Are Neck Adjustments Dangerous?
When a lot of people think about a chiropractic adjustment, what usually comes to mind is move reserved for a mixed martial arts match or an old Steven Segal movie.
They see the wrenching of the neck, a loud CRACK and POP, and a man helplessly crumbles to the floor unconscious.
With that kind of imagery, it’s really no wonder so many people may have fears or apprehensiveness about seeing a chiropractor. After all, is getting rid of neck pain and back pain really worth the possibility of getting hurt, paralyzed, or worse??
Now you might be thinking “Dr. Chung, you’re doing a terrible job marketing your profession right now”, but hear me out on this.
All of the things I mentioned above are the most common things said about chiropractors by various skeptic blogs, family members, websites run by discredited psychiatrists, and maybe even your medical doctor.
Let’s not go by hearsay, let’s go by facts:
1. Rates of Medical Malpractice Insurance
Rates of medical malpractice insurance help provide a guide for how much risk a person takes by visiting a practice. For instance, would it make more sense that because surgery is riskier than seeing a general practitioner that a surgeon would have to pay more to cover his risk? Of course. So let’s do a comparison of doctors in Florida:
General Surgeon: $90,000 – $175,000/year
General Practitioner: $56,000/year
It’s not because lawyers don’t want to involve chiropractors in lawsuits; they certainly do. But if chiropractic was in danger of hurting people , wouldn’t you expect to pay at least as much as your average general practitioner?
2. Safety Studies:
Now you might be saying “Dr. Chung, you’re a research based guy. What do the studies say?”
I’m glad you asked.
In a study of 19,700 patients and 50,000 adjustments, the most common reactions have been mild soreness, light headedness, and a minor tension headache after the first adjustment. More intense reactions were very rare and not specifically tied to the adjustment
Specifically with Upper Cervical Care, a study of 1,000+ patients and 2,600 adjustments found even better results. The practitioners of the study have a career total of 9 MILLION adjustments with ZERO reports of serious adverse effects.
Furthermore, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association studied the safety of chiropractic care for children. They found a rate of 5 in 5,000 kids may experience muscle soreness after an adjustment.
3. The Stroke Issue
And finally we hit the elephant behind the curtain. In the past 10 years, you may have heard or seen billboards, ads, or words from doctors talking about the relationship between “spinal manipulation and stroke”.
It’s an extremely valid and reasonable concern. After all, who wants to put their life at risk to alleviate pain?
Thankfully, a well designed study 5 years ago helped put this concern to rest. It showed NO ASSOCIATION between a visit to a chiropractor and a stroke.
It studied THOUSANDS of people making over a MILLION visits the offices of both chiropractors and medical doctors.
What it did show was that people who have strokes go to chiropractor’s offices and medical offices at the same rate. Why?????
2 Major symptoms of stroke:
Which are two of the most common complaints for a doctor’s office. Which leads us to the most important point I can make today:
Chiropractors DO NOT cause strokes. People have strokes, are in pain, and end up seeing a doctor or chiropractor.
The last point I’d like to bring up today is this. If chiropractic were really that dangerous, would millions of people get their spine checked each year? If chiropractors really broke or cracked bones, would people really put their bodies at risk multiple times a week? Would compassionate and caring doctors of chiropractic really put that many people’s lives at thousands of times each year??
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of what you might see in a news article or hearsay from someone who doesn’t know any better. But armed with some facts and applying a little common sense, I think you’ll find that chiropractic might be one of the safest forms of healthcare you may ever have the chance to experience