Answers to Questions about Chiropractic:
What Can I do for Neck Pain that Started after
Chiropractic Neck Manipulation?

Samuel Homola, D.C.

Question

When I was a senior in high school, I started having constant lower back pain. After about a year of continuous pain, I went to see a chiropractor. At first everything was going well; he would adjust my back and that would be it. One day, for some reason, he started to adjust my neck and ever since then, I have had neck pain. I never had any problems with my neck until he started messing with it. I went to another chiropractor and was informed I had scoliosis. I constantly told the doctor about my neck pain and how now it was my main concern, not the back pain. I went to him for months, about three times a week and still no relief of the neck pain so I finally quit going altogether. I still have constant neck pain, and sometimes it is so bad it gives me horrible headaches and sometimes I can not even turn my neck. Do you have any suggestions or advice on what I should do to try to relieve the pain. I am afraid that it will only get worse with time and some days, I just can't stand the pain.

Answer

It is important to find out what is causing your neck pain in order to determine what kind of treatment you need. I would suggest that you see an orthopedic specialist for a definitive diagnosis.

In the future, remember that it is not necessary or helpful to submit to neck manipulation as a treatment for low-back pain. And manipulation is not going to correct a scoliosis.

Since you had chiropractic manipulation "for months, three times a week" without any relief for your neck pain, it was prudent to discontinue such treatment. If the manipulation was excessive, simply quitting such treatment may result in improvement with time. But it is very important to rule out  arthritis and other problems that might be causing your pain. So be sure to make an appointment with an orthopedist.

_________________

Dr. Homola is a second-generation chiropractor who has dedicated himself to defining the proper limits on chiropractic and to educating consumers and professionals about the field. His 1963 book Bonesetting, Chiropractic, and Cultism supported the appropriate use of spinal manipulation but renounced chiropractic dogma. His 1999 book Inside Chiropractic: A Patient's Guide provides an incisive look at chiropractic's history, benefits, and shortcomings. Now retired after 43 years of practice, he lives in Panama City, Florida.

This page was revised on April 16, 2002.