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Chiropractic is one of the most widely used health services today. It has gained increasing acceptance as a treatment for back and neck pain, and it is covered by many health insurance plans. Millions of people would report that chiropractic spinal manipulation has brought them relief. Nonetheless, at present the research record for its effectiveness is inconclusive at best.
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is widely used for the treatment of back pain, neck pain, and headaches, whether acute or chronic. It is also frequently tried for pain in other areas, such as the shoulders, knees, and jaw, as well as for breech birth positioning of a baby, infantile colic, frequent colds, and many other conditions.
Some chiropractic physicians promote “comprehensive chiropractic care” as a means of staying healthy. This approach may include diet, exercise, and supplements, along with regular chiropractic manipulation.
Chiropractic manipulation appears to be generally safe—rarely causing serious side effects. 1 2 3 However, a temporary increase of symptoms may occur relatively frequently. 4 Other side effects include temporary headache, tiredness, and discomfort radiating from the site of the adjustment.
More serious complications may occur on rare occasions. These are primarily associated with manipulation of the neck. Articles have been published that document a total of almost 200 cases of more serious complications associated with neck manipulation, including stroke, vertebral fracture, disc herniation, severely increased sensation of nerve pinching, and rupture of the windpipe. 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 More than half of these reports involve...