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Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 Tuesday 3 PM - 6 PM
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Chiropractic Safety

Chiropractic is among the safest of the healing arts. As proof one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Chiropractors' malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors, especially orthopedists and surgeons. Doctors of chiropractic have the most extensive education and practical experience of all doctors in performing spinal adjustments. Chiropractors receive an average of 563 total hours of formal education on how to make an exact adjustment. Medical Doctors and physical therapists receive no formal training in spinal adjustments.


Chiropractic's Safety Confirmed

By Dr. Matthew McCoy Editor - Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research

Over the past year research reports and stories in the press and media have appeared about the issue of chiropractic neck adjustments causing strokes. A recent study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research Vol. 4 No. 3 adds further evidence that, despite what some biased researchers purport, chiropractic is indeed very safe.

The study titled Stroke and Chiropractic: A Review of the Literature was written by Ari Cohn B.S., D.C. a private practitioner from New Jersey and a graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. According to Dr. Cohn there were a number of flaws in the literature relative to the supposed dangers of neck adjustments. These included clumping all manipulation together and calling it chiropractic. According to Dr. Cohn: "In the literature there is a lack of distinction between professions and different styles and techniques of manual procedures, adjusting and manipulating. Medical doctors, osteopaths, physical therapists and chiropractors have different levels of expertise and levels of training in the area of spinal manipulation and adjustment. Although chiropractors perform approximately 94% of all spinal adjustments it is misrepresentation to include statistics of injuries caused by other professionals, and even non-professionals and refer to the procedures as chiropractic in nature when clearly they are not."

Other issues involve blaming the cause of a stroke on chiropractic based on the temporal relationship to an adjustment. "Just because a person had an adjustment a day or two before their stroke does not mean the adjustment caused the stroke. I bet those people also drank water the day before the stroke but no one is going to say the water caused the stroke" stated Dr. Cohn.

Interestingly Dr. Cohn reviewed the statistics regarding stroke in the general population versus in the chiropractic patient population and showed that the incidence is actually lower in those people under chiropractic care. He pointed out "the statistics might indicate that perhaps we are actually preventing strokes in our patients as opposed to the other way around." Dr. Cohn's review also compares the risk of common medical procedures to the risk of stroke from cervical adjustment and says "medicine should clean up its own backyard before looking at ours." Dr. Cohn pointed out that "medical procedures have an inherent risk that the public for some strange reason seems to accept without any question. Even a simple venipuncture is many times more dangerous than the risk of stroke from a chiropractic adjustment. These are obvious flaws in logic that people are just not seeing."

"Clearly there are political forces and issues that create a problem where none really exists. You are more likely to get hit and killed by lightening than suffer an adverse event from a neck adjustment. And while the chiropractic profession certainly needs to research its safety and efficacy, I think there are more pressing aspects of health care delivery to worry about. Considering that medicine kills more people every six months than died in the Vietnam War should cause people to question whether the pot is calling the kettle black" stated Dr. Matthew McCoy Editor of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research.

Copyright © 2000-2003 by the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR). Used by permission.


As the largest existing analysis of scientific literature on low back pain, the 1993 Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study drew international attention when it recommended the management of low back pain be moved from medical doctors to chiropractic doctors. They recommended: "Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction."

(The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain. Pran Manga and Associates. University of Ottawa, Canada - 1993)


The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research of the US Department of Health and Human Services released Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. The guidelines were developed after extensive study. Their findings included: Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention. Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressants and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems.

(Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S. et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994)- US Department of Health and Human Services)


The government of New Zealand published a 377 page report which assessed the efficacy and safety of chiropractic care. Their findings included: "Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy (spinal adjustments)." "Chiropractors carry out spinal diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level. Serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare." "Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe." "The duration and training of a registered chiropractor are sufficient to enable him/her to determine whether there are contraindications to spinal manual therapy in a particular case, and whether that patient should have medical care instead of, or, as well as, chiropractic care."

(New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer Wellington-1979)