Who Is a Good Candidate for Chiropractic Treatment?


For individuals seeking an alternative treatment for musculoskeletal pain or related health conditions, chiropractic treatment may be an option. However, not everyone is a good candidate for chiropractic care.

The following factors are good indicators that chiropractic care may be a beneficial treatment option:

  • Musculoskeletal pain or related concerns
    Individuals with back pain, neck pain, pain in other joints or muscles, headaches, or health conditions such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may be good candidates for chiropractic treatment. Those looking to improve joint mobility may also benefit from chiropractic care.
  • Interest in alternative treatments
    In addition to manual adjustments, a chiropractor may incorporate alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, nutritional counseling, or homeopathy, into a treatment plan. A good candidate should be open to these possibilities.
  • Ability to sit or lie down and move into different positions
    Sitting or lying down on a padded table is required during spinal or joint manipulation. The ability to move into different positions allows the chiropractor to treat different areas of the body.
  • Discipline to do homework
    Chiropractors often prescribe exercises, stretches, or other activities to be done at home between appointments. A good candidate is willing to put in this effort to achieve the best possible results.
  • Insurance coverage for chiropractic treatment or ability to pay out of pocket
    Not all medical insurance companies cover chiropractic treatment. Individuals should check with their insurance provider to determine coverage and any copays or deductibles. The chiropractor can also provide self-pay pricing.

Some individuals are not good candidates for chiropractic care, especially spinal manipulation. This includes individuals who

  • have osteoporosis.
  • are at an elevated risk of stroke.
  • take blood-thinning medications.
  • have inflammatory arthritis.
  • have a history of cancer.
  • have spinal cord compression.

In addition, certain chiropractic treatments have contraindications. For example, spinal decompression therapy, in which the spine is stretched, is not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with broken vertebrae, or individuals who have had spinal fusion or an implant in the spine.

Chiropractors conduct a thorough medical history and physical examination before treatment. If necessary, they may also utilize diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate.