Is Chiropractic Safe?

Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of headache, and neck and back pain.

Much has been alluded to over the years regarding the safety of “spinal manipulation.” (This is what the medical and research community calls an adjustment.) Finally, someone has published statistics based on real research done by a relatively disinterested (and therefore objective) party. Ian Coulter, Ph.D., published an article in the journal Integrative Medicine, volume I, number 2, entitled “Efficacy and Risks of Chiropractic Manipulation: What Does the Evidence Suggest?” The article is a discussion of data obtained by the Rand Corporation regarding safety and efficacy of lumbar and cervical adjusting.

Here is the key data:
· Over 90% of all manipulation in the US is performed by chiropractors.
· Risk of complication with cervical adjusting is 6.39 per 10 million.
· Risk of complication with lumbar adjusting is 1 in 100 million.

Compare this to:
· Risk of complication for use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs (such as; Motrin, asprin, Tylenol, Naprosyn, etc.) is 3.2 per 1 thousand, or 32,000 per 10 million.
· Risk of complication with cervical spine surgery is 15.6 per 1 thousand, or 156,000 per 10 million.

Comparing the numbers, cervical spine adjustments are:
· 24,413 times less likely to cause complications than surgery, and
· 5,008 times less likely to cause complications than NSAIDs.

Posted in: Chiropractic FAQ