Chiropractic 33 Principles: Number Three

The Principle of Time. All processes require time.

Is chiropractic safe? Look at the Science.

Chiropractic is safe for all ages

Is Chiropractic Safe

Is chiropractic safe?

This is a question that I am often asked as a chiropractor. The cervical adjustment or neck adjustment as it is commonly know is often the most common aspect of the chiropractic adjustments that is brought in to question. More specifically the cervical adjustment is often accused of causing VBS or stroke. This is a rare cause for stroke, arterial dissection occurs when one of the neck arteries supplying blood to the brain is torn. A stroke can occur when a clot, formed on the torn membrane, is dislodged and subsequently travels to the brain, blocking circulation. There have been many campaigns to scare the public away from chiropractic care based on VBS but this is not a claim founded in scientific research it is mainly biased on the opinion of a small number of health care providers. The association occurs because patients tend to seek care when they’re having neck pain or headaches, often conditions treated by chiropractors. Sometimes they go to a chiropractor, sometimes they go to a physician. But But according to a Canadian study there is no increased likelihood of them having this type of stroke after seeing a chiropractor, according to a story published in the Saturday’s Globe and Mail, Toronto, {Published Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008 12:53AM EST; Last updated Monday, Mar. 30, 2009 2:47PM EDT:} “The findings, published today in the journal Spine, help shed light on earlier studies that had cast a cloud on the chiropractic profession and suggested that their actions resulted in some patients suffering a stroke after treatment.” This Canadian study concluded ” there is no increased risk related to chiropractic treatment in the heated debate about whether neck adjustments can trigger a rare type of stroke.” The difference in this study was that the researchers checked the prevalence of visits to chiropractors and to medical doctors as it related to VBS. {see the abstract}

 This is just one such study and one of the most recent.

This study is important because it refutes the conclusion that chiropractic is the cause for these strokes. But for decades it was assumed although not prove that chiropractic was the cause and there were many studies done on the rate of these incidents. Here are a handful of these studies including those with the highest averaged incidents.

The following information is taken from Vertebrobasilar Stroke, by Allan G.J. Terrett


1972 – Maigne suggested: “There is probably less than one death of this nature out of several tens of millions of manipulations.”

1978 – Cyriax stated: “…this risk works out to about one in ten million manipulations, and is no argument against manipulative reduction in suitable cases.”

1981 – Hosek et al suggested: “…we may form a conservative likelihood estimator by looking at the ration of vertebrobasilar injuries to adjustments performed. This ration would be 100 injuries per 100 million adjustments…one in about one million.”

1983 – Gutman concluded: “There are 2-3 serious incidents involving the vertebrobasilar system occurring in 1 million manipulations to the upper cervical spine.”

1993 – Carey found: “In a study of a five year period (1986-1990), using statistics from Provincial Governments of Canada, the Canadian Protective Association, and reported legal/insurance claims, concluded an incidence rate of one in every 3,846,153 neck manipulations. None involved death, one had complete recovery, six had some neurologic deficit, four completely resolved, and two had psychological problems, but no physical deficit. If the Province of Quebec were isolated, with 14 million manipulations performed and only one CVA in a five year period, there would be an incidence of one in 14 million.”

1995 – Dabbs and Lauretti following their research wrote “…in a three year period 1991 to 1993, NCMIC closed a total of 96 claims for cerebrovascular accident. Of this total, 61 were closed with payment and 35 were closed without payment. If one concludes that there was little or no merit to the 35 claims that were closed without payment, this would average 20 cerebrovascular accident claims per year. This figure was recently accepted by a popular consumer magazine as a correction to a previously published article (Corrections. Consumer Reports March 1995, page 132). Because NCMIC insures about one-half of the US chiropractic profession, their members should be similar to the national average…Curtis and Bovee report that rotary adjustments of the cervical spine make up about 30% of the visits made to chiropractors. Therefore, chiropractors insured by NCMIC each performed some 1,800 cervical manipulations in each of the three years reported above. Considering these numbers, we calculate that NCMIC’s 24,000 D.C.’s perform some 43 million cervical manipulations per year. Twenty post SMT strokes indicate a rate of less than one stroke per 2 million cervical manipulations.”

As you can see at the worst rate off incidence is 1 in every one million adjustment and can be as high as 1 in 10,000,000 adjustments or less. In the article Death by Medicine By Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD, {} “The most stunning statistic, however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. (By contrast, the number of deaths attributable to heart disease in 2001 was 699,697, while the number of deaths attributable to cancer was 553,251.5)”. Compare these number to the 20 stokes a year associated to chiropractors in the NCMIC study and also take in to account the Canadian study that indicates that this is probably due to the patient having the condition before seeing a chiropractor and you can start to form a complete picture of the situation.

Chiropractic is safe! and has been for over 100 years.

It is the misconceptions of a few that leads to the perception that chiropractic is not safe. The VBS are the only death that have ever been attributed to chiropractic care but as demonstrated by the scientific research and literature the mortality rates are extremely low and that is only if chiropractic causes the strokes there are now studies indicating that it is just a coincidence caused by the fact that people seeking care for neck pain or headaches from chiropractors may already have these aneurysms. If you think you need a chiropractor feel safe to contact them. Chiropractic is safe and since many chiropractors screen for vertebral basilar insufficiency one of which is the VBS you might just find the chiropractor saving your life. Chiropractic care is safe.

By: Paul R. Mahler DC
Mahler Family Chiropractic Center
Kingston PA
May be reproduced in whole only with all links and credit

What does a chiropractor do and is chiropractic Safe?

