Chiropractic care is one of the largest alternative and complementary medical professions in the United States.
While many patients swear by the benefits of chiropractic adjustments, the scientific community is sometimes divided on the efficacy and safety of these practices, with many researchers questioning the validity of their claimed benefits.
Claims Without Evidence
Many chiropractors (not all) make claims about the benefits of their services that are not supported by scientific evidence.
For example, chiropractic care has been touted as an effective treatment for ailments such as:
- infant colic
- autism spectrum disorder
- gastrointestinal problems
- carpal tunnel syndrome
There is no conclusive scientific evidence that chiropractic care can cure or treat these conditions.
While some patients may report feeling better after chiropractic adjustments for these conditions, this is likely due to a placebo effect or other factors.
Most chiropractors are well-trained and use safe techniques, but unfortunately, there are some who utilize practices that may be harmful.
For example, some chiropractors use high-velocity, low-amplitude thrusts to manipulate the spine, which can cause injury if done incorrectly.
Additionally, some chiropractors may use unproven techniques that can potentially cause serious harm (such as nerve damage), especially to children and people with pre-existing conditions.
Chiropractic Care for Back and Neck Pain
The good news is that there is evidence for aid to patients with acute and chronic back and neck pain.
Many clinical studies have confirmed that chiropractic care can safely alleviate several types of back and neck pain.
However, it is not entirely clear how long-lasting the effects can be. Critics of chiropractic care often argue that chiropractors aren’t very effective at actually treating back pain conditions, they only provide enough temporary relief to keep you coming back for more and more sessions.
That is why it is important to only use chiropractic care as a complement to other treatments, and not as a replacement for other forms of care that focus on treating the underlying condition.
Tips for Finding Good Care
If you are considering chiropractic care, it is important to find a qualified and experienced practitioner. Here are some tips to help you find good care:
- Look for evidence-based practices. Check the chiropractor’s website or ask them directly about the scientific evidence behind their treatments.
- They should refer you to other experts. A bad chiropractor will try to claim that their care can fix any and all issues. A more trustworthy chiropractor will recognize when a patient needs care from a different medical professional and will make appropriate referrals.
- Choose a licensed chiropractor. All chiropractors should be licensed in their state and have the appropriate training and experience.
- Ask about the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment. A good chiropractor will take the time to explain the risks and benefits of any treatment and answer any questions you may have.
Chiropractic care can be effective in treating back and neck pain, but it should never be the sole treatment option.
It is always best to consult with your primary doctor or a medical specialist before relying on chiropractic care to correct your health conditions.