Back pain is one of the most common medical problems and causes of disability in the world. Approximately 60-70% of people will have severe back pain at some point in their lives. A 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimated it to be one of the top 10 diseases and injuries, although back pain is one of the greatest burdens in the world, it is poorly understood. There is much contention regarding best practice, however, research shows chiropractic care to be beneficial for lower back pain and many patients report; a high satisfaction with care, a need of less pain medications, less pain intensity and improved overall function.
Neck pain is the second most common reason patients seek chiropractic care. The neck is composed of seven vertebrae as well as many muscles and ligaments. Any of these structures can be inflamed or damaged and may result in neck pain. A 1996 systematic review revealed manipulation or mobilization (such as those performed by a chiropractor) may be more effective than muscle relaxants or normal medical treatment for neck pain relief (5). Overall, chiropractic treatment is helpful in acute, subacute and chronic cases of neck pain, especially when a multimodal approach is taken (6,7,8,9). Chiropractic can improve your neck range of motion, reduce pain and a specifically designed treatment protocol can assist with many different neck conditions.
There are 2 main types of headaches, primary and secondary. Primary headaches are those that are not caused by an underlying pathology and make up about 95% of all headaches. For many of them, chiropractic can be an effective treatment. Cervicogenic headaches are caused by an underlying neck problem, and chiropractic manipulation has been shown to be an incredibly effective treatment. According to a study of 981 people, chiropractic care, inclusive of spinal manipulation, improves symptoms of both cervicogenic and migraine headaches. In some cases, chiropractic has been shown to be even more effective than some medications for relief of tension headaches (9-10).
For many woman, pregnancy can be very physically taxing. Your body is undergoing many hormonal and physical changes, altering ligament laxity and placing increased pressure on your spine and pelvis. Often, pain and discomfort ensues. Visiting a chiropractor can help relieve load off of your spine and pelvis, and detect and correct any postural or biomechanical imbalances. Not only will the treatment help you, but it could help your baby too. A pelvis out of alignment may restrict the amount of space available to your baby, which can obstruct normal movement. An aligned and biomechanically sound pelvis decreases the risk of a breech baby and can also reduce the amount of time spent in labour. A review of the literature report favourable results of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, and is considered safe and effective for treating musculoskeletal symptoms (11).
The first thing most parents want to know is usually whether chiropractic is safe for their baby or child. The answer is yes, all treatment types can be changed and modified to suit the size and needs of patient, including a newborn baby (11, 12). The most common reasons parents seek chiropractic for their children include musculoskeletal problems or delayed motor skills including walking, sitting or turning their heads. Other more controversial conditions such as infantile colic, bed-wetting and digestive issues have also been some common reasons. A study by Alcantara (2009) showed a high rate of improvement of all presenting complaints of children and infants while under chiropractic care, as well as improved effects unrelated to the child’s presenting complaint, outside of only musculoskeletal problems (12).
A chiropractic education ensures healthcare professionals well trained in assessment, diagnosis, radiography, illness-prevention and health promotion, and thus are very well suited to care for the older population (13). There is evidence that an increasing number of geriatric persons are making use of chiropractic care, especially for neuromusculoskeletal conditions (14). Joints are required to move to maintain normal health. We are specialised in mobilisation techniques for all joints to ensure they are performing at their best. The evidence also suggests that spinal manipulative therapy and other treatment modalities used by chiropractors are successful in treating many of these conditions, and thus, many patients choose to stay in a maintenance-care type program, which they believe is important to their health (15).
The ultimate goal with treating the athlete is to always try to prevent injuries before they occur. Chiropractors make use of different assessment tools which can ascertain if areas are susceptible to injury. The objective of chiropractic treatment is to restore or enhance joint motion and function, which can ultimately prevent injuries from occurring. If the injury has already occurred, chiropractic can assist with pain reduction and also help speed up the healing process. Chiropractors make use of orthopedic testing, we can refer for imaging such as x-rays and ultrasound or even blood tests. Along with joint manipulation and mobilisation techniques, we make use of other soft tissue therapies such as dry needling, sports massage, strapping etc. (see treatment types).
1. Ferguson, S.A., Merryweather, A., Thiese, M.S. et al. (2019). Prevalence of low back pain, seeking medical care, and lost time due to low back pain among manual material handling workers in the United States. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 243 doi:10.1186/s12891-019-2594-0
2. Meade, T.W., Dyer, S., Browne, W., Townsend, J., Frank, A.O. (1990). Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment. British Medical Journal: 300 :1431
3. Cherkin, D.C., MacCornack,F.A. Patient evaluations of low back pain care from family physicians and chiropractors. West J Med. 1989;150(3):351–355.
4. Manga, P, Angus, D.E., Papadopoulos, Swan, W.R. (1993). The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back-pain. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health August, 1993
5. Hurwitz, E.L., Aker, P.D., Adams, A.H., Meeker, W.C., Shekelle, P.G. (1996). Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine: A Systematic Review of the Literature Spine: August 1, 1996 - Volume 21 - Issue 15 - p 1746–1759
6. McMorland, G., Suter, E. (2000). Chiropractic management of mechanical neck and low-nack pain: A retrospective, outcome-based analysis. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 23(5): 307-311. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475400902045)
7. Bryans, R., Decina, P., Descarreaux, et al. (2014). Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Neck Pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: 37(1)2014; 42-63 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475413002376)
8. Bronfort, G., Evans, R., Anderson, A.V., et al. (2012). Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med;156:1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-156-1-201201030-00002
9. Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., ety al. (2011). Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics; 34(5): 274-289 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475411000686)
10. Vernon, H.T. (1995). The effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of headache: an exploration in the literature.. In: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK);Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK66477/
11. Borggren, C,L. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature (2007). Journal of Chiropractic Medicine; 6(2): 70-74 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899346707000444
12. Doyle, M.F. (2011). Is chiropractic paediatric care safe? A best evidence topic. Clinical Chiropractic; 14(3): 97-105 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clch.2011.06.004
13. Alcantara, J., Ohm, j., Kunz, D. (2009)The Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic: A Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice-Based Research Network. EXPLORE: 5(5): 290-295 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550830709002079)
14. Killinger, L.Z. (2004). Chiropractic and geriatrics: a review of the training, role, and scope of chiropractic in caring for aging patients. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine:20(2):223-235. DOI: 10.1016/j.cger.2004.02.008.
15. Gleberzon, B. J. (2001). Chiropractic care of the older person: developing an evidence-based approach. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 45(3), 156–171.