The best available scientific
evidence for chiropractic concerns acute back pain, chronic neck pain, and tension
headaches. It is generally stronger than the evidence for conventional physical
therapy techniques alone, but when used together patients achieve optimal results.
The greatest strength of chiropractic is in treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal
conditions such as sprain or strain-type injuries of the back and adjacent structures.
Their strongest suit is low back conditions. Neck, head, and arm problems, especially
migraine headaches, tension headaches, stiff necks, and torticollis follow this.
The next strongest area would be extra spinal conditions such as problems in
the knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, and other joints.
For low back pain, research has helped make it possible to predict reliably
which individuals will benefit. For conditions with more vague complaints or
with visceral manifestation like gastritis, asthma, or allergies, the predictability
of benefit is lower, although there is much anecdotal evidence that these conditions
too can benefit.
showed that spinal manipulation can produce a number of physical
responses, such as decreased blood pressure and renal and adrenal nerve activity.
It may also enhance immune function by increasing metabolic rates of certain
white blood cells and increasing other substances that play a role in immune
regulation and inflammation. These studies also show that spinal adjustment can
reduce levels of inflammatory Prostaglandins and possibly increase levels of
beta-endorphins, the natural painkillers in the body.