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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are there any complications with chiropractic treatment?

    I've heard that spinal manipulation can cause alot of injury… Is this true?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Dr Ryan Hislop


    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Orange Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    Chirorpactors use a variety of techniques, however the one that gets the most attention in regards to adverse events is spinal manipulative therapy.

    One in three people may experience minor, short term problems such a slight ache or soreness for 24 hours post treatment.

    A recent study into the safety of chiropractic found that minor side effects following cervical spine manipulation were relatively common, although the risk of a serious adverse event, immediately or up to 7 days after treatment, was low to very low.

    To quote the article, Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey. Thiel HW, Bolton JE, Docherty S, Portlock JC.
    “Data were obtained from 28,807 treatment consultations and 50,276 cervical spine manipulations. There were no reports of serious adverse events. This translates to an estimated risk of a serious adverse event of, at worse approximately 1 per 10,000 treatment consultations immediately after cervical spine manipulation, approximately 2 per 10,000 treatment consultations up to 7 days after treatment and approximately 6 per 100,000 cervical spine manipulations. Minor side effects with a possible neurologic involvement were more common. The highest risk immediately after treatment was fainting/dizziness/light-headedness in, at worse approximately 16 per 1000 treatment consultations. Up to 7 days after treatment, these risks were headache in, at worse approximately 4 per 100, numbness/tingling in upper limbs in, at worse approximately 15 per 1000 and fainting/dizziness/light-headedness in, at worse approximately 13 per 1000 treatment consultations.”

  • 1


    Dr. Aaron Albrecht works at Body Wise Chiropractic in Bibra Lake, Western Australia. The clinic is located within a gym, and Dr. Albrecht is the … View Profile

    As Dr. Hislop said, the risks involved with chiropractic are very low, and those that do occur are generally minor side effects. On top of the low risk associated with chiropractic treatment in general, chiropractors are trained extensively to identify which individuals are more likely to suffer from adverse effects (i.e. osteoporotic individuals are at greater risk of fracture), and go through a process to determine which treatments are safe to employ on these people.

    Also mentioned above is the fact that chiropractic treatment involves many things, so if your chiropractor thinks you may not be suitable for spinal manipulation, they may engage in stretching, heat/cold therapy, or assign you home exercises, or many more treatment modalities, as we are trained in many of the same techniques used by physiotherapists.

    The short answer is that while an untrained person performing spinal manipulation is certainly not a safe option, chiropractors are!

    Hope this puts your mind at ease.

    - Dr. A

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