Are Chiropractors Safe?

Chiropractic care has a long history of treating physical conditions in the body related to the spine and its relationship with the rest of the body. When conducted by a trained chiropractic professional this type of treatment is mostly safe and can have a positive impact on everyday life, bringing motion and function back into the body. Some people still have reservations about the safety of chiropractic care due to media hype or misinformation. This article will help clarify what chiropractic care entails and what are the risks involved.

What is chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care is a specialist field of treatment that uses controlled movements to adjust the spinal joints in a body. These treatments have been known to treat a wide range of problems in the back, neck or head and can be used to relieve pain, improve posture and bring alignment back into the body. Some of the common conditions treated by chiropractors include herniated disks, spinal subluxations, myofascial pain and sciatica.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

While the techniques involved in chiropractic care can be wide-ranging, including massage and physiotherapy, the main treatment involved is spinal manipulation or adjustment. This type of treatment is also known as high-velocity low amplitude (HVLA) correction. This normally involves manipulating the body into particular positions and then applying a thrusting motion that most often results in an audible pop. This pop is called cavitation that releases a gas that creates the sound and is used to correct misalignment in the spine, neck or related parts of the body.

Is chiropractic care safe?

Chiropractic care is safe when conducted by a trained professional such as a chiropractor or related professions. Serious complications from chiropractic care such as a herniated disc or nerve compression is very rare and much more likely to occur in everyday life.

The major concern in clinical studies has been the effect of neck manipulations on arteries in the neck. While exceedingly rare it is technically possible to injury this artery in the neck causing a stroke. This type of stroke however is much more likely to be related to lifestyle factors or in accidents such as contact sports, physical exercise or during physical labour. Overall it is extremely rare for this to happen during a chiropractic session and most likely is related to a pre-existing condition.

While for most people chiropractic care is safe and produces a positive impact on their lives there are risk factors that indicate that someone shouldn’t be seeking chiropractic treatments, including severe osteoporosis, spinal cancer, bone abnormalities and people with an increased risk of stroke. If in doubt talking to a chiropractor about your medical history can help inform whether you are a good candidate for the treatment.

What are the common side effects of chiropractic sessions?

During a chiropractic session the health care professional will perform spinal adjustments to help bring balance and motion back into the body. Some people can experience some side effects following the treatment including temporary fatigue, headaches or mild pain in the parts of the body that were manipulated.

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