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Chiropractic & Diabetes – Improved Function Not a Cure

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Over the weekend I attended a Re-certification Emergency First Aid course (CPR, AED etc). It was a great course, one that re-emphasizes my belief that everyone should have some training in emergency medical care. During a break, I was talking to the instructor, an EMT. He said that he had an interesting question to ask me, “Can Chiropractic adjustments cure diabetes”? To which I immediately said, NO “Chiropractor adjustments DO NOT cure diabetes”. He then started to tell me about how, about a month ago, a Chiropractic in one of his courses told him that, ‘spinal adjustments can cure diabetes (Type I and Type II)’.

I said to the instructor, “I hope there was a misunderstanding in your conversation with this practitioner because this is just not the case”. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition (where the immune system is destroying beta cells in the pancreas) while Type 2 Diabetes (the predominant type) has to do with insulin resistance at a cellular level.

I Informed the instructor that Chiropractors can make effective dietary and exercise recommendations, along with providing care for Diabetic-induced musculoskeletal problems. I also indicated that there is good research to show that manual therapy can lead to improvements in musculoskeletal symptoms (pain relief, increase range of motion etc), especially in conjunction with appropriate exercise recommendations.

My younger sister was diabetic from age 5, she passed away before she was 50. She used extensive soft-tissue therapy and Chiropractic care to function at a much higher level than most people with diabetes. She loved getting this therapy because of the substantially improved function of her body and found that it significantly improved the quality of her life. That being said, Chiropractic is NOT a cure for diabetes. In fact, diabetes is NOT in the scope of practice for any chiropractor.

Chiropractic Can Improve Quality of Life

At my clinic, I regularly treat a number of patients suffering from diabetes. Because of diabetes-induced circulatory problems, many diabetics experience reduced joint mobility, increased scar tissue formation, and peripheral neuropathy as common problems. Simple motions such as opening and closing the hands or walking around the house can often become major problems for diabetics. This affects all their activities of daily living, causes increased pain, and reduces their joy in life.

Our clinical experience has shown that manual therapy can make a huge difference in the quality of life of diabetic patients. By releasing restrictions throughout the body, restoring motion, and quite often reducing pain, our patients have been able to live a more fulfilling and normal life.

Bottom Line

Evidence DOES NOT support making outlandish claims about curing diabetes with Chiropractic adjustments. However, there is good clinical and scientific evidence to support the combination of manual therapy (Massage, Chiropractic, Motion Specific Release etc.), exercise, and dietary recommendations to treat the musculoskeletal issues that arise from Diabetes.

If you are a diabetic or you know someone who is suffering from a musculoskeletal condition due to diabetes please give us a call. We will do our best to help improve the quality of their life.



Dr. Abelson believes in running an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). EBPs strive to adhere to the best research evidence available, while combining their clinical expertise with the specific values of each patient.

Dr. Abelson is the developer of Motion Specific Release (MSR) Treatment Systems. His clinical practice in is located in Calgary, Alberta (Kinetic Health). He has recently authored his 10th publication which will be available later this year.

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