Is Chiropractic Safe?

Is Chiropractic Safe?

Written by Mark Williams, In Health, Published On
March 22, 2024

Chiropractic care is generally considered safe by a trained and licensed practitioner. It’s a noninvasive and drug-free approach to treating musculoskeletal issues like back, neck, and headache pain. Like any medical treatment, there can be some risks, especially in cases involving certain health conditions or when the treatment is not performed correctly. However, serious complications are rare.

Choosing a qualified chiropractor who can assess your needs and health history is essential to ensure safety. A professional chiropractor will be able to identify any potential risks and adjust their treatment accordingly. Cross Up Chiropractic is an excellent example of a place where safety and patient well-being are top priorities for those considering chiropractic care and looking for a reputable clinic. You can learn more about their approach to safe and effective chiropractic care by visiting their website at Communicating openly with your chiropractor about your health concerns is crucial in receiving safe and effective treatment.

When to Opt for a Chiropractor?

You might consider seeing a chiropractor when you experience pain or discomfort in your musculoskeletal system, especially your spine.

Here are some everyday situations when opting for a chiropractor can be beneficial:

  1. Persistent Back or Neck Pain—If you have ongoing back or neck pain that doesn’t improve with traditional treatments, chiropractic care might offer relief.
  2. Joint Pain in Arms or Legs – Chiropractic adjustments and therapies can help alleviate joint pain and improve mobility and function.
  3. Headaches – Many people visit chiropractors for relief from tension headaches and migraines, which can be related to spine or neck issues.
  4. Limited Range of Motion – If you notice your arms or legs aren’t moving as freely as before, a chiropractor can work to improve your flexibility and mobility.
  5. After a Car Accident or Injury—Chiropractic care is often sought after a car accident, sports injury, or other impact injury to help recover.

Consulting with a professional can clarify if you’re unsure whether chiropractic care is proper for you.

Chiropractic Side Effects


Chiropractic care, known for its holistic approach to treating musculoskeletal issues, is considered safe when performed by a licensed and trained professional. However, like any medical treatment, it can have side effects, although they are usually minor and temporary.

1. Soreness and Discomfort:

It’s not uncommon for patients to experience soreness or discomfort in the treated area following chiropractic adjustments. This sensation is often likened to the soreness experienced after physical exercise and typically resolves within a few hours to a few days. The discomfort is generally mild and transient, serving as a common side effect rather than a cause for concern.

2. Headaches:

Specific individuals may develop headaches after chiropractic adjustments, mainly if the treatment involves neck or upper spine manipulation. Cervicogenic headaches arise from dysfunction in the cervical spine and surrounding tissues. While they may initially cause discomfort, cervicogenic headaches typically subside within a short period, often as the body adjusts to the realignment provided by chiropractic treatment.

3. Fatigue:

Sometimes, patients report feeling fatigued following chiropractic sessions, especially among those who are not accustomed to the manual manipulation involved in the treatment. The body’s response to adjustments can be draining, mainly if significant realignment is achieved during the session. However, as patients become more accustomed to chiropractic care, these feelings of fatigue often diminish, allowing individuals to experience increased energy and vitality over time.

4. Muscle or Nerve Injury:

While rare, chiropractic adjustments carry a slight risk of causing muscle strains or nerve injuries, mainly when performed with excessive force or improper technique. Vigorous manipulation, especially in sensitive areas, can potentially lead to discomfort or pain that may require medical attention. To mitigate this risk, chiropractors undergo extensive training to ensure safe and effective treatment delivery and emphasize patient comfort and well-being.

5. Stroke or Vascular Injury:

Though exceedingly rare, strokes or vascular injuries associated with chiropractic neck manipulation have been reported. These incidents typically occur due to the sudden movement of the cervical spine, leading to tears or dissections in the arteries supplying blood to the brain. Individuals with pre-existing vascular conditions, such as atherosclerosis or arterial dissection, may face a slightly higher risk when undergoing chiropractic treatment involving neck manipulation. However, it’s important to note that such occurrences are uncommon, and most chiropractic sessions are performed without incident.

6. Disc Herniation or Damage:

Aggressive spinal manipulation techniques have the potential to exacerbate existing disc herniation or cause new disc damage. Intervertebral discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae, may become compressed or displaced during chiropractic adjustments, leading to increased pain or discomfort. Patients with known disc issues should exercise caution when undergoing chiropractic treatment and communicate their medical history thoroughly with their chiropractor to ensure the appropriate approach is taken to minimize the risk of exacerbating existing conditions.

7. Increased Pain:

While chiropractic treatment’s primary goal is to alleviate pain and improve overall well-being, some patients may experience increased discomfort, particularly during the initial stages of treatment. Symptoms can temporarily exacerbate as the body adjusts to the realignment of the spine and surrounding tissues. However, with continued treatment and proper follow-up care, many individuals find that their pain diminishes over time, allowing them to experience long-term relief and improved quality of life.

While chiropractic treatment offers numerous benefits for individuals suffering from musculoskeletal issues, it’s essential to recognize and address its potential side effects. By understanding the risks and benefits of chiropractic treatment, patients can make informed decisions about their healthcare and work collaboratively with their chiropractors to achieve optimal outcomes. Effective communication, thorough assessment, and personalized treatment plans are essential components of safe and effective chiropractic care, helping to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of patients seeking relief from pain and dysfunction.

Serious side effects are rare. Communication with your chiropractor before, during, and after treatment can help minimize risks. If you have specific health concerns or conditions, discuss them with your chiropractor to ensure the safest and most effective treatment plan.

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