Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

chiropractic adjustments are safe blog post photo

If you have been suffering from neck or back pain, you might be considering what a chiropractic adjustment can do for you. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), chiropractic professionals perform more than 70,000 adjustments each year just in the U.S. That is a number that is hard to ignore when you think about whether this procedure is safe.

The truth is that the safety of an adjustment depends a lot on who is performing it. If you have your neighbor, a plumber, give you an adjustment, it might not be safe. Chiropractic doctors, however, go through extensive training to know how to do this procedure safely and effectively. To understand why a chiropractic adjustment might be the safest option, you need to learn more about them.

What Is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a treatment in which trained experts, preferably a Doctor of Chiropractic, apply a regulated, abrupt force to a spinal joint using their hands or a tiny device. This therapy, also known as spinal manipulation, is to enhance spinal mobility and physical function in your body.

A typical chiropractic adjustment involves the chiropractor placing the patient in particular postures to address afflicted regions. For example, you might be positioned facedown on a specially built, padded chiropractic table.

The chiropractor applies a controlled, abrupt force to a joint, pushing it beyond its normal range of motion. As a result, you may hear popping or cracking sounds during the treatment session as the chiropractor rotates your joints.

Are Spinal Manipulations Safe?

Chiropractic adjustments are safe when administered by someone who has been trained and licensed to provide chiropractic therapy. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the field of chiropractors. While a doctor of chiropractic might not be an M.D., they are still doctors, just ones that study diagnosing, treating, and preventing disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system.

A chiropractor completes years of study, practice, and license before they can deal with patients. Many protections and safety procedures are in place. Doctors of Chiropractic must complete 4,620 total school hours to obtain their degrees. That's about 1,000 hours more than a Doctor of Physical Therapy and 200 hours fewer than a Medical Doctor.

Why Might You Get a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Typically people who get these adjustments have serious problems with their back or neck, such as:

A ruptured disk or aggravation of an already existing disk herniation

Nerve compression in the lower spinal column

A stroke after a previous neck manipulation

Seeing a chiropractor is an alternative to other more invasive medical procedures like surgery. You could argue that spinal manipulation is safer than other choices.


Some conditions are not suitable for this type of treatment, though. For example, you should not get an adjustment if you have:

Severe osteoporosis

Numbness, tingling, or weakness in an arm or leg

Cancer of the spine

A higher risk of stroke

A bone anomaly in the upper neck

Are There Risks With Chiropractic Adjustments?

Given that chiropractic adjustments don’t rely on medication or surgery, they are a less risky alternative to dealing with chronic pain as long as you are a good candidate. Chiropractors use their hands and specific devices to apply regulated pressure to troubled parts of your body. They take steps to ensure an adjustment is the best option for their patients.

During your first visit, the chiropractor and care team will ask you questions about your medical history and do a physical exam, paying special attention to your spine. Other examinations or tests, including X-rays, may be recommended by your chiropractor.

When conducted by a registered and educated chiropractic specialist, the hazards connected with chiropractic manipulation are limited. However, complications often include the aggravation of a slipped or herniated disc, compression of spinal nerves, and, in rare circumstances, vertebral artery dissection, a form of stroke that can develop following neck manipulation.

Are There Side Effects From Chiropractic Adjustments?

Reported side effects are minor and temporary. However, some people experience soreness in the treatment area. Also, some patients indicate they have a headache after treatment.

Do You Have Foot Pain? Back Pain? See the Chiropractor in Anchorage, AK

If you live in Anchorage and are considering what chiropractic care can do for you, contact us at Ireland Clinic of Chiropractic to find out more about spinal adjustments.