What are the risks of chiropractic neck adjustments?

Adverse effects reported in a randomized controlled trial comparing spinal manipulation and spinal mobilization as treatments for neck pain, 43 of 280 patients, 30% reported at least one adverse effect. Patients who had their spine manipulated were more likely to suffer adverse effects than patients treated with mobilization, a more gentle manual technique preferred by many osteopaths. The most common side effects were increased pain, headache, tiredness and pain irradiation.

An estimated 35 million Americans visit the chiropractor

every year.

Patients often seek relief for neck pain caused by poor posture, whiplash, workplace injuries, and other causes. For most, chiropractic neck adjustments provide immediate and long-term relief. But it's also important to understand the risks involved before continuing with this treatment for neck pain. There should be a low threshold for chiropractors to consult doctors to ensure that the patient is prepared for manipulation.

This results in a transient stretching of the joint capsules, which, according to chiropractic belief, restores the position of the spinal cord and nerves, allowing the nervous system to function optimally and improving the body's biomechanical efficiency. In this case report, we highlight the case of a 32-year-old woman who underwent chiropractic manipulation and underwent vertebral artery dissection with subsequent brain stem infarction. And the precise incidence of arterial dissection caused by chiropractic manipulation of the neck is difficult to prove, McDermott says. In nine cases, they were associated with spinal cord injuries (myelopathy, quadriparesis, central cord syndrome, or paraparesis); two patients suffered from horsetail syndrome; six patients developed radiculopathy; and three patients presented pathological fractures related to a cancer that chiropractors were unable to diagnose.

In 22 cases (published in 20 articles), the therapists were chiropractors (Table 9-28), while in 10 cases (published in nine articles) they were other health professionals (Table. This process is normally not harmful, especially when performed by a licensed and trained chiropractor. The use of magnetic resonance angiography in these cases can prevent the chiropractor from performing potentially dangerous manipulations on people at risk. We use this case to highlight the risk associated with cervical manipulation and urge an open dialogue between chiropractors and doctors.

All reports, regardless of the language of publication, containing data on the risks associated with spinal manipulation were included, regardless of the therapist's profession or the research methodology used for the report. In patients younger than 45, the chances of suffering a spinal cord injury one week after visiting the chiropractor increased fivefold. The authors concluded that “this study emphasizes the potential dangers of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine. The patient was in her usual initial state of health and had no significant medical history before visiting the chiropractor to have her neck adjusted that same day to treat pain similar to the tension.