AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.
Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results.[4] Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain.[4] A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition.[10] Spinal manipulation may be cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic low back pain but the results for acute low back pain were insufficient.[11] The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care are unknown.[12] There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations.[13] It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases.[14] There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke and death, from cervical manipulation.[15] Several deaths have been associated with this technique[14] and it has been suggested that the relationship is causative,[16][17] a claim which is disputed by many chiropractors.[17]
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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]
At each vertebral level, a pair of spinal nerves exit through small openings called foramina (one to the left and one to the right). These nerves serve the muscles, skin and tissues of the body and thus provide sensation and movement to all parts of the body. The delicate spinal cord and nerves are further supported by strong muscles and ligaments that are attached to the vertebrae.
A 2008 commentary proposed that the chiropractic profession actively regulate itself to combat abuse, fraud, and quackery, which are more prevalent in chiropractic than in other health care professions, violating the social contract between patients and physicians.[32] According to a 2015 Gallup poll of U.S. adults, the perception of chiropractors is generally favourable; two-thirds of American adults agree that chiropractors have their patient's best interest in mind and more than half also agree that most chiropractors are trustworthy. Less than 10% of US adults disagreed with the statement that chiropractors were trustworthy.[193][194]
Chiropractors, especially in America, have a reputation for unnecessarily treating patients.[6] In many circumstances the focus seems to be put on economics instead of health care.[6] Sustained chiropractic care is promoted as a preventative tool, but unnecessary manipulation could possibly present a risk to patients.[4] Some chiropractors are concerned by the routine unjustified claims chiropractors have made.[4] A 2010 analysis of chiropractic websites found the majority of chiropractors and their associations made claims of effectiveness not supported by scientific evidence, while 28% of chiropractor websites advocate lower back pain care, which has some sound evidence.[197]

Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened with movement of the neck or turning the head. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp shooting pain, fullness, difficulty swallowing, pulsations, swishing sounds in the head, dizziness or lightheadedness, and lymph node (gland) swelling.
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Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling. 

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]
Sharp, shooting pains are mostly neurological false alarms about relatively trivial musculoskeletal troubles: your brain reacting over-protectively to real-but-trivial irritations in and around the spine. The brain takes these much more seriously than it really needs to, but evolution has honed us to be oversensitive in this way. That’s not to say that the brain is always over-reacting, but it usually is. Most of the time, a sharp pain is a warning you can ignore.
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.
The World Health Organization found chiropractic care in general is safe when employed skillfully and appropriately.[46] There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations.[13] Manipulation is regarded as relatively safe but complications can arise, and it has known adverse effects, risks and contraindications.[46] Absolute contraindications to spinal manipulative therapy are conditions that should not be manipulated; these contraindications include rheumatoid arthritis and conditions known to result in unstable joints.[46] Relative contraindications are conditions where increased risk is acceptable in some situations and where low-force and soft-tissue techniques are treatments of choice; these contraindications include osteoporosis.[46] Although most contraindications apply only to manipulation of the affected region, some neurological signs indicate referral to emergency medical services; these include sudden and severe headache or neck pain unlike that previously experienced.[138] Indirect risks of chiropractic involve delayed or missed diagnoses through consulting a chiropractor.[4]

A 2006 systematic cost-effectiveness review found that the reported cost-effectiveness of spinal manipulation in the United Kingdom compared favorably with other treatments for back pain, but that reports were based on data from clinical trials without sham controls and that the specific cost-effectiveness of the treatment (as opposed to non-specific effects) remains uncertain.[161] A 2005 American systematic review of economic evaluations of conservative treatments for low back pain found that significant quality problems in available studies meant that definite conclusions could not be drawn about the most cost-effective intervention.[162] The cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care is unknown.[12]
Neck pain results when the spine is stressed by injury, disease, wear and tear, or poor body mechanics. Acute neck pain is abrupt, intense pain that can radiate to the head, shoulders, arms, or hands. It typically subsides within days or weeks with rest, physical therapy and other self-care measures. You play an important role in the prevention, treatment and recovery process of neck pain. However, if chronic, pain will persist despite treatment and need further evaluation.
After my adjustment, I was seen by a exercise therapist who walked me through a series of exercises to help with my pelvic rotation and weak glute muscles. Chiropractic adjustments combined with an exercise program can be an effective solution for treating sore muscles and joints. Want to try a few of the exercises I did at home? You’ll need a foam roller, an exercise ball and a flexible mini ball.
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