Despite chiropractic’s 120+ year history, confusion and misunderstanding about its safety is prevalent. The labeling of chiropractic as unsafe is completely unfounded and contradicted by the research literature. Once someone experiences chiropractic for themselves, they quickly see how unfounded these criticisms are.
Chiropractic Care Risk...
Chiropractic care has been shown to be one of the safest health care options available. Chiropractors are certainly the safest physician you could visit. How can I make such bold statements? 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 much 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 This is not intended to be a critique of medical care, but it reveals just how safe chiropractic is.
Chiropractic Neck Adjustments...
A proposed connection between chiropractic neck adjustments and injury to a blood vessel in the upper neck has occasionally been publicized in the media. Unfortunately, these stories are heavy on emotion and contain very little research and facts.
The fact is, much research has been done on the potential occurrence of this type of stroke and the neck adjustment. A 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 Another study shows that those receiving neck adjustments from a chiropractor have the same risk of experiencing a stroke as the general population.2 Yet another study on neck adjustments shows us that the forces from a neck adjustment are less than the forces from you turning your own head as far as you can to one side or the other.6 Bottom line? You should be more concerned about injuring your neck from checking your blind spot or your pre-workout stretching than one of our highly-trained and licensed chiropractors using their advanced skills to restore healthy alignment and mobility to your neck joints.
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 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.
6. Symons B et al. “Internal Forces on the VA During SMT” J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002;25:504-10.