Is It Dangerous To Have The Chiropractor Crack My Neck?

Those who suffer from neck and back pain often seek treatment, as these types of pain can be debilitating and severely limit one’s quality of life. In order to find relief, many patients turn to chiropractors. However, the prospect of a spinal adjustment, especially a neck adjustment, can feel intimidating.

One of the first responsibilities patients need to take for their own care is to find a qualified chiropractor. There are a variety of chiropractic associations and boards, as with any medical profession, and seeking chiropractors who have strong reputations in those associations is key. It may also help to find a chiropractor who specializes in a specific area that is relevant to the patient’s treatment plan.

After a patient finds a doctor and goes in for an appointment, it is critical that the patient discuss any nervousness around adjustments and feel comfortable with their doctor before having any manipulations done. If the chiropractor isn’t able to set the patient’s mind at ease, it is absolutely within the patient’s prerogative to find a different chiropractor.

<h3>But is it safe?</h3>

Generally, yes. Licensed chiropractors, especially those who specialize in neck adjustments, have a variety of therapeutic techniques that they use to treat neck pain, and a vigorous adjustment of the neck is not the first step in a treatment plan. There are other, gentler alternatives to a high velocity adjustment, so the patient’s neck pain may be resolved before they even need such a manipulation.

That said, many adjustments will result in the popping sound that seems alarming to patients, but that is a natural process that occurs within the joints and isn’t a cause for concern. This is the same process that happens when a person cracks their own knuckles, and it may even occur during stretching or first thing in the morning. It is simply a release of gas bubbles in the synovial fluid, which is what lubricates joints. Those who have had prior joint injuries may notice increased popping in the injured area. However, with chiropractic manipulations, there may be louder or more frequent popping noises, and they should have very little or no pain associated with them. If there is cause to expect pain, the doctor should warn the patient before the procedure.

Regarding safety with high velocity adjustments, there may be a very small risk of stroke from a vertebral artery dissection. However, the causality of the neck adjustment and the stroke are not well studied and have not been clinically shown. However, the chiropractor should offer insight into potential side effects, discuss informed consent, and build a treatment plan based on the patient’s unique medical history and risk factors.

Some risk factors of stroke during a manipulation include:

  • Family history of stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Those on blood pressure medications

It is critical for a patient to disclose their medical situations to the chiropractor so that they can come up with an appropriate treatment plan together which considers those risks. However, the cases of negative outcomes from these neck adjustments remain incredibly low when performed by a capable and qualified doctor of chiropractic.

These adjustments have many positive side effects and may increase mobility in the patient’s neck so that they have better range of motion, help improve posture, decrease the amount or severity of headaches, and increase a patient’s quality of sleep.

Additionally, chiropractic adjustments to the neck may eliminate the need for a patient to undergo neck surgery, which does have a much higher risk of stroke or other complications, and so the much less invasive adjustments done in the chiropractor’s office carry much less risk. These adjustments may also help patients avoid taking opioid medications for pain relief, which can be very addictive and cause physical and mental health problems.

Overall, the neck adjustments are safe when performed in a proper setting where the patient feels comfortable and has been screened for risk factors. For those suffering from neck or upper back pain, these treatments are less invasive than surgical intervention and potentially offer less negative side effects than strong pain medications. If you’re looking for pain relief, we can help. Call now 205-637-1363 .

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