A chiropractor may help relieve your neck pain, but it’s essential to talk with a doctor about the possible risks and benefits.

Like all types of pain, neck pain and stiffness can significantly affect your quality of life by making it harder to drive, work, exercise, and perform everyday tasks.

If you’ve been experiencing neck pain, you might be curious whether a chiropractor could help. Keep reading to learn more.

Yes, chiropractic adjustments might help relieve neck pain.

A 2021 review published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that chiropractic manipulation effectively treated acute neck pain. The review found that while spinal adjustments alone could improve neck pain, they can be safely combined with treatments like medication and physiotherapy.

Chiropractors help with bodily pain through:

A 2019 study found that chiropractic treatment may help with neck pain because it increases the levels of natural pain-relieving hormones — like oxytocin — throughout the body.

A study from 2020 also found that chiropractic visits might help reduce the need for opioid-based pain relievers. The study noted that adults who visited a chiropractor were less likely to get an opioid prescription filled than those who didn’t visit a chiropractor.

Although chiropractic is controversial, and not all health professionals agree on its effectiveness, many people do benefit from chiropractic manipulations. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), spinal manipulation is relatively safe when performed by a trained, licensed chiropractor.

With that said, you may experience some temporary side effects after chiropractic neck adjustments. You might feel increased soreness and stiffness immediately after your session. Some people also report feeling tired or dizzy after chiropractor sessions.

There are some serious (but rare) complications of spinal manipulations, including:

If you’re unsure whether chiropractic would be worth exploring, you can speak with a healthcare professional — such as a general practitioner or physiotherapist — about all your options. Make sure to always work with fully accredited healthcare professionals.

Chiropractic adjustments can provide relief lasting between a few days and a few weeks. Depending on the cause of your neck pain, you might not need another session. Your chiropractor might also recommend multiple follow-up sessions.

This depends on several, including:

  • the cause of your neck pain
  • the treatment you received
  • how you cared for your neck after your treatment

Ask your chiropractor for specific recommendations on how to care for your neck after the adjustment. For example, they might recommend resting your neck for the first few days or using heat therapy the next day to ease soreness.

Medicare Part B can cover chiropractic manipulation for back pain. Specifically, it covers manual manipulation to correct a vertebral subluxation, which is when the spinal joints fail to move correctly, but the contact between the joints remains intact.

However, Medicare doesn’t cover other chiropractic services.

If you have another type of insurance, your chiropractic visits may be covered if they are done to address a specific condition or complaint (e.g., back pain). However, not all insurance plans cover chiropractic. It’s a good idea to check your benefits and call your insurance if you’re unsure of your coverage.

Other options for neck pain

If chiropractic adjustments don’t improve your neck pain, you might want to explore other treatments. A healthcare professional might recommend:

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Chiropractic adjustments don’t work for everyone, but research suggests it may be a safe and effective treatment for neck pain. If you have neck pain, chiropractic might provide some relief.

However, if chiropractic doesn’t improve your symptoms or your neck pain keeps returning, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your treatment plan. Consider speaking with another healthcare professional, such as a general practitioner, physiotherapist, or biokineticists.

If you decide to try a spinal adjustment for neck pain, be sure to visit a licensed, trained chiropractor. Asking your primary healthcare professional for references is the best way to find quality chiropractors.