Chiropractic Benefits and Risks

18 Benefits (and 3 Risks!) of Visiting a Chiropractor

In the US over one million chiropractic adjustments are performed each day.

Why? Because it has serious advantages for your health, and not just for back pain.

In this article we’ll explore the reasons you should consider seeing a chiropractor, as well as discussing a few risks.

Firstly, let’s take a look at 18 proven benefits of chiropractic treatment:

18 Reasons to Visit a Chiropractor

Benefit 1: Eases Back Pain

1: Eases Back Pain

Of course seeing a chiropractor can ease your back pain, it is after all the most common reason for paying a visit.

Research published in 2018 discovered just how effective chiropractic care can be.

750 respondents complaining of back pain were enrolled in the study. Half of the sample took part in 12 chiropractic treatments, while the other half received standard care.

After just six weeks, those who were seen by a chiropractor reported less pain, higher satisfaction with their care and required less pain medication.

If you’re one of the 540 million people impacted globally by back pain, then it could be worth a shot!

Benefit 2: Helps to Treat Neck Pain

2: Helps to Treat Neck Pain

Neck pain can be seriously debilitating, and sometimes can’t be treated with a massage tool or by simply improving your posture.

Working with data supplied by professionals in the industry, professors at one of the US’s leading chiropractic schools sought to understand how chiropractic care helps acute neck pain in particular.

The outcomes of 99 patients were assessed, with reported pain scores reducing by over 50% post-treatment.

Benefit 3: Assists with Chronic Pain

3: Assists with Chronic Pain

When a chiropractor first works with a patient suffering from chronic pain, they’ll aim to get to the root of the problem.

They’ll work out where inflammation and muscle tension may be occurring and build an effective treatment plan.

It is this approach that causes so many to turn to a chiropractor for help with chronic pain.

For those with long term conditions, a study has shown that chiropractic care is more effective at reducing pain intensity than visiting a pain clinic.

A chiropractor may also employ other therapies such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) and TENS therapy to complement their spinal adjustment techniques.

Benefit 4: Lowers High Blood Pressure

4: Lowers High Blood Pressure

Lowering high blood pressure might seem like an unexpected benefit of chiropractic care.

You’re not the only one surprised, study leaders also reported being shocked when they saw the outcome of their 2007 research project.

They discovered that by realigning the Atlas vertebra, the bone at the top of the spine, blood pressure was reduced without medication.

In fact, one study leader George Baskris reported:

This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination. And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.

Benefit 5: Reduces Inflammation

5: Reduces Inflammation

Chiropractors shout about the amazing things their practice can do to help reduce inflammation within the body.

They explain that realigning the vertebrae within your spine, helps to relieve pressure on the nerves and promote a healthy nervous system.

This allows your body’s biomechanics to return to normal, stopping the production of neuropeptides which can cause inflammation within the body.

Benefit 6: Minimize Headaches and Migraines

6: Minimize Headaches and Migraines

Though evidence to prove the effectiveness of chiropractic care for headaches and migraines is limited, it’s still one of the most popular reasons for booking a session.

In a 2015 survey, 87.2% of chiropractic professionals reported treating patients suffering with headaches and migraines.

It makes sense when you consider that many can be caused by a structural problem in the neck.

Watch below as Kalkstein Chiropractic, a trusted practice for over 60 years in Maryland, demonstrate how they can offer headache relief in just one session:

Benefit 7: Encourages Weight Loss

7: Encourages Weight Loss

When you dig into the research it all points in the same direction:

Chiropractic care is proven to encourage weight loss.

A small study published in 2013 followed patients on a 13-week weight loss program.

Regular chiropractic adjustments combined with diet and exercise interventions, led to significant reductions in weight and BMI.

Many chiropractors offer weight loss programs, promoting the fact that when you can move better you’re more able to take part in regular exercise that can help you shed the pounds.

Benefit 8: Improves Athletic Performance

8: Improves Athletic Performance

I would estimate that at least 90% of world class athletes use Chiropractic on a regular basis to prevent injuries and to improve their performance.

That’s a statement from Exercise Physiologist, Sean Atkins discussing how a chiropractor can help you improve your athletic performance.

His assessment is backed up by a survey of head trainers in the National Football League (NFL).

31% of teams in the NFL reported having a chiropractor on their staff to help players deal with pain day to day, as well as heal neck injuries and headaches.

Benefit 9: Helps Improve Sleep

9: Helps Improve Sleep

With sleep disorders being such a problem in our society, many chiropractic clinics are keen to highlight how spinal manipulation can help you get a better night’s rest.

Spinal misalignments cause pain which can keep many people awake, they explain that their adjustments can straighten things out!

Research has also found that correcting subluxations in your spine balances levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which can help with insomnia.

Benefit 10: Promotes Relaxation

10: Promotes Relaxation

Visiting a chiropractor might not sound like the most relaxing activity, however our bodies certainly think it is!

Studies looking at muscle activity, found that after a chiropractic adjustment muscle activity was reduced by 25%.

This can particularly help those suffering from anxiety, as it reduces stress and tension within the body.

Benefit 11: Aids Adult Scoliosis Patients

11: Aids Adult Scoliosis Patients

Some adults living with scoliosis can experience chronic pain which can seriously decrease their mobility.

