PRACTICAL AIMS & RISKS
Before your first
"adjustment" you need to know:
RISK OF CHIROPRACTIC CARE
As with anything we encounter in life there are risks encountered. In some instances there are
situations where the chances of injury or death are large such as encountered with extreme
sports and in some they are very rare such as encountered with chiropractic care.
A few people do experience, soreness of muscle reactivation, while uncomfortable this is seen
as a good thing, though probably relates more to a lack of fitness than to anything else. It
would indicate that muscles and the nerves controlling them are working better as a result of
the adjustments. With this situation the soreness fades to be gone after 2-3 days.
Very rarely, other more serious adverse events have included aggravation of the original
presenting symptoms, bulging or herniating disks, strokes and death
So when we evaluate any therapeutic process we are contemplating, we need to compare it to
what we readily accept as reasonable risk.
Since most people coming to a chiropractor are in the main doing so for reasons of joint pain
or discomfort, it is reasonable to see how chiropractic safety measures up to "main stream"
medical interventions for similar disorders.
Medically the treatment of choice appears to be the prescription of non-steroidal
inflammatory drugs (NAIADS). This class of drug has the highest prescription rate world wide.
Apart from the illogicality of this type of treatment for joint discomfort, there is a high price to
pay. Annually there is a DEATH rate of 16,000 in the USA alone. (1)
In comparison death from stroke from traditional chiropractic adjustments between the years
1934 to 1999, (65 years) world wide,
totalled 255 that is 3.9 per year. Looked at another way,
that equates to a risk of stroke of 1 in 8,060,000 adjustment sessions. (2) So yes there is a
risk but that risk is very small. A recent study published in Spine (3) found that patients are no
more likely to suffer a stroke following a neck adjustment than they are after seeing their family
doctor. These researchers “…found no evidence of excess risk of
stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.” (primary care being "Medical"
care one would get from seeing a local GP)
Another recently published study looked at the risk of serious and minor adverse events
following manipulation of the cervical spine in the United Kingdom. They looked at data
involving over 28,000 visits and over 50,000 neck manipulations. There was not one single
serious adverse event reported. Even the risk of minor side effects such as soreness was low
to very low. (4)
There is a general (worldwide) rate of strokes in the population which is estimated to be 114 to
150 per 100,000 of population worldwide. (5)
Australian data for strokes in 2003 was that there are somewhere between 40,000 to 48,000
strokes per year - or 1 stroke every 11 to 13 minutes with the majority being first incidence of
stroke (reported 2004 based on 2001 estimates.(6) At the time Australia's population was
19,770,963 (7) giving a stroke rate per 100,000 of population of between 202 and 243.
With some 15% of the Australian population seeing chiropractors in any one year, we might
expect 30 to 36 strokes per 100,000 of population reported per year simply based on annual
averages. One in five people having a first-ever stroke die within one month and one in three
die within a year. So expected deaths for stroke per year in Australian chiropractic patients as
a background, simply because people have strokes for all sorts of reasons, is between 2000
BUT those are not the figures reported in studies on this topic.(2) Remember the death rate is
cases per year world wide as attributed to chiropractic. So with such low figures worldwide,
it looks as if we chiropractors are actually
preventing strokes rather than causing them.
Further more, the techniques I use, employ much less force than is encountered with
traditional adjustments currently being taught in chiropractic teaching institutes world wide. So
that likelihood of a stroke as a result of these methods is probably even less due to lesser
forces being exerted on tissues.
Also to put
things into perspective: Lucian Leape
Professor of Health Policy
at Harvard) is
that in the USA
deaths occur each year partly as a result of Iatrogenic
injury are the equivalent of three jumbo jet crashes every two
days; an estimated two thirds of
these deaths are preventable" (9)
(1) Wolfe MM, MD New Eng J of Med 1999:340(24):1888-99
(2) Haldeman S: Can Med J 2001; 165(7):95-6
(3) Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Côté P, He Y, Hogg-Johnson S, Silver FL, Bondy SJ. Risk of
stroke and chiropractic care:
results of a population-based
and case-crossover study. Spine. 2008 Feb 15;33(4 Suppl).
Thiel HW, Bolton JE, Docherty
S, Portlock JC. Safety of Chiropractic Manipulation of
Cervical Spine: A Prospective National Survey. Spine. 2007;
(7) 3105.0.65.001 Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2008
M. Morath, Joanne E. Turnbull, Lucian L. Leape "To do no harm"
My aim is to provide you with chiropractic care that is safe, gentle and effective, based on
both professional acceptance and based on studies derived from both chiropractic and
mainstream (medical) sources.
This whole website is devoted to providing information about the what , why and how about
what I do in practice. See sitemap
What you can expect a the first visit
1 You will be asked to fill out a case history which will detail your history of mechanical
trauma which likely has contributed to the state of your spine. I will discuss your
history with you to gain a better understanding of what it is that is a) bothering you and
b) what your aims are for the degree of improvement you are seeking.
2 I will perform a physical examination that will encompass the area of your concern. I will
generally like also to test the non-symptomatic regions as well so as to get a better view
of how our body is functioning.
This is done be testing for:
2) Nerve function
3) Muscle function
4) other physical sign
From these tests, and your case history, I can see if we would need any other tests such as
x-rays. From the data gathered, it can be determined if you are in fact a candidate for
chiropractic care. If it would serve you better to see another health care practitioner, I will
tell you. If Chiropractic or any of the other modes of care that I have studied would help,
I will discuss this with you. I will outline what I see as a necessary to bring about an
improvement in your health and comfort, how serious you need to be about your care and
what the costs are likely to be.
3 So that we are both of the same understanding, It is necessary that you download a
copy of our "Terms of Acceptance for Care" document. Print it. Read it carefully. If you
understand it to your full satisfaction, only then sign and bring it with you when your
adjustments would begin.
Should you have any need for further clarification, please don't hesitate to ask any
pertinent questions you may have by writing to me at
continue your browsing this web site for more information.
It is your decision to determine how far you want to take your care and your improvement.
Some people only want to have pain relief where as others want to have their body function as
well as they possibly can. These are not exclusive and some folks change their minds
switching form one to the other when they see the degree of improvement that they can gain
and feel they would like to gain.
This whole web site is being built to enable you to better understand what is happening to you
should you have one or more instances of a subluxation complex. The problem with
subluxations is that for the most part they are silent while structurally they get worse.
It is time to have your spine checked for subluxations and work towards their stabilisations as
much as is possible.
a look at "the
secret of chiropractic" page of this website.