4 Reasons to See a Chiropractor Instead of Your Primary Care Doctor if You Have Back and Neck Pain

4 reasons to see a chiropractor instead of your primary care doctor if you have back and neck pain

Chiropractic Raleigh NC Pinched Nerves

Nearly 35 million people a year visit their Chiropractors, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in musculoskeletal disorders and are the third-largest health profession behind only medical doctors and dentists.

Here are four reasons to consider seeing your Chiropractor

See a chiropractir instead of your primary care doctor if you experience back or neck pain for the following reasons:

Reason 1: Patient Satisfaction

Patients routinely rate their experience and outcomes seeing a chiropractor the highest among healthcare professionals. A recent Gallup poll showed three out of four people who saw a chiropractor in the last year (or 77%) described their chiropractic care as "very effective".

A 2015 study published in the orthopedic journal Spine looked at the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments when seeking primary care for spine pain. 94% of the chiropractic adjustment recipients experienced a 30% decrease in pain compared to only 54% of the primary care recipients.

Reason 2: Chiropractic care is safe

Chiropractic is generally considered a safe treatment option for back and neck pain. Like any other medical treatment, there can be potential side effects and complications, but when you want to compare chiropractic care to primary care medicine, you must take into consideration the potential risks of being prescribed medication as part of your treatment regimen (very often, primary care physicians are going to prescribe medicine as part of your treatment). Consider, for example, that a recent study by the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that people taking NSAIDs are three times more likely than those who do not to develop internal bleeding and perforation in the intestinal tract. This number increases to five times as likely in people over 60 years.

Or, consider that the number of prescriptions for painkillers, which include opiates, has tripled in the past 12 years. The CDC reports that there are approximately 15,000 deaths a year from opiate painkillers.

It's very clear that chiropractic care should be considered a safe treatment alternative for back and neck pain.

Reason 3: Chiropractic Care Is Cost-Effective

A 2016 study, Hurwitz et al, looked at the health care cost of patients in North Carolina seeking treatment from Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, or their Medical Doctors for back pain, neck pain, and headaches. The study found that those who received chiropractic care had lower healthcare expenses.

Nearly all insurances cover chiropractic care. If you've been in a car accident, usually the insurances will cover your chiropractic treatment.

Reason 4: Minimal Side Effects

Compared to other treatment options, such as surgery and drugs, the potential side effects of chiropractic care are minimal. While Chiropractic care does include some minor side effects like soreness following treatments, the risk of more serious side effects like fractures and disc herniations are extremely rare.

Relative to the side effects that come with pain medications, NSAIDs, and surgery, which include internal bleeding, addiction, and even some risk of death, chiropractic care is comparatively safe and has low instances of side effects.

For instance, Estim research shows that therapies used in Chiropractic clinics such as electrical muscle stimulation (ESTIM) can have a greater propensity to manage pain with fewer side effects.

Treatment Characteristics: Estim Cause of Death/Day 0

  • Side Effects/Complications: Occasional minor skin irritation
  • Benefits
    Estim Users Can

Pain Meds. Cause of Death/Day 41

  • The onset of relief 10-40 min
  • Duration of relief 4-12 hrs.
  • Build tolerance: Yes
  • Addictive: Yes

Respiratory depression

  • Opioid-induced constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting, dry mouth
  • Sleepiness, dizziness
  • Confusion and depression
  • A decrease in activities of daily living


  • Medication costs by 55%
  • Imaging costs by 32%
  • Imaging tests by 32%
  • Physical therapy visits by12%
  • ER visits by 6%
  • Increase local blood flow
  • Prevent disuse atrophy
  • Treat sub-acute, acute and chronic pain syndromes
  • Most beneficial for short term post-op use

Source: E-stem Research Long Term Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Use Impacts On Medical Utilization and Physical Therapy Costs. Published March 1998 Clinical Journal of Pain, Clinical and Economic Impact of TENS in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Analysis of a Nationwide Database Published December 2013.

If you have any additional questions about why to see a chiropractor instead of a primary care doctor, please feel free to get in touch.

In health,

Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.

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