Is Chiropractic Treatment Dangerous?


 

By Dr. Rick Morris

Some of our patients are afraid of being adjusted or having spinal manipulation. Some have even been warned by their family doctors not to let a Chiropractor treat your neck.

Just how safe is chiropractic treatment? What are the facts?

  • Due to the extreme rarity of injuries caused by Chiropractic treatment and its unequaled safety record, chiropractic doctors pay only a fraction (i.e. 1/10 to 1/50) the malpractice rates compared to medical physicians. (1)
  • Only 19 deaths have been attributed to Chiropractic treatment worldwide over the latest 65 years studied (1934-1999). In fact, the risk of “serious injury” from anti-inflammatory medication including Aspirin and Advil is 400 times greater than from manipulation. (2) In other words, it’s much safer to have a chiropractic treatment for your neck pain or headache then taking medicine (over the counter or prescribed).
  • Nearly 10,000 studies have been performed on manipulation (making it the most thoroughly studied form of treatment for back pain) and the great majority have found the following when compared to medical treatment:

a.Increased patient satisfaction

b.Shortened time to return to activities or work

c.Less permanent disability

d.Less costly

The governments of several countries, including the United States (A.H.C.P.R.) and Canada (Manga), have found manipulation to be the most effective form of treatment for back pain. In fact, the Canadian report suggested that Chiropractors be the “gate keepers” for back pain saying that it would save Canada hundreds of millions of dollars if their citizens saw Chiropractor’s first. After reviewing all published studies, it was determined that there were “no medical procedures that were as safe as Chiropractic treatment.”

The British Medical Journal and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found similar results. In fact, the U.S. government reported that physical therapy and acupuncture were not “cost effective” and that surgery was useful in only 1% of cases.

Further, the report was emphatic that they should be employed only after conservative approaches (like manipulation) were first exhausted.

It is unfortunate that people are being scared away from a treatment that is safer and more effective and being directed to one that has significantly greater risks.

Personally, between Dr. Le and myself, we've practiced about 50 years and have never injured anyone (more than some temporary soreness as part of the treatment). The real danger comes from having musculoskeletal problems that are covered-up with drugs and surgery. Since the cause is not addressed this way, the patients often get worse, more discouraged and depressed and there are often side effects.

We use only the safest of all procedures and specifically screen for all risk factors that make manipulation unsafe. If you ever have questions about the risks or benefits of any procedure, always feel free to speak to us directly.

(1) Malpractice Statistics from the National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Company, West Des Moines, Iowa. (2) Terrett, A, Current Concepts in Vertebrobasilar Complications, NCMIC Group, Inc., 2001, p 199.

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Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc.
2428 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 305
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: 310-504-2608
Fax: 310-458-0051
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