Can a chiropractor cause permanent damage?

Many other cases of chiropractic injuries have been reported, often involving the tearing of a cervical artery during neck manipulation. These injuries can cause permanent neurological damage, a stroke, or even death. Conclusions Spinal manipulation, especially when performed on the upper part of the spine, is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects. It can also cause serious complications, such as vertebral artery dissection followed by a stroke.

The incidence of these events is currently unknown. For the sake of patient safety, we should reconsider our policy regarding the routine use of spinal manipulation. The therapists involved are mostly chiropractors; this predominance is probably due to the fact that these therapists use spinal manipulation more frequently than other professionals. By placing the hands in precise places and performing controlled movements, the chiropractor works on individual joints to improve mobility and alleviate discomfort.

Chiropractic adjustment is a procedure in which trained specialists (chiropractors) use their hands or a small instrument to apply a sudden, controlled force to a spinal joint. In fact, this review shows that the professionals involved are not only chiropractors, but also surgeons, shiatsu practitioners, “bone cutters” and general practitioners (table). In patients younger than 45, the chances of suffering a spinal stroke one week after visiting the chiropractor increased fivefold. In nine cases, they were associated with spinal cord injuries (myelopathy, quadriparesis, central cord syndrome, or paraparesis); two patients experienced horsetail syndrome; six patients developed radiculopathy; and three patients had cancer-related pathological fractures that chiropractors could not diagnose. Chiropractors who measure “spinal correction” by the number of clicks they hear tend to use as much force as is necessary to produce a snap.

These ill-informed patients may insist that their spine bursts every time they go to the chiropractor, prompting the chiropractor to repeat the adjustment with greater force, with the risk of the doctor failing and the patient being injured. On the other hand, skill is a quality that is not easily controlled in this type of research; even some chiropractors may be more skilled than others. Chiropractors may argue that it takes years of experience to learn the fine psychomotor control that is required to carry out skilful manipulations. Spinal manipulation had been administered by orthopedic surgeons (50%), physical therapists (14%), chiropractors (11%) or other health professionals.

The patients were predominantly women (average age 39) who had seen a chiropractor for neck pain or headache. The chiropractor uses their hands to apply a sudden, controlled force to a joint, pushing it beyond its usual range of motion. At the initial visit, the chiropractor will ask questions about your health history and perform a physical exam, paying special attention to the spine. Instead of seeing another chiropractor and running the risk of further injury, you should see an orthopedist who can evaluate your symptoms and keep you under observation for possible disc injury.