Are chiropractic adjustments safe?

Chiropractic care is recognized as one of the safest therapies for treating back pain because it is drug-free and non-invasive. Any problems that do arise usually have to do with issues outside of the adjustments themselves. Much of the risk associated with chiropractic adjustments are anecdotal rather than clear-cut cases of causation. There are several reasons for this.

1. The skill of the practitioner

You may be surprised to learn that spinal manipulation is not limited to chiropractic care. Physical therapists, physicians, Orthopaedic surgeons, Shiatsu practitioners, and many others perform spinal manipulation on their patients. Chiropractors go through extensive training specifically for spinal manipulation to perfect techniques to make them as safe as possible for their patients. When another practitioner who has not gone through this extensive training attempts spinal manipulation with adverse results, the results are unfairly associated with chiropractic care.

2. Underlying conditions

Chiropractic adjustments can exacerbate undiagnosed underlying conditions. This can happen in the same way that a heart attack might happen during a car accident. It would be unfair to say the car accident was the cause of the heart attack when the majority of people involved in car accidents don’t have them. Statistical incidents of a certain rare kind of stroke or vertebral artery dissection are no greater with chiropractic adjustments than associated with normal activities experienced in the general population.

Incidental unrelated problems also sometimes arise at the same time as chiropractic adjustments without demonstrating causation. This is similar to how cancer might be discovered in a patient who is being treated for another ailment. For this reason, we work closely with your medical practitioner to ensure that your medical history is taken into account when we prepare a treatment plan. Risks are decreased when your practitioner has a detailed picture of your health.

3. Injuries sustained during the accident

Ironically, the very same injuries that are sustained during accidents that cause a person to seek chiropractic care are often associated with chiropractic adjustments.

Conscientious Chiropractic Care

Not only do chiropractic adjustments include a range of approaches, but chiropractic care itself encompasses many therapies including exercise, dietary, and weight management counseling as well as soft tissue therapy, hot and cold muscle treatments, and physical modalities. These approaches and therapies are less invasive and have less risk than surgery or many pain-relieving medications. Even over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen that can cause liver damage after prolonged use.

Many people who wouldn’t think twice about getting into their car, despite the thousands who die and millions who are injured every year from auto accidents, still find themselves hesitant about seeking chiropractic care due to concerns about safety. Not only for liability’s sake but also fairness, no therapy or procedure associated with pain and injury can give a 100 percent guarantee there will be no problems. Much of the concern about safety is rooted in a lack of understanding of what a chiropractic adjustment actually is.

What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

For most people, the idea of a chiropractic adjustment conjures up an image of a practitioner forcefully “cracking” someone’s back resulting in a loud “pop,” much as you might do at home by twisting and turning your back. However, without the proper training this can be unsafe and a high risk for further injury.

The goal of a chiropractic adjustment, also called spinal manipulation, is to properly align the body’s musculoskeletal structure. This can be accomplished through a wide variety of approaches and techniques, many of which are very gentle. For example, a spring-loaded hand-help mechanical instrument called an Arthrostim or activator can make micro-adjustments for patients very sensitive to pain. Other therapies focus on increasing mobilization to give a greater range of pain-free motion.

Chiropractic Care at Starkwood

We at Starkwood Chiropractic focus on the safe, gentle, and effective elimination of pain through our experience with therapeutic approaches. We help patients who have sustained sports, auto, and work-related injuries as well as relieving migraines, sciatica, back pain, and neck pain.

The services we offer include physical modalities, spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, exercise and stretching programs as well as nutrition and dietary counseling. We use Arthrostim, Activator, Thompson, Diversified, Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy in a whole-body, holistic approach that effectively brings about the relief of pain rather than masking it with pain relievers and addictive medications. We also use Heritage10 Intersegmental Traction Tables, Zenith HyLo Elevation Tables, and Therapeutic Ultrasound and Electric Muscle Stimulation.

We coordinate care with your medical doctor to develop the best treatment plan that takes your medical history into account to reduce your risk as much as possible. We accept insurance from commonly-used health insurance companies like Cigna, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and many others.

Contact Starkwood Chiropractic Today

Since 1983, Starkwood Chiropractic has been safely providing chiropractic care in the Portland, Oregon, area. If you have migraines, pain, anxiety, stress, or any other ailment we can provide relief for, call us to find out if chiropractic care is the best choice for you. Call us right away and find out how Starkwood Chiropractic can safely help you take that first step on the path toward a pain-free life. Call us today.