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Do Chiropractors Really Realign Your Spine?  

Realign Your Spine

Among people seeking alternatives for back pain relief, many choose chiropractic care. Can it be “adjusted”? Can your spine be “out”? 

Adjusting the spine through SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) is a complex procedure, largely based on the concept of a joint “subluxation.” Spinal manipulation therapy for back pain probably has modest benefits and bearable risks, while SMT for necks has less medically-proven benefits – and the rare but serious risks of paralysis and even death! Nearly all medical science experts, health professionals, and many chiropractors reject the old chiropractic belief that SMT is effective against preventing or curing joint-related conditions.

Not everyone responds to chiropractic treatments very well. It usually depends on your particular situation. If your pain and other symptoms don’t begin to reduce after several weeks of chiropractic sessions, this treatment might not be the best option for you.

Chiropractic care and spinal manipulation are usually considered effective and safe treatments for acute lower back pain and any sudden injury that results from getting tackled or moving furniture. Acute back pain is more common than chronic pain, and it lasts no more than six weeks and generally gets better with a few chiropractic sessions.

Research has also shown chiropractic treatment to be helpful in treating headache and neck pain. However, a paper was published in 2004 that spinal adjustment for headache is only helpful half of the time. 

According to chiropractic experts, the common subluxation that causes head and neck pain is about 5 cm below or above the targeted segment and can be up to 14 cm – almost 3-4 spinal levels — away. Keeping this in mind, it comes as no surprise that a report that was just published last year found targeted and non-targeted manipulations to have similar effects. Both approaches — general or specific— are just as effective at minimizing patients’ pain scores.

However, SMT seems to be far better than non-recommended and non-medical interventions for easing symptoms and restoring function. Spinal manipulative therapy does reduce pain and active inflammation of the joints; however, studies have not proven its efficacy for enhancing muscle power and performance.

Some chiropractors try to sell you the therapy plans by suggesting chiropractic treatment can help you even if you have no pain or any physical abnormality! It is a big red flag, when it comes to choosing a trained chiropractor. As they label their treatments as maintenance or wellness care. They argue that physical inactivity and not exercising is the cause of current health problems. They insist that you will develop problems in the near future if you don’t get treated. In reality, chiropractic care doesn’t help with:

  • Physiological markers at rest and even during exercise
  • Doesn’t help with transversus abdominis thickness or scapular movement pattern
  • Muscle performance

The bottom line is, chiropractic therapy is mostly safe for the back and other big joints of the body. It is clinically proven that SMT helps reduce inflammation and ease pain in the back. When you compared it to NON-recommended treatments, chiropractic sessions do provide pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits. However,  clinical data lack their efficacy for increasing muscle power and improving performance.

1 Comment

Zachary TomlinsonSeptember 24, 2022 at 8:05 pmReply

I find it fascinating that a spinal adjustment can help restore your usual mobility and provide pain relief! My friend asked me for ideas on how to help his uncle who’s suffering from back pain from doing his farm work recently. I think it’s a good idea for them to look around for a chiropractor that can help them with this in the future.

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