Other Disease Processes: Although neck pain is commonly caused by strain, prolonged pain and/or neurologic deficit may be an indication of something more serious. These symptoms should not be ignored. Spinal infection, spinal cord compression, tumor, fracture, and other disorders can occur. If head injury has been sustained, more than likely the neck has been affected too. It is wise to seek medical attention promptly.

Whiplash and other neck pain. There is no consensus on the effectiveness of manual therapies for neck pain.[104] A 2013 systematic review found that the data suggests that there are minimal short- and long-term treatment differences when comparing manipulation or mobilization of the cervical spine to physical therapy or exercise for neck pain improvement.[105] A 2013 systematic review found that although there is insufficient evidence that thoracic SM is more effective than other treatments, it is a suitable intervention to treat some patients with non-specific neck pain.[106] A 2011 systematic review found that thoracic SM may offer short-term improvement for the treatment of acute or subacute mechanical neck pain; although the body of literature is still weak.[107] A 2010 Cochrane review found low quality evidence that suggests cervical manipulation may offer better short-term pain relief than a control for neck pain, and moderate evidence that cervical manipulation and mobilization produced similar effects on pain, function and patient satisfaction.[108] A 2010 systematic review found low level evidence that suggests chiropractic care improves cervical range of motion and pain in the management of whiplash.[109]

Chiropractors, like other primary care providers, sometimes employ diagnostic imaging techniques such as X-rays and CT scans that rely on ionizing radiation.[156] Although there is no clear evidence for the practice, some chiropractors may still X-ray a patient several times a year.[6] Practice guidelines aim to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure,[156] which increases cancer risk in proportion to the amount of radiation received.[157] Research suggests that radiology instruction given at chiropractic schools worldwide seem to be evidence-based.[48] Although, there seems to be a disparity between some schools and available evidence regarding the aspect of radiography for patients with acute low back pain without an indication of a serious disease, which may contribute to chiropractic overuse of radiography for low back pain.[48]

Employment of chiropractors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. People across all age groups are increasingly becoming interested in integrative or complementary healthcare as a way to treat pain and improve overall wellness. Chiropractic care is appealing to patients because chiropractors use nonsurgical methods of treatment and do not prescribe drugs.


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Among people seeking back pain relief alternatives, most choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes, including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.
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