Chiropractors are some of the most popular complementary and alternative health practitioners in the United States. And with good reason. There’s plenty of science that shows that going to a chiropractor for back pain or neck pain—and many other health issues—can be effective.

Chiropractors are licensed professionals who use manual therapies—as well as other forms of treatment like exercise and nutrition—to help the body heal itself. Chiropractors are primarily involved in treating problems with the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, like back pain, neck pain, joint pain, or headaches.

Chiropractic care is becoming more popular. A 2017 study showed that more than 1 in 10 U.S. adults—10.3 percent of the population—goes to a chiropractor. That’s up from 9.1 percent in 2012.
They assess problems through examination, testing, and imaging to find the source of the trouble. Then chiropractors use manual therapies like stretching and joint manipulations to improve function.

Chiropractors use joint manipulations to get joints moving again when there’s a blockage or restriction. These restrictions can come from either a single injury (like whiplash) or they can develop over time from issues like poor posture.

Generally, chiropractic treatment is very safe. Side effects are rare, and serious side effects are exceedingly uncommon. Some people experience mild discomfort after getting a chiropractic adjustment, but it’s usually not more than the soreness you might feel after a workout. That discomfort usually resolves in a day or so.

Chiropractic care is designed to help your body heal itself. If you follow the guidance of your chiropractor even once you’ve left the office, you’ll have much better chances of treatment success.