Chiropractic Adjustment Treatment, Benefits & Side Effects

Table of Contents

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on overall health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, joints pain of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of Chiropractic, frequently known as chiropractors, operate a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare which includes patient evaluation, diagnosis, and therapy. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic abilities and are trained to advocate therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, and to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Origins of chiropractic adjustment

Chiropractic healing philosophy is embedded in the notion that the body can heal itself when the circulatory system is correctly aligned and the nervous system is functioning properly. To achieve this, the practitioner uses their hands or an adjusting instrument to do specific manipulations of the vertebrae. When these bones of the spine are not correctly articulated, resulting in a condition known as subluxation, the theory is that nerve transmission is disrupted and also causes illness and pain manifested in the back in addition to some other areas of the human body.

Spinal manipulation has a long history in many cultures but Daniel D. Palmer is the founder of modern chiropractic theory, dating back to the 1890s. A grocer and magnetic healer, he applied his understanding of the nervous system and manual remedies in an unusual situation. Many chiropractors believe that back pain may be alleviated and health restored through chiropractic treatment even in patients who do not have demonstrable subluxations. Osteopathy is another related holistic discipline that utilizes lymph and spinal manipulation as a part of therapy, but osteopathic training is more similar in extent to that of an M.D.

Chiropractic is among the most popular holistic therapies currently available. It is now a well-accepted remedy for acute pain and issues of the spine, including lower back pain and whiplash. Spinal manipulation is an excellent alternative for acute lower back pain, and could also alleviate neck pain as well as other musculoskeletal pain. Though most back pain will subside eventually with no treatment at all, chiropractic treatment can significantly shorten the time required to get relief. Some types of headaches may also be successfully treated by chiropractic treatment.

Applications beyond that scope aren’t supported by current evidence, though there are continuing studies into the viability of chiropractic for this kind of problem as ear infections, dysmenorrhea, baby colic, migraine headaches, and other conditions. Patients continue to visit chiropractors with complaints of pain and headaches or pain to the neck, middle back, arms, or legs.

How does chiropractic work?

According to chiropractic therapy, the nerves in the body define the types of diseases that one suffers from. The nerves can be too tight or too slack, which results in normal activity, strength, or excitability of the body organs (Palmer 1910). Chiropractic is based on the science of neurology and osteology and the practitioners perform vertebral manipulations to treat the disease resulting from any shift or problems in the nerves and the spinal column. 

Chiropractic Benefits

Chiropractic treatments can provide strength to your spine by altering the alignment of the vertebrae and restoring the structural integrity, resulting in improved health. A chiropractor uses only his hands for treatment and this is a non-invasive procedure that does not include surgeries.Accidents due to overexertion and poor posture are one of the most common. Based on the cause and severity of the problem, options for treatment may include physical therapy, rest, medications, surgery, or chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment carries none of the dangers of surgical or pharmacologic therapy. Practitioners utilize a holistic approach to wellness, which is valued by the majority of patients. The goal isn’t only to ease the current ailment, yet to examine the cause and recommend suitable changes of lifestyle to stop the problem from recurring. They believe in a risk/benefit analysis before the use of any intervention. The odds of a negative outcome are incredibly low.

Chiropractic has shown in many studies to be more affordable than many more traditional courses like outpatient physical therapy.  Relief from some neuromuscular issues is instantaneous, although a set of treatments is likely to be asked to maintain the improvement. Spinal manipulation is a great alternative for acute lower back pain, and may also alleviate neck pain as well as other musculoskeletal pain. Although most back pain will subside finally with no therapy in any way, chiropractic treatment can considerably shorten the time it takes to get relief. Some types of headaches may also be successfully treated by chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractic has shown in many studies to be more affordable than many more traditional courses like outpatient physical therapy.  Relief from some neuromuscular issues is instantaneous, although a set of treatments is likely to be asked to maintain the improvement. Spinal manipulation is a great alternative for acute lower back pain, and may also alleviate neck pain as well as other musculoskeletal pain. Although most back pain will subside finally with no therapy in any way, chiropractic treatment can considerably shorten the time it takes to get relief. Some types of headaches may also be successfully treated by chiropractic treatment.

