. Many conditions can cause pain in the neck and shoulder area. In fact, neck pain is the third most common type of pain according to the American Pain Foundation. It is estimated that 70% of people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives.


Paige, N. M., Miake-Lye, I. M., Booth, M. S., Beroes, J. M., Mardian, A. S., Dougherty, P., ... Shekelle, P. G. (2017, April 11). Association of spinal manipulative therapy with clinical benefit and harm for acute low back pain: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Jama, 317(14), 1451–1460. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2616395
Holism assumes that health is affected by everything in an individual's environment; some sources also include a spiritual or existential dimension.[34] In contrast, reductionism in chiropractic reduces causes and cures of health problems to a single factor, vertebral subluxation.[32] Homeostasis emphasizes the body's inherent self-healing abilities. Chiropractic's early notion of innate intelligence can be thought of as a metaphor for homeostasis.[30]

Holism assumes that health is affected by everything in an individual's environment; some sources also include a spiritual or existential dimension.[34] In contrast, reductionism in chiropractic reduces causes and cures of health problems to a single factor, vertebral subluxation.[32] Homeostasis emphasizes the body's inherent self-healing abilities. Chiropractic's early notion of innate intelligence can be thought of as a metaphor for homeostasis.[30]

Some skin problems on the neck can cause neck pain, but are usually obvious — most people will identify them as “skin problems on the neck” and not “a neck problem affecting the skin.” Herpes zoster (shingles) [CDC] causes a painful rash, cellulitis [Mayo] is extremely painful but superficial, and a carbuncle[Wikipedia] … well, it’s just a super zit, basically. If you can’t diagnose that one on your own, I can’t help you!


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Some of the findings from my tests were things that I could fix at home, and others could be helped with hands-on chiropractic care, like an adjustment. In my case, I didn’t have a normal c-shaped curve in my neck. This can be caused by minor whiplash, sports injuries or even sitting forward all day (I spend a lot of time at work staring at a screen). The chiropractor recommended at-home care in the way of a rolled up towel or ergonomic pillow. These can help restore the curve in your neck.
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