The disk acts as a shock absorber between the bones in the neck. In cervical disk degeneration (which typically occurs in people age 40 years and older), the normal gelatin-like center of the disk degenerates and the space between the vertebrae narrows. As the disk space narrows, added stress is applied to the joints of the spine causing further wear and degenerative disease. The cervical disk may also protrude and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots when the rim of the disk weakens. This is known as a herniated cervical disk.
Requirements vary between countries. In the U.S. chiropractors obtain a first professional degree in the field of chiropractic.[164] Chiropractic education in the U.S. have been criticized for failing to meet generally accepted standards of evidence-based medicine.[165] The curriculum content of North American chiropractic and medical colleges with regard to basic and clinical sciences has been more similar than not, both in the kinds of subjects offered and in the time assigned to each subject.[166] Accredited chiropractic programs in the U.S. require that applicants have 90 semester hours of undergraduate education with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Many programs require at least three years of undergraduate education, and more are requiring a bachelor's degree.[167] Canada requires a minimum three years of undergraduate education for applicants, and at least 4200 instructional hours (or the equivalent) of full‐time chiropractic education for matriculation through an accredited chiropractic program.[168] Graduates of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) are formally recognized to have at least 7–8 years of university level education.[169][170] The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines suggest three major full-time educational paths culminating in either a DC, DCM, BSc, or MSc degree. Besides the full-time paths, they also suggest a conversion program for people with other health care education and limited training programs for regions where no legislation governs chiropractic.[46]
Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer, a magnetic healer, hypothesized that manual manipulation of the spine could cure disease.[215] The first chiropractic patient of D.D. Palmer was Harvey Lillard, a worker in the building where Palmer's office was located.[37] He claimed that he had severely reduced hearing for 17 years, which started soon following a "pop" in his spine.[37] A few days following his adjustment, Lillard claimed his hearing was almost completely restored.[37] Chiropractic competed with its predecessor osteopathy, another medical system based on magnetic healing and bonesetting; both systems were founded by charismatic midwesterners in opposition to the conventional medicine of the day, and both postulated that manipulation improved health.[215] Although initially keeping chiropractic a family secret, in 1898 Palmer began teaching it to a few students at his new Palmer School of Chiropractic.[23] One student, his son Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) Palmer, became committed to promoting chiropractic, took over the Palmer School in 1906, and rapidly expanded its enrollment.[23]
A 2010 study by questionnaire presented to UK chiropractors indicated only 45% of chiropractors disclosed with patients the serious risk associated with manipulation of the cervical spine and that 46% believed there was possibility of patient would refuse treatment if risk correctly explained. However 80% acknowledged the ethical/moral responsibility to disclose risk to patient.[206]
There is no good evidence that chiropractic is effective for the treatment of any medical condition, except perhaps for certain kinds of back pain.[4][10] Generally, the research carried out into the effectiveness of chiropractic has been of poor quality.[89][90] Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results.[4] Research published by chiropractors is distinctly biased.[4] For reviews of SM for back pain chiropractic authors tend to have positive conclusions, while others did not show any effectiveness.[4]

What is so good about an apple? Is it the color, ranging from ruby red to pale pink? Is it the crunch? The sweetness? Or is it, instead, a combination of all of these qualities, plus the natural goodness derived from the apple's secret ingredients — phytonutrients? If this were a multiple choice quiz, the answer would be "all of the above". Importantly, in addition to possessing numerous appealing physical qualities, apples contain an abundance of health-promoting biochemicals known as phytonutrients.1,2 These specific organic molecules are derived not only from apples but many other fresh fruits and vegetables, and help power the immune system, protect against cancer, maintain healthy eyes, and assist cells in clearing out metabolic waste products such as free radicals. ...


One of the most common and well known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a "chiropractic adjustment"). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.

The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact sheets. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific neurosurgical advice or assistance should consult his or her neurosurgeon, or locate one in your area through the AANS’ Find a Board-certified Neurosurgeon online tool.


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]
Chronic neck pain is pain, stiffness, and soreness in the neck, perhaps with decreased mobility, that lasts more than several weeks. The traditional medical response to neck pain is to recommend pain relievers, but drugs simply mask the symptoms – and taking them for an indefinite period can do more harm than good. Treating chronic pain through traditional means (including pain management, injections, chiropractic manipulation, and surgery) is not likely to resolve the true source of the pain.
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.

A 2012 systematic review suggested that the use of spine manipulation in clinical practice is a cost-effective treatment when used alone or in combination with other treatment approaches.[160] A 2011 systematic review found evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of using spinal manipulation for the treatment of sub-acute or chronic low back pain; the results for acute low back pain were insufficient.[11]
As noted, ratings sites or websites with a certified list of doctors, like PainDoctor.com, can help verify a chiropractor’s license and give you an idea of their philosophy and practice areas. Each site has slightly different information to give you a better picture of your chiropractor before your first visit. Find the best chiropractor for you by looking for ones who share lots of information and knowledge, whether on their website or on social media.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Over 25 years ago, Dr. Donald Worley chose to specialize in chiropractic care because he was fascinated with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Now, he and the staff at Worley Chiropractic Clinic in Clinton, South Carolina, offer some of the most advanced physical rehabilitation practices as well as nutritional guidance to help you lead your best life.
Jump up ^ Jansen MJ, Viechtbauer W, Lenssen AF, Hendriks EJ, de Bie RA (2011). "Strength training alone, exercise therapy alone, and exercise therapy with passive manual mobilisation each reduce pain and disability in people with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review". J Physiother. 57 (1): 11–20. doi:10.1016/S1836-9553(11)70002-9. PMID 21402325.

The next step in the process was an X-ray. Having an X-ray done of your spine can help the chiropractor determine your treatment plan and can aid in the adjustment. That said, not all chiropractors will recommend an X-ray at your appointment. It turns out some chiropractors say that X-rays should be part of routine chiropractic care, while others argue X-rays aren't necessary for every patient. When researching potential chiropractors, feel free to ask if they recommend X-rays for all patients and how the X-rays can benefit your treatment plan.
×