Tag Archives: safe

Is Chiropractic Safe?

This is a controversial question, though I’m not sure why. The short answer is, yes, it is safe. The easiest way to tell is to look at malpractice insurance premiums. Insurance companies don’t mess with risk. They charge an arm and a leg if they think you are a risk. Can anyone say preexisting condition? The average premiums for different professions will tell you who has risk of problems, and does not. Here let me show you some numbers (source):

Approximate Malpractice Insurance Premiums

General Surgeon
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

In fact through out many studies proper chiropractic treatment has not been shown to cause anything more than short term soreness at the site of treatment.

Now here’s where it gets controversial. And people may say, wait a minute studies have shown more than that. It’s true there have been rare serious problems seen after chiropractic treatments. The problem is that they are so rare that research has not been able to prove a causal link to chiropractic, or to rule it out. In fact the most recent and complete study showed that the biggest risk is no greater visiting a chiropractor than visiting a medical doctor (second source). These problems are so rare that it is nearly impossible to prove one way or the other.The big one that you’ll hear about is stroke, and the risk is estimated (due to lack of concrete evidence) to be somewhere between 1 in a million to 1 in 5 million. You can see how difficult it would be to do a study with 1 million chiropractic neck pain patients, let alone 5 million. In contrast, the mechanism of treatment seems like it could cause stroke in a predisposed patient, because in those predisposed people, simply turning your head to look at something could cause a stroke. Unfortunately there are no known tests to determine if a patient is at risk.

OK, so let’s put them out there. The possible risks of chiropractic treatment include, bruising, muscle strain, undefined soreness, headache, bone fracture, stroke. Now let’s put them in perspective. You are at least 5 times more likely to be killed by a freak asteroid falling on you than you are to have a stroke after seeing a chiropractor. Now how many people do you know that have been hit by asteroids? Bone fracture is another one of those rare things, and again will probably only happen when someone is predisposed. A person with osteoporosis, or suspected to possibly have osteoporosis, should not be adjusted with a full force method. This is why I usually leave this side effect out of the list when talking about proper chiropractic treatment. As for the headaches, soreness, and bruising, this kind of stuff will usually occur when a patient is unable to relax and the doctor uses a lot of force to get by that problem. It can occur in probably 30% of patients, because sometimes it is necessary to get the joint moving even knowing that the patient is unable to relax. This is something that should be discussed with the patient, and normally the soreness is less than 24 hours.

The last thing that I will say is that you should always bring negative effects to the attention of your chiropractor. Even if they are not caused by the doctor himself he should be aware of them, so that if they are serious he can take care of them or get you to an ER if needed. Some of the serious things to report are; intense pain, dizziness, vertigo, slurring of speech, vision changes, weakness, tingling, or numbness. They may be nothing, but you should let your doctor determine that.

Radiation Good, Bad, Indifferent

I saw a blog on fellow chiropractors site that I follow, and thought I’d point you all to it, as he has a good point. I also wanted to add my two cents and discuss it a little.

X-rays, and the technology behind them have given great benefit to healthcare. The technology has come far enough that it is portable and very safe. According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. Even direct abdominal x-rays. (source) I found a study in school that showed that radiology techs have better health than average. I wish I could remember where I read it. That’s not necessarily due to the radiation, but it is an interesting association anyway.

As far as what is bad radiation, here is a great site with good info. To sum up from there:

“The average total dose rate for the USA is 360 mrem a year. It has been estimated that your chance of dying from cancer increases 10% if you accumulate a total of 250,000 mrem. This would be over 3,000 mrem a year over 80 years…[and]…the risks from low levels of radiation may be overstated.”

So, you would need to get 800-900 x-rays taken every year for 80 years to possibly increase your risk at most 10%. You get more radiation from your regular organic food each year than 8-10 x-rays.

Now I’m not advocating that we all go out and radiate ourselves, but I do think that our society had developed an irrational fear or radiation. What do you think?