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Is Chiropractic Safe?

| Dr David Palmer |

I have lost count of the number of times someone has asked me “Is Chiropractic safe?” Many patients have mentioned that they put off seeing a Chiropractor for years because they were afraid, or nervous about being adjusted. People have told me they were worried that their Chiropractor would break their bones or cause permanent injury. The good news is, Chiropractic is remarkably safe. In fact I often adjust my friends and family. I also get adjusted regularly myself. To be honest I would not be doing this if I didn’t think it was completely safe.

Over the last ten years in practice I have narrowed it down to a few common reasons why someone might ask “Is Chiropractic safe?”

Will Chiropractic Hurt?

Patients often first consult a Chiropractor when they are in considerable pain. The painful area may already be injured, tight and inflamed. There is a chance that any hands on treatment may temporarily aggravate this condition further. This may cause some discomfort, but this usually eases off quite quickly. After a few visits most people start to feel a lot better. I have had many patients comment that their adjustments were gentler than they were expecting.

Can Chiropractic Cause a Stroke?

There have been numerous research studies showing no significant association with a stroke and chiropractic. (Here is one such study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470078/). This study shows that the beginning stages of a stroke often result in neck pain and headaches. It is likely that this person would then consult a Chiropractor for these neck pains and headaches. The patient would later on have a stroke and think the Chiropractor was to blame, but this is not the case. The chances are that the patient would have had a stroke whether they saw a Chiropractor or not.

We are trained to assess a patient before treatment to determine if there is any risk of stroke. If we pick up any risks, we will refer you immediately for further testing, which may just help prevent a stroke. The overall risk of stroke in an average healthy person is very low.

Are Chiropractors Properly Trained?

In South Africa, Chiropractors complete a six-year course. This includes five years of theory and practical training, two years treating patients in the clinic, as well as completing a Master’s level dissertation to earn their Doctor’s title in Chiropractic. By the time we qualify we are highly trained in both assessing and treating patients with a range of neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

Are Chiropractic Adjustments Permanent?

One of the goals of a Chiropractic adjustment is to get a tight joint moving better. This is healthy for the joints, as they function best when they are moving and aligned properly. The clicking/popping that you may hear during an adjustment is not the bones breaking. It would actually require much more force to break the bones of a healthy individual than is possible during a standard Chiropractic adjustment. A once off adjustment may have quite a big effect on your pain levels, but it is not going to have a permanent effect. Your body will want to go back to what it is used to, due to habits and muscle memory. Long term structural changes are possible but this takes consistency, time and effort.

Is Chiropractic Safe?

I believe the main reason people may have been scared of the Chiropractor is because of a lack of knowledge. Once you understand that Chiropractic adjustments are both gentle and safe, and that Chiropractors undergo rigorous training to be able to deliver the appropriate adjustment, it takes away the fear. There are risks involves with any medical intervention, however these are minimal and can be avoided through taking a comprehensive history and assessing the patient thoroughly. If you have ever asked yourself “Is Chiropractic safe?” and are now ready to see a Chiropractor, give us a call on 031 562 9180. We would also be happy to answer any further questions you may have.