Chiropractic care is a form of alternative healthcare that focuses on the diagnosis and care of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on the spine. It is based on the anatomical understanding that these disorders can be affected by the alignment of the spine. This can then affect the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Is chiropractic care safe?
Chiropractic care is generally considered remarkably safe. It can be effective in caring for people with a number of health conditions. The vast majority of chiropractic adjustments are safe and do not result in any adverse effects. However, as with any form of treatment, there is a small risk of side effects or complications.
The most common side effect of chiropractic care is mild soreness or discomfort, which usually resolves within a day or two. This is very much like how a remedial massage or a big gym workout can leave you feeling sore. This is because changes are being made in your body, and it is healing.
Other potential side effects may include temporary headaches, fatigue, or a worsening of existing symptoms. These side effects are typically mild and resolve on their own.
Please tell your chiropractor about your medical history
In rare cases, some people may experience more serious or long lasting complications, such as a herniated disk or a fractured rib. These complications are rare and generally occur as a result of improper technique, inadequate testing or failure to properly diagnose an underlying condition. It is important to choose a chiropractor who is properly trained and experienced. It is also important that your chiropractor does a detailed examination and comprehensive testing on your first visit. Regular reviews of your testing results (progress exams) are also best practice.
There have been some reported cases of stroke or a TIA occurring following a visit to a chiropractor. The most likely explanation for this occurring is that the individual was in the process of having the stroke or TIA prior to seeking care. These conditions can often cause headaches and neck pain. They then sought help for that pain, and the underlying condition was missed by the practitioner. This is very rare.
There are some people for whom chiropractic care may not be appropriate, such as those with severe osteoporosis or spinal cord injuries. It is important to consult with your chiropractor, and have a detailed assessment, to determine if chiropractic care is appropriate for you. Chiropractors can change their technique to suit certain conditions and individuals. Low-force options can be very effective for some people.
Overall, chiropractic care is a remarkably safe and generally effective healthcare option for many people. It is a non-invasive and drug-free approach to healthcare that can help alleviate pain and improve overall health and well-being. However, as with any form of treatment, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and to choose a qualified and experienced chiropractor.
Remember: If you want to know more about if chiropractic care is safe, then ask your chiropractor questions! If you are uncertain about any aspect of your condition, your results, or your recommended care plan please speak up. We want to make sure that you in the right place, and getting the right care.
References: Click here for a full list of references for all articles on this site, but here are some specific ones for this artilce:
Schneider M, et al. “Chiropractic Care for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2019 Jul 26;20(1):343.
Bronfort G, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Chiropractic Care for the Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 2018 Mar 6;319(9):927-937.
Rubinstein SM, et al. “Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Chronic Low-Back Pain: An Update of a Cochrane Review.” Spine, 2011 Apr 15;36(8):E493-E509.
Bronfort G, et al. “Noninvasive Physical Treatments for Chronic/Recurrent Headache.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2010 Nov 10;(11):CD001878.
Haas M, et al. “Chiropractic Care for Nonmusculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2017 Jul – Aug;40(6):405-413.