Is Seeing A Chiropractor Safe?

To have a sensible and meaningful conversation about whether it is safe to see a chiropractor, it is essential to 1st acknowledge that all of life involves risks. When we leave the house in the morning and cross the road we take a risk. When we eat a sandwich we run the risk of choking. When we drink alcohol we run one of the highest risks of any activity known to man. All sporting activity involves risk. Taking over the counter pain medication is surprisingly high-risk if you read the research. So it is inevitable that seeing a chiropractor involves some level of risk. But the question is how much risk are we tolerating if we let a chiropractor work on us. 

Despite what urban myths, sections of the Internet, and people at the water cooler might say. Chiropractic is one of the safest healthcare interventions available today. The risks associated with chiropractic are a tiny fraction of the risks associated with taking aspirin for example.

The only chiropractic procedure known to carry a risk of serious complication is the spinal adjustment of the neck. Yet it is not the urban myth of the broken neck that is the risk. The risk with neck adjustments is in the tiny possibility that you have a weakened artery in your neck, which could be damaged by a chiropractic adjustment. Other simple movements like reverse parking a car or relatively gentle exercise can also damage this artery if it is sufficiently weekend. In real-world terms this presents risk that is a small fraction of the level of risk we willingly take when we take paracetamol. Because paracetamol can cause serious side-effects, and does so far more often than the chiropractors’ adjustments.

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