Chiropractors treat problems affecting your muscles, skeletal structure and nervous system. This type of therapy does not involve drugs or surgery, only the physical manipulation -- adjustment or realignment -- of your spine and neck by hand. The American Chiropractic Association says that chiropractic treatment is mostly safe. Yet, it admits that adverse effects are possible. Nausea is one such effect.
Nausea is a reaction in your stomach that manifests as an urge to throw up, but does not always lead to vomiting. Pregnancy and chemotherapy are two conditions that commonly cause nausea. Eating something that is not as fresh as you thought can also upset your stomach, causing nausea. Likewise, certain movements, like riding in a boat or car, may lead to the type of nausea known as motion sickness.
Nausea and Chiropractic
A Danish study reported in the October 1997 issue of the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics” concluded that nausea as a side effect of chiropractic treatment amounted to less than 5 percent of the adverse reactions experienced following spinal manipulation. Researchers, who conducted the study via patient interviews, said that the negative response was among those that were benign and physiological, but they did not seem to know why it occurred.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, minor temporary side effects are common from receiving chiropractic treatment. They usually include fatigue, headaches and soreness in the area of the body treated by the practitioner. The NCCAM also states that the more serious risk of vertebrobasilar artery stroke was studied over nine years in Ontario. Researchers concluded that chiropractic treatment did not pose a greater risk of stroke than conventional care by a traditional medical doctor.
If your health insurance covers chiropractic visits, it may require that a physician prescribe the alternative treatment. The chiropractor may also ask for your primary care provider to rule out other conditions she is not prepared to treat before she starts working with you. Even if those scenarios do not apply to you, consider keeping your physician in the loop of your chiropractic treatment. Collaboration between both health care providers can only benefit you. If you experience long-lasting nausea after your chiropractic adjustment, for example, your family physician has a broader medical knowledge that comes in handy when troubleshooting gastrointestinal conditions.
- American Chiropractic Association: Frequently Asked Questions
- American Chiropractic Association: History of Chiropractic Care
- Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics; Side Effects of Chiropractic Treatment: A Prospective Study; 1997
- Cleveland Clinic: Diseases & Conditions--Nausea and Vomiting