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]
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Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours. Compared to other common treatments for pain, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, chiropractic's conservative approach offers a safe and effective option.
Chiropractic care (also simply “chiropractic”) is a health care discipline that emphasizes the inherent power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. It focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. When appropriate, doctors of chiropractic work in cooperation with the patient’s other health care practitioners.
Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal that causes compression of the spinal cord (cervical myelopathy). The narrowing is caused by disc bulging, bony spurs, and thickening of spinal ligaments. The squeezing of the spinal cord may not cause neck pain in all cases but is associated with leg numbness, weakness, and loss of bladder or rectum control.
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 to improve overall wellness. Chiropractic care is appealing to patients because chiropractors use nonsurgical methods of treatment and do not prescribe drugs.
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]
A 2016 study Goertz contributed to showed that about 14 percent of people have seen a chiropractor in the last year. Of those with significant neck or back pain, 33 percent said chiropractic care was safest compared with 12 percent who say pain medications are safer (physical therapy was perceived as safest), according to Gallup data. Also, 29 percent say chiropractic care is more effective than pain medication for those who have neck or back pain, while 22 percent preferred medication over chiropractic care.
Studies have not confirmed the effectiveness of prolotherapy or sclerotherapy for pain relief, used by some chiropractors, osteopaths, and medical doctors, to treat chronic back pain, the type of pain that may come on suddenly or gradually and lasts more than three months. The therapy involves injections such as sugar water or anesthetic in hopes of strengthening the ligaments in the back.
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