Health & Well-Being A-Z


man receiving Chiropractic therapy

Chiropractic involves spinal manipulation to treat a wide range of conditions. Chiropractors believe that disease is caused by pinched nerves in the spine.

Manipulating or adjusting the spine is thought to remove the pinched nerves, or subluxations, which will allow the body to heal. Chiropractic was developed in 1895 and has grown to be one of the most popular alternative therapies. Many believe it's so popular that it shouldn't be called "alternative" medicine.

People commonly use chiropractic manipulation for back pain, neck pain, and headache. It is also used for joint pain, migraine, high blood pressure, scoliosis, anxiety, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses.

Is It Effective?

Effectiveness header

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Likely effective
  • Back pain. Chiropractic treatment reduces low back pain and improves function in adults.
Possibly effective
  • Migraine. Chiropractic treatment seems to help prevent migraine headaches.
  • Neck pain. Chiropractic treatment can reduce pain in adults with neck pain. It might also be helpful for reducing the number of headaches caused by neck pain in adults.
  • Tension headache. Chiropractic treatment seems to help prevent tension headaches and reduce the use of painkillers.
Possibly ineffective
  • Asthma. Chiropractic treatment doesn't seem to help asthma symptoms.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Chiropractic treatment doesn't seem to improve response time or reaction time in healthy adults.
  • High blood pressure. Chiropractic treatment doesn't seem to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

There is interest in using chiropractic for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is it Safe?


Chiropractic procedures are likely safe for most people when done correctly. However, procedures on the neck can cause side effects including headache, neck pain, and neck stiffness. Some side effects have been severe, such as stroke and bleeding around the spine. But this seems to be very rare.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Chiropractic procedures are possibly safe when used during pregnancy for up to 10 weeks.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if chiropractic procedures are safe when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Chiropractic procedures are possibly safe in children when done correctly, short term. Serious side effects are rare, but some cases of bleeding in the brain have been reported in children.

Cancer: People with certain cancers that reduce bone density or bone strength might have an increased risk of bone fractures during treatment.

Drug interactions

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Warfarin is used to thin the blood. People taking warfarin might be more likely to experience bleeding around the spine after receiving chiropractic neck treatments. If you are taking warfarin, avoid getting chiropractic neck treatments.

Herb interactions

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Food interactions

There are no known interactions with foods.


Chiropractic treatment techniques vary widely with different patients and practitioners. A chiropractic treatment is usually 15-30 minutes. A typical treatment course involves about 6 sessions usually given once weekly. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.

Other names

Chiro Therapy, Chirotherapy, Chiropractic Physician, Chiropraticien, Chiropractie, Chiropractors, Chiropratique, Chiropraxie, Manipulation Rachidienne, Manipulation Vertébrale, Manipulative Therapy, Physical Medicine, Quiropráctica, SMT, Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Subluxation.


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