A private chiropractic practice in Michigan ran a small project to understand the role the therapy could play in offering pain relief.

Working with 28 adult scoliosis patients, they found that both reported pain and the observed Cobb angle (a measurement used to assess the magnitude of spinal deformities) were improved.

They were even more delighted to learn that this wasn’t just at the end of the treatment, but that patients still reported reduced pain two years later.

Benefit 12: Helps to Treat Sciatica

12: Helps to Treat Sciatica

In 2006, 102 patients with sciatic nerve pain, caused by a disc protrusion or herniated disc, were enrolled on a study at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.

Half of the group received daily chiropractic adjustments for a month, with the rest only receiving simulated adjustments.

Amazingly, 28% of participants that were treated by a chiropractor reported being pain free at the end of the project.

There was a significant reduction in the use of painkillers, and 55% of patients reported no further sciatica symptoms.

Benefit 13: Reduces Symptoms of Infant Colic

13: Reduces Symptoms of Infant Colic

Infant colic can be a nightmare for new parents, particularly as there is no obvious cause or remedy.

Chiropractic treatment might seem extreme, but researchers agree that it is effective.

104 babies with unexplained persistent crying took part in a trial at Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in the UK.

They received manual chiropractic therapies of the spine over an eight week period.

Results showed a reduction in crying behaviors — great news for the little ones and their exhausted parents!

Benefit 14: Helps People Living with Epilepsy

14: Helps People Living with Epilepsy

Visiting a chiropractor can also have benefits for those living with epilepsy, particularly children.

A review of the literature surrounding the condition highlighted a study which looked at 15 pediatric epileptic patients.

Chiropractors used upper cervical care to correct vertebral subluxation, which can put pressure on the nerves.

Though findings are anecdotal, every patient reported a positive outcome.

This led researchers to highlight the role chiropractic care can play in the overall care management of pediatric epileptic patients.

Benefit 15: Boosts Your Immune System

15: Boosts Your Immune System

Maintaining a strong immune system has never been more important.

There is evidence to suggest that seeing a chiropractor regularly gives you 200% greater immunity over those who don’t.

Surprisingly, the research also showed that the immune system superiority of the test subjects didn’t diminish with age!

It’s not a new concept either, as it’s believed that chiropractic treatment was used during the Influenza Epidemic in 1918.

Benefit 16: Eases Symptoms of Vertigo

16: Eases Symptoms of Vertigo

Treating vertigo can be difficult, but chiropractors are keen to point out the ways their therapies can help.

Arbor Vitae Chiropractic in Arkansas explain:

When you study the body, you will learn that cervical misalignments can actually block fluid in the ears from draining properly, which is a root cause of vertigo.

They go on to describe how gentle and specific manual adjustments can remove these misalignments, allowing the fluid to drain properly.

Results can also be long-lasting:

With regular chiropractic adjustments, your spine will stay in alignment to promote proper ear function and significantly decrease intensity and frequency of vertigo symptoms.

Benefit 17: Helps with Arthritis

17: Helps with Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation promote chiropractic care as ‘one of the safest therapies’ you can use if you have back or neck pain as a result of osteoarthritis.

They describe visiting a chiropractor as a great non-medication way to treat painful joints.

However they do warn those with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis to take more care when considering chiropractic care.

Benefit 18: Can Lower Your Medical Bills

18: Can Lower Your Medical Bills

Visiting a chiropractor regularly can reduce your medical bills by up to 85%!

This discovery was made during a seven year project published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

Over 70,000 patients were monitored, with researchers noting the frequency of their chiropractor visits compared to their medical doctor.

3 Risks of Chiropractic Care

As well as knowing all the benefits of visiting a chiropractor, it’s also important to know the risks.

It’s worth pointing out overall, that chiropractic care is considered to be one of the safest noninvasive forms of healthcare available.

Risk 1: Temporary Discomfort in Treated Area

1: Temporary Discomfort in Treated Area

The American Chiropractic Association are keen to point out the excellent safety record of chiropractic care, but do state that sometimes people can experience temporary discomfort in the treated area.

Side effects tend to be minor, they explain, disappearing completely after only one or two days.

Risk 2: Can Cause Low Back Injury

2: Can Cause Low Back Injury

In an extremely small number of cases, chiropractic care has caused low back injuries.

This has primarily been observed in patients with pre-existing disc herniation or prolapse.

It is difficult to determine if spinal manipulation was the cause, as researchers stated it could have easily been caused by bending or lifting in everyday life, even simply sneezing!

To put this risk into context, over the 80 year period assessed in the research, only 8 cases of complications relating to chiropractic care were recorded.

Risk 3: Risk of Stroke

3: Risk of Stroke

Though incredibly rare, there is a risk of stroke when visiting a chiropractor.

A high-velocity neck manipulation could cause damage to an artery in your neck, which can lead to a stroke.

  • Data shows that the incidence of stroke following neck manipulation, is one per 5.85 million cervical adjustments.
  • Meaning you’re more likely to win a gold medal at the Olympics (1 in 662,000), become a movie star (1 in 1,500,000) or die by shark attack (1 in 3,750,000).

If you want to know more about the safety of chiropractic care, and its success rates, you can read all the latest stats and facts here.