Is Chiropractic Pseudoscience? Myths of Benefits, Limitations, and Advantages Healthline

Chiropractic care, a kind that is a form of alternative therapy, is based on manual (hands-on) manipulation that helps your body to recover itself.

Manual healing techniques have been used for centuries. They date back to antiquity however, the chiropractic profession didn’t begin until the latter half of the 19th century. Nowadays, chiropractors follow physicians and dentists to form the third largest category of healthcare professionals who are primary within the United States. Chiropractic treatment is legally regulated in all 50 states and chiropractors are licensed in

90 countries


But, as you have heard or read about yourself, there are those who consider chiropractic an unproven form of pseudoscience.

Healthcare professionals do not always agree on the importance of chiropractic in relation to certain conditions, as well as assertions that aren’t supported by scientific evidence.

However, with numerous studies that support chiropractic care for specific types of pain, including back pain, it is becoming more doctors are recommending it along with other therapies.

Explore this article for a thorough review of the research-based support of chiropractic care, plus information regarding its possible applications and benefits.

Patients seek chiropractors to treat all types of conditions and injuries, for example:

Experts continue to research the potential benefits and dangers associated with chiropractic care for these and other injuries and conditions.

While the current state of science might not back any current claim about the advantages associated with chiropractic treatment,

The evidence

Does suggest that most people have high levels of satisfaction with this alternative method.

Some of the research-based benefits of chiropractic care:

It’s also important to remember that not all people respond similarly when it comes to chiropractic treatment. What is effective for one individual might not be the case for you.

Many misconceptions and myths regarding chiropractic practice can are a reason for the belief that chiropractic is a pseudoscience.

Let’s discuss the most popular ones:

Myth: It’s not necessary to have any degree to become a chiropractor

Chiropractic practitioners don’t have the title of an M.D., and they aren’t medical professionals. However, chiropractors do earn an doctorate or chiropractic certificate and can be licensed as practitioners.

Being a chiropractor usually involves:

  • a 4-year undergraduate degree
  • From 3 to 5 Years of an approved chiropractic college
  • an internship in a clinical setting

Myth The one thing chiropractors do is to crack your back

Chiropractors tackle issues that affect the musculoskeletal system as well as the nervous system.

Alongside the ability to adjust joints to be realigned they also provide:

Myth: Doctors do not accept chiropractic treatment

Some experts are not convinced of the significance that chiropractic care in the treatment of specific ailments because of the need for further studies. But, chiropractic care is largely acknowledged as a complementary treatment for neck and back discomfort.

This is in part due to the fact that medical journals published by mainstream journals publish studies that examine the advantages associated with chiropractic care. According to the American College of Physicians guidelines also mention spinal manipulation among the recommended first-line treatments for lower back pain.

The Myth Chiropractic adjustments can be dangerous

There may be several side effects after the adjustment, such as:

  • Temporary muscle soreness
  • Stiffness
  • more pain

There have been serious problems caused by spinal manipulations, but they are extremely rare. Potentially serious complications include:

It is the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is looking at spinal manipulation.

fairly safe

When performed by a certified and certified practitioner who is licensed and trained.


If you suffer from a problem that causes joint pain or you’re receiving treatment for a different medical issue, it’s best to consult with your medical team prior to undergoing an adjustment.

Are you wondering what the experts declare about the advantages and limitations that are associated with chiropractic care?

Here’s a breakdown of most recent evidence.

Low back discomfort

Studies suggest that chiropractic care can help improve lower back pain in some people.

A 2017


of research studies have linked spinal manipulation with modest improvements in function and pain of people suffering from chronic low back discomfort.


Study of 2018

Involving 750 active-duty military personnel randomly assigned half of the participants to receive standard medical care, like physical therapy and medication and the remaining half received regular care and chiropractic treatments for six weeks. After six weeks, those receiving chiropractic care:

  • They reported less pain intensity as well as an increase in functional
  • were less disabled
  • said they were more satisfied with their treatment
  • Needed less pain medication

Neck discomfort


2021 review

Researchers found that spinal manipulation proved effective for treatment of neck pains that are acute as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with treatments such as treatment with physiotherapy and medications.

According to

2019 study

studying the advantages of chiropractic care to treat neck discomfort, this treatment might help because it raises the levels of oxytocin neurotensin, as well as other pain-reducing hormones naturally found in your body.


Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when loss of cartilage within the joints causes bones to be pressed against bone. Certain chiropractic adjustments can aid in relieving OA discomfort by reducing bone-on-bone contact, however, research on the advantages associated with chiropractic for OA is still insufficient.

A brief study in 2021 of patients suffering from spine or extremity OA did uncover evidence that suggests chiropractic care appeared to help greatly reduce the severity of pain.


Many people consult chiropractors for assistance with headaches such as migraine.

There is evidence that suggests spinal manipulation may help with certain kinds of headaches More research of high-quality is needed.


2017 study

investigating what effects spinal manipulation on migraines, we divided the participants in three categories: spinal manipulation, sham spinal manipulation and treatment with pharmacologic drugs. Each group reported a substantial reduction in migraine-related times after 17 weeks however these effects were sustained through the time period of follow-up for those who underwent treatment with either real or fake manipulation.

Researchers noted that it was probably an unintentional response. However, spinal manipulation could be an option if other treatments fail to help.


2020 review

Seven studies concluded of 7 studies found that spinal manipulation was found to offer only a small amount of benefits in terms of frequency, intensity and impairment in those suffering from

Cervicogenic headache

. However, it didn’t result in a lasting impact on the long-term.


2021 study

included 199 children aged 7-14 who had recurrent headaches. According to the study, spinal manipulation might lead to less headaches but it will not be able to reduce the severity of headaches.

Invigorating the immune system

What do experts agree chiropractic isn’t able to do? Boost your immune system.

In March of 2020 the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) published a study claiming chiropractic adjustments could increase the immune system’s effectiveness and suggest that chiropractic care could help in preventing COVID-19. (The report was later deleted.)

Based on a study, a critical


of the report written by the 153 researchers who are involved of chiropractic research across 11 countries of the report by 153 researchers involved in chiropractic research across 11 countries, the ICA could not provide a the scientifically valid evidence of how chiropractic care impacts the immune system. Researchers also identified some warning signs of pseudoscience in the report.

There are several choices for finding a reliable chiropractor within your region:

  • Talk to your doctor or medical professional for suggestions.
  • Ask your friends and family members whether they have any suggestions.
  • Make use of to use the American Chiropractic Association’s Find a Doctor tool.
  • Use a search engine to find highly reviewed chiropractors close to you.

Before you choose a physician it is also possible to be able to:

  • Check that your chiropractor is certified by your State chiropractic board.
  • Make an appointment with an chiropractor to determine whether they’re the right fit.
  • Find out about the costs and insurance plans that are accepted.

It is never a bad idea to read reviews from customers about an individual chiropractor as well as the place in which they work. What can people say about their professionalism as well as treatment? Do they usually feel satisfied?

If you’re uncomfortable following an adjustment, either with the method or your chiropractor’s technique, don’t hesitate to seek out a different chiropractor.

Be aware, however be aware that chiropractic treatment may not be the right choice for you. Chiropractic treatment is a possible treatment for certain kinds of pain, however it’s not the only option that every patient likes.

Chiropractic isn’t a pseudoscience. While studies continue to investigate its possible uses there is evidence to support its advantages as an element of a treatment plan for the pain.

If you’d like to try chiropractic treatment a go begin by asking your health care provider whether chiropractic treatment is an choice for you. You may also inquire with your doctor or a physician for a recommendation.

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.