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Unfortunately, misunderstandings and myths are prevalent when it comes to chiropractic care.  The branding of chiropractic as unsafe may be the most common that we hear as chiropractors.  Once someone experiences chiropractic for themselves, they often see how unfounded and sometimes silly these myths are.

A proposed connection between chiropractic neck adjustments and a certain type of stroke has been publicized on occasion. The problem is, many of these publicized stories are heavy on drama and emotion, and contain very little research and facts.

The fact is, much research has been done on the potential occurrence of a type of stroke and the cervical adjustment.  The most recent study in the journal Spine found that the incidence of people having a stroke following a chiropractic visit was no different than those having a stroke following a medical doctor’s visit.1  In any event, its important to understand that the chance of suffering a stroke following a chiropractic neck adjustment is as rare as 1 per 3.8 to 5 million neck adjustments.2  This number pales in comparison to your chance of experiencing other rare events such as:3

            in bed –                          1:565,700

So, you should be about 9 times more worried about suffocating in your bed than about suffering a stroke following a neck adjustment.  In fact, when you look at stroke risk a little closer, you find that those receiving neck adjustments from a chiropractor have the same risk of experiencing a stroke as the general population!2

Chiropractic care has been shown to be one of the safest forms of health care available. Chiropractors are certainly the safest physician you could visit.  How can I make such bold statements you ask?  One of the best ways to measure the risks associated with a particular doctor’s care is to look at professional risk assessors say.  Malpractice insurance companies determine premiums based on the risk a provider poses.

What chiropractors pay for malpractice insurance in an entire year is less than or equal to what primary care medical doctors pay in one month.4  

A recent study further proves chiropractic is not only safe, but safer than traditional medical care.  The researchers made their findings pretty clear by concluding “Among Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with an office visit for a neuromusculoskeletal problem, risk of injury to the head, neck, or trunk within seven days was 76% lower among subjects with a chiropractic office visit than among those who saw a primary care (medical) physician.”5

Chiropractic Care Risk...

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Sources:

1. “Safety of Chiropractic Interventions: A Systematic Review.”      Spine.  2009, Oct.

2. “CVA Monograph.”  NCMIC Insurance Company.  2005.

3. CEVantive University.  Chiropractic continuing education program.

4. “Medical Malpractice Insurance: Multiple Factors Have Contributed to Increased Premium Rates.”  United States General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress.  June 2003.

5. Weldon, JM et al. “Risk of Traumatic Injury Associated With Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation…” Spine, 2015;40(4):p264–270.


Chiropractic Safety – The Facts