Chiropractic Adjustment – The Risks of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a large field of alternative medical practices, in which a doctor makes adjustments to the spines and necks of patients; chiropractic adjustments are touted as helping migraines and boosting the immune system to improving overall health. However, certain types of spinal manipulation can cause many more problems than they solve, and they can also result in serious medical conditions, like strokes. Chiropractic adjustments should be approached with care as they are best for Muscle Pain Relief.

What is Chiropractic Adjustment?

The spinal and neck manipulations are done by chiropractic practitioners can take several forms, from adjustments made by hand to adjustments made using spring-loaded tools designed to force vertebra back into alignment. Many chiropractors combine these types of adjustments with traditional physical therapy to help the body heal from back pain and surgery.

Chiropractors offer patients dramatic relief from back pain, and treatment is often considered to be an ongoing process with health and healing as its goal.

Chiropractic Treatment – What are the Risks of Chiropractics?

Although chiropractic care is assumed to have many benefits and is often touted as being a totally safe alternative to traditional medical care, there are many risks associated with spinal manipulation according to Dr. Stephen Barret of Quackwatch. Health risks from chiropractics are more severe than many people are aware of, because under-reporting of health risks is common in the field, and related risks – such as strokes – may not occur for years after the initial treatment.

According to Edzard Ernst in the study Spinal Manipulation: Its Safety is Uncertain, less serious medical risks associated with chiropractic adjustments include increased back pain and mild headaches. These symptoms can occur immediately after adjustment and last for hours or days. Strenuous adjustments can cause damage; injuries can also include soft tissue damage, broken bones, bruising, dislocated joints and disk injury. 

Chiropractics and Stroke

One of the most serious risks of chiropractic treatment is the possibility of a stroke, especially when the cervical spine – an area near the neck – is rotated by the chiropractor, according to Dr. Barret at Quackwatch. The vertebral artery is connected to the cervical vertebra and wraps around them when entering the skull; rotation of these bones can tear or block the blood vessel, leading to strokes.

Strokes caused by chiropractic adjustments are likelier to occur when chiropractors make neck adjustments by snapping the neck, although any adjustment of the cervical vertebra can result in a stroke, according to Dr. Barret. Symptoms of a stroke following chiropractic treatment can include a sudden headache, dizziness and nausea or vomiting. Strokes can be fatal or cause debilitating and permanent damage to individuals who suffer them. 

Studies of Chiropractic Treatment – What are the Benefits of Chiropractic?

Manipulation of the neck has the highest risk of chiropractic adjustment. However, are there still benefits to seeing a chiropractor? According to a 1996 Rand Corporation study, there is very little evidence that shows chiropractic care provides anything beyond short-term relief for back pain.

Quackwatch, a website that records and reports on health-related frauds and misconduct, as well as fallacies in the perception of medical care, has a summary of a number of medical reports and studies on chiropractics. According to the site and the studies, chiropractic adjustments are no more effective than traditional physical therapy.

The risks of chiropractic treatment far outweigh the benefits, according to the 1996 Rand Study; the low efficacy of spinal adjustments and the risk of serious and sometimes fatal medical complications that can result from them should be taken into serious consideration when individuals think about visiting a chiropractor’s office.