We care for a large number of patients in our Arlington office, and Dr. Ernst has helped countless people overcome a range of health problems. In spite of this, a frequent worry that seems to stop many people from seeking treatment is whether or not chiropractic is safe. Fortunately, according to three separate studies (out of quite a few on the issue), the answer to this question is a clear: "Yes! Chiropractic is safe!"
Chiropractic is Safe, According to Australian Study
The first article(1) was published in Spine and involved 183 men and women. Each test subject reported affected by spine-related pain, and half of the individuals received real chiropractic adjustments whereas the remaining patients received two fake chiropractic treatment sessions. Information was collected after each real or fake adjustment to see if any unfavorable side effects were caused by the genuine chiropractic adjustments.
Researchers found that nobody reported any significant negative side effects at all after receiving one or two sessions of chiropractic. Some people did state that they had a headache (9 percent) or muscle stiffness (about 1 out of 3) after treatment, but the effects were not serious.
Nationwide Survey Finds that Chiropractic Care is Safe
The next article(2), also published in the influential publication, Spine, was done in an attempt to establish the safety of chiropractic care. The study group was much larger -- 20,000 people. Each participant received chiropractic adjustments of the cervical spine, with over 50,000 total adjustments for all study participants.
Once again, the experts found no serious negative side effects. The experts determined the risk of total side effects to be about 6 out of every 10,000 consultations or every 100,000 treatment sessions. And, just as with the first study, some people did report non-serious, milder, unwanted effects such as dizziness (16 out of every 1,000 treatment consultations and 15 out of every 1,000 treatment sessions) or a headache (4%), and this prompted the researchers to determine that "the risk of a serious adverse event, immediately or up to 7 days after treatment, was low to very low."
Chiropractic Care Is Safe for Children
The third study(3) is different from the previous two pieces of research, as it concentrates on the safety of chiropractic care for children. In this case, the authors analyzed results reported by both chiropractors and parents involving 816 children who participated in 7,173 chiropractic treatment sessions.
Out of 5,438 chiropractic visits made for the kids, chiropractors responding to the survey documented only three cases where there were negative side effects. When parents were questioned, they indicated only two adverse side effects out of 1,735 visits. Furthermore, both chiropractors and parents reported "a high rate of improvement with respect to the children's presenting complaints."
Based on these three studies (and many more!), chiropractic has been found to be safe and effective for everyone. To learn what chiropractic care can do for you, call our Arlington office and make an appointment today at (360) 659-8464.
- Walker BF, Hebert JJ, Stomski NJ, Clarke BR, Bowden RS, Losco B, French SD. Outcomes of usual chiropractic. The OUCH randomized controlled trial of adverse events. Spine 2013;38(20):1723-9.
- Thiel HW1, Bolton JE, Docherty S, Portlock JC. Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey. Spine 2007;32(21):2375-8.
- Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore NY 2009;5(5): 290-5.