An estimated 35 million Americans visit the chiropractor every year. Patients often seek relief from neck pain caused by poor posture, whiplash, workplace injuries, and other causes. For most, chiropractic neck adjustments provide immediate and long-term relief. But it’s also important to understand the risks involved before pursuing this neck pain treatment.
What is a Chiropractic Neck Adjustment?
Chiropractic care is a holistic therapy that accounts for your overall health and lifestyle. The primary technique used in chiropractic care is called manual manipulation. This involves realigning the spine by hand to eliminate vertebral subluxations, or misaligned spinal bones.
This technique is often performed on the cervical spine, or neck. Often called a chiropractic neck adjustment, manual manipulation of the cervical spine usually involves the patient sitting upright or lying on a padded table. If the chiropractor detects tension in the neck during a spinal adjustment, they may quickly rotate or thrust the neck to pop a stubborn joint back into place.
Why Do Joints Make a Popping Sound?
Hearing your neck pop as your chiropractor adjusts your spine may be disconcerting. But the cracking sound you hear is nothing more than bubbles escaping from the fluid between your joints, similar to opening a can of soda. This process is not normally harmful, especially when performed by a licensed and trained chiropractor.
Benefits of Neck Adjustments
As long as you visit a trusted, experienced chiropractor, you can rest assured that the neck adjustments you receive are safe and effective. Here are the benefits of treating neck pain with chiropractic care:
- Relieve chronic pain and stiffness at the source.
- Find relief without taking medication or undergoing surgery.
- Ease headaches, migraines, circulatory problems, and other issues caused by a misaligned cervical spine.
Risks of Chiropractic Neck Adjustments
As with most medical treatments, chiropractic care comes with a few risks. Here are the potential complications to be aware of:
- Pain: Realigning your spine should not be painful. In fact, it’s intended to relieve pain. If you experience discomfort during a neck adjustment, ask your chiropractor to change techniques.
- Hypermobility and perpetual instability: Hypermobility is when a joint has a larger range of motion than normal. This can create the urge to crack your neck. If you do this too often, your ligaments could become permanently stretched, leading to perpetual instability and osteoarthritis.
- Stroke: The short, quick thrust of your neck during a spinal adjustment can create small tears in the artery walls found in the neck, a condition known as cervical artery dissection. This is an incredibly rare complication, but it’s worth knowing about because it can cause a stroke.
The team at Effective Integrative Healthcare is comprised of compassionate, skillful chiropractors who genuinely care about your health and wellbeing. We always learn as much as possible about your health and lifestyle before recommending a safe, effective treatment plan for you. To get started, please schedule a free consultation at our Crofton or Millersville, MD office today.