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What are the Pros and Cons of Chiropractic for Neck Pain?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 17, 2024
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Similar to most medical options, chiropractic for neck pain carries both pros and cons. For patients who want or need to avoid traditional pain medications and surgery, undergoing chiropractic treatment is an alternative way to achieve neck pain relief. Also, chiropractic therapies can sometimes cost less than other options. Despite the benefits, there are some disadvantages of chiropractic treatments for neck pain. Not all health insurance companies will cover chiropractic for neck pain, and patients with certain medical conditions aren’t considered candidates for chiropractic treatment.

Some patients want to avoid taking medication or can’t take certain medications due to allergies or other medications they’re taking. Treating neck pain with chiropractic therapy is an alternative way for these patients to achieve neck pain relief. The same is true for patients who want to avoid surgery or who aren’t physically well enough to safely undergo surgery. In addition to neck pain relief, other benefits of chiropractic treatments can include improvements in breathing, the immune system, and the nervous system. Plus, depending on factors like the number of appointments, chiropractic therapy can sometimes cost less than surgery or medicine.

Since chiropractic therapy hasn’t been as widely accepted as a mainstream medical treatment for as long as other traditional options, not all health insurance companies provide coverage. At the same time, even though a few individual chiropractic treatments generally cost less than surgery or ongoing pain medicine prescriptions, trips to a chiropractor’s office can quickly add up. Chiropractors are becoming more common, but most communities aren’t as saturated with doctors who can administer alternative treatments for neck pain as they are with doctors who can prescribe medication and perform surgeries. This means that in addition to the cost of treatment, many patients also have to deal with the cost involved with traveling to a chiropractor’s office. Plus, certain types of neck pain and other disabilities can make it inconvenient or even impossible to make the trips.

Cost and travel aside, there are other disadvantages of chiropractic therapy for neck pain. For example, chiropractic treatment typically isn’t an option for people with certain medical conditions. These conditions usually include bone and joint problems. Doctors generally don’t recommend trying chiropractic for neck pain if a patient has certain bone and joint problems such as gout, existing joint or bone fractures, bone cancer, or osteoporosis. If the patient doesn’t have any of these problems in or near the neck area, though, a chiropractor might deem it safe to try chiropractic for neck pain.

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