When chiropractic may not work

Even with common non-specific back pain, chiropractic may not be effective. Some of the circumstances that may impede its effectiveness include:

  • 1. When the stressor that has caused the problem is still present in the person’s life.
  • 2. When the problem has no known cure and can only be managed.
  • 3. When the person is gaining an advantage from pain, usually without being conscious of it, and so does not want to let go of the illness.

In the first case, chiropractic may help temporarily, but the problem will keep returning until the stressor is addressed. In the second case, it may be too late to effect a full recovery, but some improvement can usually be achieved.

The third scenario is the most difficult to detect but sometimes pain is an excuse to avoid doing something we do not want to do, or is a convenient distractor, helping us avoid facing other problems in our lives. These cases are the most intractable and often do not respond to chiropractic.

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