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the real risks of chiropractic care
Posted by: Dr. Summer Turner |

What Are The Real Risks of Chiropractic Care?

To the uninformed, chiropractic care, especially adjustments, may appear dangerous or intimidating.


The reality is far from the rumor and fear. Spinal manipulation to treat low back pain is documented to be safe and effective, especially in the hands of a properly trained practitioner.



Table of Contents


How Safe is Chiropractic Care?

Fewer than one per every million patients have a severe adverse event during lumbar spine manipulation. 


The truth is that patients seem to be far more at risk when taking conventional medication for their low back pain, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


Minor adverse events, like muscle soreness and stiffness similar to what you'd feel after a hard workout, do occur shortly after treatment in some patients. 


However, this is common and typically resolves itself within 24 to 48 hours.


Chiropractors pay close attention to a patient's medical history and pre-existing conditions because there are times when it is in the patient's best interest to modify the treatment approach.


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Is chiropractic care dangerous?


Chiropractic Care Red Flags

Patients may have medical conditions that could make applying high-velocity manipulation to the lumbar spine harmful. 


Chiropractors refer to these conditions as "red flags," and here are a few examples:

  • Severe osteoporosis 
  • Multiple myeloma 
  • Osteomyelitis 
  • Bone tumors 
  • Paget's disease 


Progressive or sudden neurologic conditions can also be red flags. Generally, any condition that results in unstable joints is a red flag, so this can include several inflammatory conditions, including:

  •     Rheumatoid arthritis
  •     Ankylosing spondylitis
  •     Psoriatic arthritis 
  •     Reactive arthritis 


Bleeding disorders and structural instability issues can also be red flags. 


A red flag could simply be that a patient has not had an adequate physical examination or that the chiropractor does not have the proper skills and training necessary to carry out the treatment.


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Crafting the Chiropractic Treatment Plan

Pre-existing medical conditions do not necessarily prohibit soft-tissue, low-velocity, low-amplitude procedures, and mobilization. 


Red Flags do not make chiropractic care too dangerous. The term means the treatment approach must be adjusted to protect the patient and best serve his or her needs.


Local primary bone tumors are considered a red flag scenario because the tumors may reduce the strength of the affected bone. 


An experienced chiropractor may still design a treatment plan utilizing other options that can help improve the patient's condition without putting them in harm's way.


Some chiropractic treatments are avoided due to specific chiropractic techniques. 


Spinal fusion is a red flag condition where high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation is avoided at the joint level. 


This is also true for patients with an artificial disc replacement or another implant. However, soft tissue manipulation and other manual techniques may be considered in select patients who have previously undergone spine surgery.


A patient with a pacemaker should not receive electrotherapy treatments. However, the chiropractic may recommend other therapies that do not interfere with the pacemaker's operation.


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Are chiropractors dangerous?


Many Effective Options to Choose From

Chiropractors commonly employ an all-around approach to caring for their patients. 


Things like massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, supervised rehabilitation exercises are just a handful of treatments that a chiropractor could integrate into a comprehensive, personalized plan of care.


Especially if you are living with chronic low back pain, treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, risk avoidance counseling, and other effective treatments can be beneficial. 


There is also ergonomics, home care planning, work planning, and much more.


Chiropractic clinicians often communicate with the patient's primary doctor to work together to ensure the patient receives optimal treatment. 


Treatment of cancer-related pain or postsurgical pain may include communication with the patient's team of health care specialists.


The goal of care is always to improve symptoms, relieve pain, and improve a patient's physical functioning. 


Living with pain does not have to be a burden bared alone. Chiropractic medicine is considered safe, effective, and may help a patient make great strides towards improving his or her quality of life.


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Contact A Chiropractor Today

Chiropractic is safer than many other treatments available today, and just as, if not more, effective than all of them.


If you have back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, or any other ailments, a chiropractor could be just what you need.


Arrowhead Clinic helps patients recovery from numerous types of pain and injuries.


If you're suffering and looking for relief, click the button below to speak with Arrowhead Clinic today. 


Free Consultation

Topics: risks of chiropractic care


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