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]
Some skin problems on the neck can cause neck pain, but are usually obvious — most people will identify them as “skin problems on the neck” and not “a neck problem affecting the skin.” Herpes zoster (shingles) [CDC] causes a painful rash, cellulitis [Mayo] is extremely painful but superficial, and a carbuncle[Wikipedia] … well, it’s just a super zit, basically. If you can’t diagnose that one on your own, I can’t help you!
If your chiropractor does recommend an X-ray, one piece of advice: wear proper clothing! I made the mistake of wearing jeans to the appointment. And that meant had to change into some not-so-attractive disposable medical shorts… NOT a good look. I would recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing you can move in (that helps for the movement assessment too!) and nix the jewelry. I was smarter for my second appointment and wore my workout gear, so the medical shorts didn’t have to make a second appearance.
Headache. A 2011 systematic review found evidence that suggests that chiropractic SMT might be as effective as propranolol or topiramate in the prevention of migraine headaches.[110] A 2011 systematic review found evidence that does not support the use of SM for the treatment of migraine headaches.[111] A 2006 review found no rigorous evidence supporting SM or other manual therapies for tension headache.[112] A 2005 review found that the evidence was weak for effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation for tension headache, and that it was probably more effective for tension headache than for migraine.[113] A 2004 Cochrane review found evidence that suggests SM may be effective for migraine, tension headache and cervicogenic headache.[114]
Most people believe that chiropractors treat back pain. That is a true, but there is so much more that chiropractic care can achieve. Because chiropractors help to remove pressure from the nervous system, they can also influence many other conditions. It is common to hear chiropractic patients say that they came in for back pain and their headaches got better.
Parsonage-Turner syndrome, [RareDiseases.org] inflammation of the brachial plexus. For no known reason, sometimes the web of nerves that exit the cervical spine, the brachial plexus, becomes rapidly inflamed. This condition may sometimes occur along with neck pain. Strong pain in the shoulder and arm develops quickly, weakens the limb, and even atrophies the muscles over several months. There is no cure, but most people make a complete recovery.

Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. (2017, April 4). Noninvasive treatments for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain: A clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, 166(7), 514–530. Retrieved from http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2603228/noninvasive-treatments-acute-subacute-chronic-low-back-pain-clinical-practice


Jump up ^ Blanchette, Marc-André; Stochkendahl, Mette Jensen; Borges Da Silva, Roxane; Boruff, Jill; Harrison, Pamela; Bussières, André (2016). "Effectiveness and Economic Evaluation of Chiropractic Care for the Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Pragmatic Studies". PLoS One. 11 (8): e0160037. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1160037B. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160037. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4972425. PMID 27487116.
“When your neck muscles become weak and you try to turn your head, the joint no longer moves smoothly because it’s now out of place,” Dr. Bang says. “Often the joint catches on something, either pulling a muscle or hitting the nerve irregularly, or maybe both. Then you’ll have instant pain and your body has a protective spasm. Your body doesn’t want you to get hurt more, so it will clench, causing you to feel like you can’t even move — and leaving you wondering what you did to injure yourself.”
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.
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.
Chiropractic treatment of the back, neck, limbs, and involved joints has become more accepted as a result of research and changing attitudes about additional approaches to healthcare. As a result, chiropractors are increasingly working with other healthcare workers, such as physicians and physical therapists, through referrals and complementary care.
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]
If your chiropractor does recommend an X-ray, one piece of advice: wear proper clothing! I made the mistake of wearing jeans to the appointment. And that meant had to change into some not-so-attractive disposable medical shorts… NOT a good look. I would recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing you can move in (that helps for the movement assessment too!) and nix the jewelry. I was smarter for my second appointment and wore my workout gear, so the medical shorts didn’t have to make a second appearance.
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