Recent Blog Articles
Seeing red? 4 steps to try before responding
Tics and TikTok: Can social media trigger illness?
Pandemic challenges may affect babies — possibly in long-lasting ways
4 immune-boosting strategies that count right now
If you have knee pain, telehealth may help
How to address opposition in young children
New study investigates treatment-associated regrets in prostate cancer
Minimizing successes and magnifying failures? Change your distorted thinking
Are poinsettias, mistletoe, or holly plants dangerous?
Waiting for motivation to strike? Try rethinking that
Chiropractic care for pain relief
Spinal manipulation primary therapy, but treatment options are expanding
Chiropractic is a system of therapy focused on the structure of the body, particularly the spine. Chiropractors manipulate the body's alignment to relieve pain and improve function and to help the body heal itself.
While the mainstay of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, chiropractic care may also include other treatments, including manual or manipulative therapies, postural and exercise education, and ergonomic training (how to walk, sit, and stand to limit back strain). Chiropractors today often work in conjunction with primary care doctors, pain experts, and surgeons to treat patients with pain.
The most positive research on chiropractic therapy has focused on spinal manipulation for low back pain. As one of the alternatives to pain-relieving drugs, the American College of Physicians low back pain guideline recommends spinal manipulation along with heat, massage, and acupuncture.
Chiropractic treatment may also help people with other musculoskeletal-related pains.
There have been reports of serious complications, including stroke, following spinal manipulation of the neck, although this is very rare.
"Spinal manipulation" is a generic term used for any kind of therapeutic movement of the spine. Most often it involves the application of quick but strong pressure on a joint between two vertebrae of the spine.
In addition to spinal manipulation, a chiropractor may advise you about changing your biomechanics and posture and suggest other treatments and techniques. The ultimate goal of chiropractic is to help relieve pain and help patients better manage their condition at home.
Image: RainerPlendl/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!