Chiropractors (also known as chiropractic physicians or doctors of chiropractic) treat and diagnose patients who have health problems connected to the musculoskeletal system. Many chiropractors focus solely on the manipulation of the spine and believe that realigning these joints can improve the nervous system and overall health. While many patients have received benefits from chiropractic care, there are some disadvantages of going to a chiropractor (See Reference 1).
Possible Side Effects
Some patients may suffer side effects as a result of their chiropractic treatment. Most are relatively benign and include fatigue, continuing pain from a previously treated injury and headache. More serious side effects are rare and include a herniated disk, compression of nerves in the lower spinal column (cauda equina syndrome) which can lead to pain, weakness and bowel problems and stroke (See Reference 2).
Not for Everyone
Chiropractic treatment is not for everyone and there are several types of conditions which do not fit well with this alternative medical practice. Patients with osteoporosis or nerve damage may exacerbate their problems with chiropractic treatment. Those who have received spinal surgery require a surgeon’s approval for the treatment due to potential re-injury. If your back pain is accompanied by chills, sweats, fever or weight loss it may require a medical doctor to diagnose and treat since it might be infection or a tumor (See Reference 2).
Chiropractic appointments can sometimes be expensive for the amount of time the doctor spends with you. An appointment can last as short as five or ten minutes but cost more than $50. Add to this the complication that chiropractic treatment is not always included on health insurance. Some chiropractors will suggest going twice a week or more for months at a time. This cost can add up over time (See References 2 and 3).
Some patients experience immediate results with chiropractic treatment. Some patients must come back many times and over the course of several months may experience some moderate relief. Others with back pain may not notice much of a change at all. Different pain situations will result in different levels of effectiveness. Chiropractic treatment is not a sure thing by any means (See Reference 2).
References and ResourcesBureau of Labor Statistics: Chiropractors
Mayo Clinic: Chiropractic Adjustment
Ciao: Chiropractic Reviews