MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.

I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.

As of 2014, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners states "The specific focus of chiropractic practice is known as the chiropractic subluxation or joint dysfunction. A subluxation is a health concern that manifests in the skeletal joints, and, through complex anatomical and physiological relationships, affects the nervous system and may lead to reduced function, disability or illness."[51][52]


Low back pain. A 2013 Cochrane review found very low to moderate evidence that SMT was no more effective than inert interventions, sham SMT or as an adjunct therapy for acute low back pain.[94] The same review found that SMT appears to be no better than other recommended therapies.[94] A 2016 review found moderate evidence indicating that chiropractic care seems to be effective as physical therapy for low back pain.[95] A 2012 overview of systematic reviews found that collectively, SM failed to show it is an effective intervention for pain.[96] A 2011 Cochrane review found strong evidence that suggests there is no clinically meaningful difference between SMT and other treatments for reducing pain and improving function for chronic low back pain.[97] A 2010 Cochrane review found no current evidence to support or refute a clinically significant difference between the effects of combined chiropractic interventions and other interventions for chronic or mixed duration low back pain.[98] A 2010 systematic review found that most studies suggest SMT achieves equivalent or superior improvement in pain and function when compared with other commonly used interventions for short, intermediate, and long-term follow-up.[99] Specific guidelines concerning the treatment of nonspecific (i.e., unknown cause) low back pain are inconsistent between countries.[100]

In 2009, a backlash to the libel suit filed by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) against Simon Singh, has inspired the filing of formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24-hour period,[199][200] prompting the McTimoney Chiropractic Association to write to its members advising them to remove leaflets that make claims about whiplash and colic from their practice, to be wary of new patients and telephone inquiries, and telling their members: "If you have a website, take it down NOW." and "Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients."[199] An editorial in Nature has suggested that the BCA may be trying to suppress debate and that this use of British libel law is a burden on the right to freedom of expression, which is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.[201] The libel case ended with the BCA withdrawing its suit in 2010.[202][203]
The cervical spine is also surrounded by a thick, tangled web of nerves. In general, those nerves are amazingly difficult to irritate, much harder than people think, but it’s not impossible. Many sharp and shooting neck pains are probably caused by minor neuropathy (pain from nerve irritation) that will ease gradually over several days or a few weeks at the worst, like a bruise healing. It’s unpleasant, but not actually scary, like banging your funny bone (ulnar nerve): that thing can really take a licking and keep on ticking. So can the nerves in your neck.
A D.C. program includes classwork in anatomy, physiology, biology, and similar subjects. Chiropractic students also get supervised clinical experience in which they train in spinal assessment, adjustment techniques, and making diagnoses. D.C. programs also may include classwork in business management and in billing and finance. Most D.C. programs offer a dual-degree option, in which students may earn either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in another field while completing their D.C.
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]

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.

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.
The patients were put into two groups. One group received traditional medical care for back pain along with chiropractic care; the other group only received traditional care. While traditional care can include medication, the chiropractic care included spinal manipulation adjustments along with manual therapies such as ice, heat, cryotherapy, and rehabilitative exercises.

Some chiropractors oppose vaccination and water fluoridation, which are common public health practices.[32] Within the chiropractic community there are significant disagreements about vaccination, one of the most cost-effective public health interventions available.[221] Most chiropractic writings on vaccination focus on its negative aspects,[27] claiming that it is hazardous, ineffective, and unnecessary.[28] Some chiropractors have embraced vaccination, but a significant portion of the profession rejects it, as original chiropractic philosophy traces diseases to causes in the spine and states that vaccines interfere with healing.[28] The extent to which anti-vaccination views perpetuate the current chiropractic profession is uncertain.[27] The American Chiropractic Association and the International Chiropractors Association support individual exemptions to compulsory vaccination laws, and a 1995 survey of U.S. chiropractors found that about a third believed there was no scientific proof that immunization prevents disease.[28] The Canadian Chiropractic Association supports vaccination;[27] a survey in Alberta in 2002 found that 25% of chiropractors advised patients for, and 27% against, vaccinating themselves or their children.[222]


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
Many patients seek orthopaedic care for neck pain because orthopaedists are specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and help prevent problems involving the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Although some orthopaedists confine their practices to specific areas of the musculoskeletal system, most treat a wide variety of diseases, injuries, and other conditions, including neck pain.
There are several surgical treatments available to treat cervical spine disorders. Factors that help determine the type of surgical treatment include the specifics of the disc disease and the presence or absence of pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. Other factors include age, how long the patient has had the disorder, other medical conditions and if there has been previous cervical spine surgery.
The word “Chiropractic” is derived from the Greek words “cheir” (hand) and “praktos” (done) combined to mean “done by hand.” It was chosen by the developer of chiropractic care, Daniel David Palmer. In 1895, D.D. Palmer performed a chiropractic adjustment on a partially deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard, who later reported that his hearing had improved due to the change.
I am 73 yr. young, and I in so much pain and discomfort . I have a double curve of the spine and due to a loss of 3 in. since becoming elderly the pain has gotten worse. I had went to a wonderful chiropractor for years but he is no longer. My husband still works and we have United HealthCare and they don’t cover chiropractors. IS there any good chiropractors that don’t charge a high price or don’t insist on xrays which are very expensive. I also have IBS and have had 3 major bowel surgeries which causes me extreme pain
My niece has some spine disorders, and I think that being able to visit a chiropractor would be helpful for her. I’m glad that you talked about chiropractors being able to have a knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and I think that being able to have this knowledge would help them with her spine disorders. I’m going to have to see if a chiropractor would be the best option, or if we could find a specialist for spine disorders! Thanks for the information!

Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, the theory being that proper alignment of the body's musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.

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