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Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?

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Public Health Writer | Medical Researcher | Lifestyle blogger
Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?
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The practice of “bone-setting”, technically called chiropractic therapy is very common, especially in the treatment of fractures, dislocation, and back pains. Watching how it is done on patients and the resultant relief that comes afterward, the big question is: Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?

Chiropractic treatment is a healing therapy administered by a licensed chiropractor. A Chiropractor is a professional health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders through manual adjustment and manipulation of the spine. The chiropractic treatment is also called spinal manipulation or joint manipulation.

Chiropractic is classified as an alternative medicine. Generally, chiropractors are at the service to reduce pain and improve the mobility of patients. They also enlighten patients on how they can improve their health through exercise, ergonomics, and several other remedial treatments for back pain.

What conditions are best treated with chiropractic therapy?

Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?
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During chiropractic treatment, chiropractors use different non-surgical treatments to help their patients. A chiropractor is considered a doctor who cares for all forms of bones, muscle tone or joints, the head, tendons of the spine, and other body areas that are not symmetrical or misaligned. The conditions that are treated with chiropractic therapy are:

  • Sport injuries
  • Headaches 
  • Car accident injuries
  • Lower back pain
  • Leg pain (sciatica)
  • Arthritis pain
  • Any musculoskeletal pain in your shoulders, wrists, hips, shoulders, jaws, and knees

Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment, you will ask? Just know that in many aspects, a chiropractic check-up or examination is very much the same as standard investigation procedures provided by all health care professionals. Nevertheless, the ways chiropractors examine the structure and functionality of your spine and the chiropractic treatments set chiropractic care apart from other specialties. 

Chiropractic treatment involves the following:

  • Exercises and stretches: these treatments aid in restoring joint firmness and movability.
  • Kinesio taping or joint taping: Kinesio taping helps strained joints to heal.
  • Soft-tissue therapy: This treatment helps to relax muscles and releases tension in the connective tissue near each muscle.
  • Joint adjustments: Achy joints are restored to reduce pain and improve mobility. Chiropractic treatment does not only ensure that your joints are realigned but also the muscles around the joints.
Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?
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Chiropractic treatment is preferable for individuals who seek solutions to musculoskeletal problems that do not involve prescribing medication. There are no disadvantages to chiropractic treatment, as it is an efficacious treatment for all ages, ranging from children to adults. 


What to expect when you go for a chiropractic treatment

At your first visit to a chiropractor, you will be sent for a screening before any chiropractic treatment begins. This is to ensure you are the perfect patient for a chiropractic treatment.

When you first see a chiropractor for chiropractic treatment, the chiropractor will go over your medical record with you and carry out some physical examinations. Among the history that you will be required to give will be:

  • Dietary history
  • Family history
  • Occupational history
  • Psychosocial history
  • Other past medical, chiropractic, and musculature treatments
  • Further exploration often arose from responses to the above inquiries.

In some cases, the chiropractor will need to inspect your musculoskeletal system, and this will require you to go for radiography (X-rays), CT scans (computed tomography), or MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging). A specific treatment is designed for you by the chiropractor after the cause of your discomfort and the symptoms have been identified from the screening and examination. 

Your chiropractor will require you to lie face down on a chiropractic table that will enable the application of pressure to the particular area of your body that needs attention.

The pressure that is applied can be done with the use of specific instruments or hands on the joint, or can sometimes stretch your joints beyond their normal range of movement. This is to aid your vertebrae in the spine in releasing gases enclosed within your joints that is if they were slightly off-center.

Chiropractic treatment causes no severe pain during or after the procedure. A controlled amount of pressure is applied to your joints, which produces cracking sounds as the gas leaves your joints.

The feeling of mild aches on the arrears of your body after chiropractic treatment reduces within 24 hours of your procedure; however, this does not apply to everyone.

Recommendations such as exercises, stretches, improving posture, ice or heat therapy, good nutrition and relaxation of muscles, and better stress management can be suggested after visits to your chiropractor.

These activities are to help you manage the pain effectively, if there is any, and also to help you stay in good shape and gradually recover from your injuries.