Does the chiropractic adjustment hurt?

If you’re looking for pain therapy, chiropractor visits are very beneficial. Under normal circumstances, chiropractic adjustments are painless. In cases of recent trauma, such as whiplash, mild discomfort may be experienced due to inflammation. Sometimes patients with longstanding (chronic) problems may experience soreness in the muscles around the spine (something like what you feel after exercising for the first time). Oftentimes, patients who enter our coastal chiropractic office in pain, report immediate relief after the adjustment, particularly with stem cell treatment. Some patients tell us they feel a feeling of complete and complete relaxation following the alteration.

What to expect in the first chiropractor visit

What should I expect on my first visit? The first trip to an office begins with general information about yourself and your condition. Next, you will have a consultation with your case manager and doctor to go over your health-related issues, concerns, in addition to potential treatment choices. Your first visit is intended to find out more about you, your condition, and your expectations to find out whether chiropractic can help you meet your targets.  After your consultation, a chiropractor will typically perform A comprehensive chiropractic examination testing your reflexes, your ability to turn and bend as well as other standard neurologic, orthopedic, postural, and physical assessments. Nothing will be done in the office without your approval.  Your specific condition might require for the specialists to take X-rays to receive a complete evaluation of a patient. X-rays help us rule out more serious conditions or help us in creating the very best treatment plan for you. Most people are amazed once they see their x-rays and can often instantly identify their misalignments and degeneration themselves.  After all the information and examinations have been performed, the chiropractor can share findings to answer the three most popular questions:

– Can you help me?

– What do you recommend I do to improve?

– How much is it going to cost?

After talking with you about your history and your objectives, examining your spine, and reviewing some x-rays or evaluations, the medical staff can discuss recommendations with you. In case you’ve got a condition that needs care with other providers, he’ll tell you. If the physicians believe they can assist you, they’ll recommend treatment and a health program.  Patients may be provided with their initial treatment in the decision of the appointment. This may include spinal adjustments, physical remedies, or soft tissue therapies. Treatment is interactive with you so you may express any concerns you have about the treatment you’ll be comfortable with.

What conditions can chiropractors heal?

Chiropractors generally treat diseases of the spine like lower back pain and/or leg pain (sciatica), neck pain, shoulder pain, and problems, slipped discs, pain or problems with the hip, knee, ankle and foot joints, problems with the elbow, wrist and hand joints, repetitive strains, fibromyalgia, headaches, sports injuries, car accident injuries or arthritic pain. However, some practitioners claim to treat asthma, infant colic, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, high blood pressure (hypertension), mental health conditions like depression, phobia or anxiety, and gastrointestinal disorders. When spinal manipulation is used, it’s generally done with the hands, even though some practitioners may utilize an adjusting instrument. A classic adjustment involves a high velocity, low amplitude thrust which generates a generally painless popping sound, and improves the range of movement of the joint that was treated. The patient could lie to a specially designed, padded table which aids the practitioner to accomplish the proper positions for therapy. Some alterations involve manipulating the entire spine, or massive parts of it, as a unit; others are little movements developed to affect one joint. Stretching, traction, and slow manipulation are other methods that could be employed to restore structural integrity and relieve nerve disturbance. Length of treatment the number of chiropractic treatments needed will vary depending upon several things. Generally, longer-term treatment is needed for conditions that are chronic, severe, or occur together with another health issue. Patients that are not in general good health might also have more recovery times. Some injuries will inherently require more treatments than others so as to get relief.  Care is given in three phases. Initially, appointments are more frequent with the goal of relieving the immediate pain. Next, the patient goes into a rehabilitative point to continue the recovery process and help prevent a relapse. Finally, the individual can select periodically maintenance, or health treatments, along with lifestyle changes if necessary in order to stay in good health.


