Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

by Governor's Park Chiropractic | Oct 20, 2021 | Chiropractic, Treatments

If you suffer from neck or back pain, whether it’s acute or chronic, prescription painkillers and surgery should be a last resort. Chiropractic adjustments can treat neck or back pain and prevent the need for these invasive forms of therapy. 

However, with chiropractic care’s increasing popularity, you may wonder whether chiropractic adjustments are safe. Though research is needed to determine the full benefits of chiropractic care, the existing studies support chiropractic care’s efficacy. And as long as you seek treatment from a licensed chiropractor, there is no reason to fear for your safety when undergoing spinal manipulation. 

This article discusses the mounting research supporting chiropractic care’s efficacy and safety. At Governor’s Park Chiropractic, we believe all our patients deserve special care and an individualized treatment program. That’s why we use industry-leading tactics such as the Gonstead Method and other techniques performed by our lead chiropractor, Dr. Ferdowsian, to give you the most advanced treatment in the industry. 

What Is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care involves the hands-on approach to spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments. The theory suggests that proper spinal alignment enables the body to function as intended. 

When the spine is out of alignment, joints become restricted by tissue injuries caused by either micro or sudden trauma. Microtrauma is typically the result of repeated stress and it occurs on a smaller scale, manifesting as chronic pain. Conversely, sudden trauma occurs from incidents such as falls or accidents. 

Chiropractic treatment is an effective back surgery alternative, and in many cases, it can eliminate the need for prescription painkillers such as opiates. 

What Does Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain Involve?

The process of chiropractic care varies depending on the chiropractor, but it typically involves a physical examination, lab testing, and diagnostic imaging to determine where they need to apply chiropractic methods. 

Chiropractic care may involve manual adjustments that the chiropractor uses to manipulate the spine. These manual adjustments will improve range of motion, as well as the quality of the motion within the joint. Most chiropractors also include other forms of treatment such as nutritional counseling and exercise/physical therapy. 

The overall goal of chiropractic care is to restore function and prevent any injuries from exacerbating any injuries or back pain. 

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care and spinal manipulation are widely considered as safe treatments within the medical professional community. Research has shown promising results in the treatment’s ability to alleviate low back pain as well as neck pain and headaches. Some research also suggests that osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia can improve with moderate pressure applied by chiropractors and practitioners of deep tissue massage techniques. 

What Does the Research Show?

Numerous studies show the benefits of chiropractic care. It treats a wide range of conditions including the following: 


Sciatica is a type of back pain that affects the sciatic nerve- a nerve running from the lower back down the leg, and into the feet. Other therapies are invasive, such as steroid injections or surgery. In these cases, you should consider the benefits of chiropractic care. 

The Spine Journal conducted a double-blind study comparing active and simulated chiropractic manipulations in people suffering from sciatica. The patients who received active manipulations reported fewer days of moderate or severe pain and other sciatica symptoms. There were also no reported adverse effects in the active group. 

Neck Pain

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied the different therapies for treating neck pain by dividing 227 participants into three groups: one that received spinal manipulations, one that received over-the-counter OTC pain relievers, and a third that only did at-home exercises. 

After 12 weeks, all three groups reported pain reduction, but the participants who received the spinal manipulation reported the most promising results. 


Chiropractors commonly treat headaches and migraines. Cervicogenic headaches are often referred to as secondary headaches because the pain emanates from another source, the neck. Migraine headaches are headaches most people experience on one side of the head. Research reported in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics suggested spinal manipulation can improve both cervicogenic and migraine headaches. 

Low Back Pain 

Many studies have shown evidence that spinal manipulation can provide relief from both mild and moderate low back pain. In other studies, spinal manipulation has been compared to other standard treatments, including exercise and pain relief medications. 

A 2011 review of 26 trials found that spinal manipulation may be as effective as other treatments such as exercise for reducing pain and improving function. Though further studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of spinal manipulations, the preliminary results are encouraging. 

Are There Side Effects to Chiropractic Adjustments?

Side effects of chiropractic care vary. Some people report a feeling of deep relaxation and the relaxation can cause unusually enjoyable sleep. However, this initial reaction isn’t sustained. You can also feel warmth flowing throughout the body. For others, chiropractic care can cause a boost in energy. 

Some adverse reactions occurring from chiropractic care include the following: 

  • Discomfort
  • Muscle soreness
  • Minor pain
  • Headaches 

Some patients experience adverse effects, including detoxification, muscle realignment to the spine, and decompression of your nerves. 

Chiropractic care should never result in severe complications. However, because it involves spinal manipulation, you should only use a licensed chiropractor to conduct your assessments and manual adjustments. 

Who Benefits from Chiropractic Care?

People might mistakenly believe that chiropractic care is only for people who suffer from back pain. However, chiropractic care can treat a wide range of painful conditions such as those affecting the foot, elbow, shoulder, and neck. The following are some examples of what chiropractic care can provide. 

Reduces Reliance on Opioid Painkillers

People with chronic pain often receive prescriptions for painkillers that help manage their discomfort. Undergoing chiropractic care can reduce your need to take painkillers. 

An extensive 2020 study compared the number of prescription pain relievers received by those undergoing chiropractic treatment to those received from people not undergoing chiropractic treatment. They found that adults who visited the chiropractor were less likely to get an opioid prescription filled than those who didn’t receive chiropractic treatment. 

Possible Reaction of Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Cartilage degeneration in joints causes the ends of your bones to rub together. Specific types of chiropractic adjustments can help align your joints and reduce the friction between your joints and bones. 

More research is needed to determine the benefits of spinal manipulation for osteoarthritis. Notably, however, a 2020 animal study found some evidence suggesting chiropractic manipulation can slow the progression of arthritis and improve cartilage, bone, and the joint capsule. 

Reduces Scoliosis Symptoms 

Chiropractic care potentially cures the Cobb angle of people with scoliosis. The Cobb angle refers to the angle of how much the spine curves in scoliosis patients. A 2016 study found the Cobb angle in a group of five children diagnosed with scoliosis improved after eight weeks of chiropractic treatment. There were also noticeable improvements after four weeks of treatment. 

Conclusion- Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

Though more definitive research is needed, the preliminary research and the predominant mood among the medical community is that chiropractic adjustments are effective in treating a wide variety of ailments including chronic neck and back pain as well as headaches. 

Chiropractic adjustments might also treat other conditions such as scoliosis and osteoarthritis. However, for these conditions, the data is more unclear. When considering a chiropractor, make sure you use qualified specialists with relevant experience. While chiropractic adjustments are completely safe, licensed chiropractors determine which manual adjustments are best for you and they ensure your safety. 

The Chiropractors at Governor’s Park Chiropractic Care are here for you if you suffer from neck and back pain. Most of these cases don’t require opiates or surgery. 

Contact us today if you struggle with acute or chronic back or neck pain and we can formulate a comprehensive treatment plan for your condition.

Owner at Governor’s Park Chiropractic | (720) 386-4302 | Website | + posts

Governor's Park Chiropractic is the Colorado chiropractor team dedicated to helping individuals get out of pain and achieve better health. Offering a range of services and treatment options to meet the specific needs of each patient.