The benefits of chiropractic treatment

The advantages and disadvantages of chiropractic treatment are applicable just like every other medical treatment. The chiropractic treatment is affordable and beneficial to you in ways such as:

  • Improvement of your posture
  • Improvement of your spine and joint mobility
  • Reduction in osteoarthritis conditions
  • Improve the symptoms of minor neck or spine injuries.
  • Reduction in migraines and severe headaches
  • Alleviated sleep disorder 
  • Prevention of joint and spine deterioration
  • Improvement of your nervous system

Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?

Are there disadvantages to chiropractic treatment?
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There are not many adverse disadvantages to chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic treatment is considered to be safe. However, you may experience temporary soreness, headaches, or tiredness after chiropractic treatment.

In some unlikely cases, you may experience serious complications after chiropractic treatment. These complications are rare and may be in the form of:

  • Cauda Equina syndrome: a condition that you experience as pinched nerves in your lower back.
  • Stroke: after certain neck manipulations. According to a study, neck manipulation by a chiropractor may be connected to a rise in the risk of stroke.
  • Herniated disk or exacerbating of an already existing disk herniation.
  • The cost of regular chiropractic sessions can be high.
  • Chiropractic treatment is not suitable for all conditions, especially a condition that is life-threatening.
  • There is insufficient scientific proof to support the safety claims of many of the activities of chiropractors.

These disadvantages of chiropractic treatment are mostly attributed to seeking chiropractic treatment from unlicensed or untrained individuals. Please endeavour to get the chiropractic services from a licensed chiropractor or to be on a safer side, Consult an Expert Doctor on KompleteCare for the right guidance and medical advice.

You should not agree to any chiropractic treatment if you have:

  • Tingling or numbness in any of your arms or legs
  • Acute osteoporosis
  • A bone deformity in your upper neck
  • Cancer of the spine
  • Heightened the risk of stroke

If you experience minor pains in your muscles or joints and you want a different form of treatment, a chiropractic treatment might just be good for you. Most people will experience immediate relaxation after chiropractic treatment, while some may feel short-term, slight pain after chiropractic treatment.

Do not forget to talk to a healthcare professional if you are not sure if chiropractic treatment is right for you.

Regular sessions of chiropractic treatment do not provide short-term pain or injury relief but offer a long-term gain. Before you schedule any chiropractic treatment, ensure you have information on the risks involved and also check if its advantages exceed the disadvantages of chiropractic treatment.


Chiropractic treatment is a procedure that is carried out by a licensed chiropractor by using hands or a specialised instrument to relieve joint, muscles, or spinal pain, which is also known as spinal manipulation. The aim of a chiropractic treatment is to improve your body’s performance and mobility in the affected area. Low back pain, migraines, and neck pain are the most common problems for which people seek chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractors use non-surgical therapy to relieve you of musculoskeletal pain, thereby making chiropractic treatment a safe procedure. Disadvantages of chiropractic treatment are not common unless any of the procedures were performed by an unlicensed individual.

Conditions such as herniated disks, strokes, and severe osteoarthritis could be the side effects if the procedure was done by untrained personnel. 

Chiropractic treatment is beneficial to you in that you experience improved pain relief, an improved nervous system, and reduced joint pain. Do not seek chiropractic treatment if you have cancer in your spine, numbness in your arms and legs, or severe osteoporosis.

The disadvantages of chiropractic treatment are not often experienced due to the fact that at any first visit to a chiropractor, you will discuss your medical history and you will be sent for screening before any commencement of chiropractic treatment on you.

This is to ensure you are a perfect patient for chiropractic treatment. In some cases, the chiropractor will need to inspect your musculoskeletal system, and this will require you to go for radiography (X-rays), CT scans (computed tomography), or MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging). A specific treatment is designed for you by the chiropractor after the cause of your discomfort and the symptoms have been identified from the screening and examination. 


Yeomans, S. (2014). What is a Chiropractor? 

Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Chiropractic adjustment.

Mayo Clinic. (2022). Chiropractic adjustment.

Ameriwell (2023). The pros and cons of seeking chiropractic care.

San Clemente (2022). Advantages and disadvantages of chiropractic in San Clemente.

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Catherine Umenze

Catherine Umenze is a South Africa-based freelance health writer and researcher with an exemplary skill in content editing. Her passion lies in making complex health information easier to understand. Catherine's areas of expertise include psychology, fitness, nutrition and sexual health.

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