Chiropractic adjustment Kingston and Wilkes Barre

Chiropractor © Rainer Plendl

What does a chiropractor do?

Chiropractors receive recognized chiropractic degrees from specialized schools, and their services are generally covered by health insurance, in the state of Pennsylvania chiropractors are considered primary care physicians and in most cases do not require referrals. Nevertheless, chiropractors spend an inordinate amount of time defending their profession from critics in and out of the medical field. Much of this has to do with the fat that untill 1987 the American Medical Association called chiropractic an unscientific cult and boycotted it until losing an antitrust case in that same year.

Chiropractors receive an extensive education in human physiology and biology, but their main focus is the spinal column. Chiropractors believe that the vertebrae of the spine and neck are often pulled out of alignment or subluxated by everyday stressors, and these misalignments can be the root cause of a myriad of physical and mental ailments due to their impact on the central nervous system and the way that it affects the brains integration with the rest of the body. By physically manipulating individual vertebrae or readjusting the entire spine, chiropractors hope to relieve the pressure on the central nervous system caused by subluxations.

During these examinations, basic measurements are taken to reveal any imbalances in spinal alignment. One shoulder may be measurably higher than the other, or one arm may provide more resistance to stress than the other. Sometimes, clients of chiropractors will stand on two scales to determine a heavier side of the body. Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health, the key part here being neuro for nervous system. It is generally categorized as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Chiropractors have many attributes and training of primary care providers, as well as the attributes of a medical specialty like physical therapy, orthopedics, and podiatry.

The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, including manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues; treatment also includes exercises and health and lifestyle counseling. Traditional chiropractor assumes that a vertebral subluxation interferes with the body’s innate intelligence. Inate intelligence is just a fancy way of saying that the body when not interfered upon often has the ability to correct and heal its own problems. By freeing the central nervous system to do its job, through the chiropractic adjustment, the body will often heal itself and recover from many injuries.

Many studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, often with differing results. Manual therapies commonly used by chiropractors are effective for the treatment of low back pain, the treatment of lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy, neck pain, some forms of headache, and some extremity joint conditions. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care are unknown, but just like having your teeth cleaned by the dentist a spine that move and functions correctly is less likely to develop problems down the road.

Is chiropractic care Safe?

Chiropractic care is generally safe when employed skillfully and appropriately. Spinal manipulation is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases. A systematic review found 26 recorded deaths from manipulations to the spine during the period 1934-2009 (a death rate less than 0.00002%), much lower than any medical procedure thus concluding that the risk of cervical chiropractic treatment does not outweighs the benefits (^ a b c d e f E Ernst (2010). “Deaths after chiropractic: a review of published cases”. Int J Clinical Practice 64 (8): 1162–1165. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02352.x. PMID 20642715.). One of the number one complaints about chiropractic found on the web is that it is unsafe but it is obvious from these statistics tha chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment when applied by trained professionals, your friendly chiropractor.

By: Paul R. Mahler DC
Mahler Family Chiropractic Center
Kingston PA.
Proudly serving the greater Wilkes Barre Area

May be reproduced in whole only.

Please leave your comments on your chiropractic experience below in the comments section.

What does a chiropractor do and how is my brain involved?


Chiropractor Kingston PA and Wilkes Barre PA

© Lisafx | – Chiropractic Medicine Photo

What does a chiropractor do?


This is a question that many people ask. A Chiropractor does not just crack backs. Chiropractors are known for their ability to treat back pain symptoms. This is often the reason that people first contact a chiropractor. As to the crack or pop as some people call it, this is the sound often associated with a chiropractic visit, but this is just one type of many different techniques used by a chiropractor.


What is chiropractic care?


The goal of many chiropractors is restoring the function and stability of the spine. This is achieved by releasing tension in the spine, that way muscles can relax and the pain associated with the dysfunction can improve. T a chiropractor it is more than that. Your spinal cord runs through the spine, this is your central nervous system and your bodies link to the brain. It is your brain that controls every cell of your body. The brain sits at the top of your nervous system runs down your spinal cord, branches off in pairs at each vertebral level to control every muscle, organ and cell of your body. It is easy to see that a chiropractor does more than move bones or straighten your posture and spine. A chiropractor is directly affecting your central nervous system and allowing your brain to communicate with every part of your body.


So is chiropractic safe and why the crack?


The crack or popping sound is achieved in some chiropractic adjustments and it is thought to occur when pressure is released between two vertebrae. Smiler to when you take the lid off a pickle jar for the first time, pressure is released and pop. The aim here is to get the vertebrae to move in the correct motion thereby having an affect on the underlying tissues and nervous system.


What is a spinal adjustment?


There are other techniques in chiropractic that do not a crack or a pop. When chiropractors are adjusting their patients and use they often use different techniques. There are over 100 different chiropractic techniques for a chiropractor to learn. The techniques that do not cause a popping sound are generally called “tonal” techniques. A gentle force – usually the pressure you would use to check a ripe tomato – is used to direct the tissues and vertebrae into correction. What works for one patient often doesn’t work for another so a good chiropractor often uses a combination of both styles. In some techniques a constant pressure or quick flick is used to achieve the same result. Some times a chiropractors will use an instrument instead of their hands.


By helping the spine to function properly, a chiropractor allows the nerve interference at that level to dissipate so that the message from the brain can get to that part of the body.


So what does a chiropractor do?


A chiropractor is trying to restore function and stability not only to your spine, but also to the central nervous system and surrounding organ systems. Chiropractic treatment is focused on trying to get your brain to communicate with every part of your body, to help you reach your maximum potential.