Conditions that are severely degenerative may require surgery or medication. Most conditions of the spine are amenable to manipulative treatment, but it doesn’t include fractures. The practitioner should be informed in advance when the patient is on anticoagulants or has osteoporosis or any other condition which could weaken the bones. There are different conditions that would contraindicate chiropractic care, and these ought to be detected in the history or physical exam. There is also a very slim probability of having a stroke as a result of spinal manipulation, but estimates are that it isn’t any more common than 2.5 occurrences per one million treatments. If you are suffering from severe osteoporosis, bone cancer, gout, arthritis, fractures, diabetes, etc., it is advisable to not undergo chiropractic therapy as it could worsen your condition. If you are taking medications like warfarin, it is better to avoid chiropractic therapy (NHS 2014).

Chiropractic Side effects

More than 50% of patients experience side effects after spine realignments like headaches, migraines, stiffness, increased pain, and fatigue. However, some serious and rare side effects include accumulation of fluid in the brain leading to coma, neck injuries, paralysis, or even strokes. It Is not unusual to have local distress in the kind of aches, pains, or abnormalities to get a couple of days following a chiropractic treatment. Some patients may also experience moderate headaches or fatigue that resolves quickly.

Science & Research

As recently as the 1970s, the American Medical Association (a nationwide group of medical doctors) was quite hostile to chiropractic. AMA members have been advised that it was unethical to be connected with chiropractors. The public is definitely strongly in favor of chiropractic therapy. An estimated 15 percent of people in the United States utilized chiropractic care in 1997. Chiropractors see the lion’s share of patients who seek medical aid for back problems. There is some anecdotal evidence recommending chiropractic therapy for ailments unrelated to musculoskeletal problems, but there is not sufficient research-based data to support this. On the flip side, a chiropractor may have the ability to treat problems and ailments unrelated to the skeletal structure by employing therapies other than spinal manipulation.

Although a lot of chiropractors limit their practice to joint and back problems, others assert to treat disorders that are not closely related to the back or musculoskeletal system. There are at least three explanations for possible efficacy for these ailments. One is that the problem could be linked to nerve impingement, as could be possible with bedwetting, dizziness, fainting, and headache. In another group, chiropractic treatment may offer some relief in complicating pain and migraines brought on by the disease process, as with bronchitis, asthma coughs, and pneumonia. The discomforts of pregnancy may also be alleviated with gentle chiropractic treatment. Another possibility is that manipulation or usage of soft tissue processes can directly promote the improvement of a few ailments. One definite procedure, known as the endonasal procedure, is thought to help the eustachian tube to open and thus enhance drainage of the middle ear. The tube is sometimes blocked off because of exudates or inflammatory processes. This can provide substantial relief from earaches. Some headaches also fall in this category, as skilled use of soft tissue methods and adjustment may relieve the muscle tension that may initiate some headaches.

Dysmenorrhea, nausea, indigestion, and Infertility are thought to be relieved as a result of the improved flow of blood and nerve energy after treatment. Proof for this can be anecdotal at best, but misuse is unlikely to be harmful if causes treatable by other modalities are ruled out.

For conditions such as cancer, fractures, Infectious diseases, neurologic disease processes, and anything that may cause Increase orthopedic fragility, chiropractic therapy alone is not an effective therapy, and might even be dangerous in some cases. People who have understood circulatory problems, especially with a history of thrombosis, should not have Spinal manipulation. Lower back pain is fairly common in pregnant women. However, there are very few reports that indicate that these women resort to chiropractic treatment for relief from their symptoms. In one such report, 115 patients underwent chiropractic therapy for lower back pain, and around 52% of these patients experienced an improvement in the pain levels within 1 week and 88% experienced a decrease in the pain after a year (Peterson et al., 2014).


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