Neck adjustments are they safe?

Often when I tell people I am a chiropractor I am asked about the dangers of cervical adjustments or manipulation of the neck.  Many people have an inherent fear that it is very dangerous and can cause detrimental outcomes such as strokes.   Often views are shaped by having seen scenes in movies that show violent twisting of the head and neck that cause instant death.   Or they have heard a story of a friend of a friend that went to see a chiropractor and was injured because of a neck adjustment.   The truth is chiropractic adjustments are very safe and the research clearly indicates that.

  • A study published in the journal Spine states, “There is no increased risk related to chiropractic treatment in the heated debate about whether neck adjustments can trigger a rare type of stroke. Researchers say patients are no more likely to suffer a stroke following a visit to a chiropractor than they would after an appointment with their medical doctor.


  • Current research shows there is no scientific evidence establishing a causal relationship between stroke and chiropractic adjustments.


  • Chiropractic malpractice insurance premiums are among the lowest of health care professionals because chiropractic patient risk is so low.  Insurance companies have done extensive research to be sure they are profitable and assessing all risks.   If stroke was a significant risk in chiropractic adjustments you could safely assume insurance premiums would be significantly higher.


  • Research recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports the risk at one in 5,000,000 patient treatments. These estimates are far below the risks commonly associated with many other medical and pharmaceutical interventions.


Chiropractic care has helped millions of individuals with neck pain and headaches.  Still many have not received possible benefit because of stories or fear based on stereotypes and inaccurate portrayal.   Still if you have a fear of cervical manipulation sit down with your chiropractor and ask if they can use an alternative therapy that maybe able to achieve the results you desire.   The vast majority of chiropractors are trained in alternative treatments to neck manipulation to treat your condition.   As we say in the profession it is best to have more than one tool in your bag.   So know that you have the facts don’t hesitate to see if chiropractic can help you.

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