Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of headaches, back pain, neck pain, joint pain of the arms or legs, pain between the shoulder blades, right lower back pain, left lower back pain and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. Something I tell new patients who may be nervous is how much chiropractors pay in malpractice insurance per year. On average a chiropractor pays less than $2000 per year, to put this into perspective an OB/GYN has one of the highest malpractice insurance rates of $200,000 per year.
The Risks Are Very Small
With that said the risks associated with chiropractic are very small. There are three potential outcomes after your initial chiropractic treatment: you can feel better, you can feel worse, or you could feel the same. At Nuzzi Chiropractic we have systems in place to try to prevent the “feel worse” from happening. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
In addition to being a safe form of treatment, chiropractic care is incredibly effective. A March 2004 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic care is more effective than medical care at treating chronic low-back pain in those patients who have been experiencing the symptoms for one year or less. In addition, a study published in the July 15, 2003, edition of the journal Spine found that manual manipulation provides better short-term relief of chronic spinal pain than a variety of medications.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation works to improve joint mobility in the neck, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension.
If you are visiting your doctor of chiropractic with upper-neck pain or headache, be very specific about your symptoms. This will help your doctor of chiropractic offer the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another health care provider. Depending on your clinical condition, he or she can forego manipulation, and instead can recommend joint mobilization, adjustment through other methods, therapeutic exercise, soft-tissue techniques, or other therapies.
The Bottom Line
All available evidence demonstrates that chiropractic treatment holds an extremely small risk. The chiropractic profession takes this issue very seriously and engages in training and postgraduate education courses to recognize the risk factors in patients, and to continue rendering treatment in the most effective and responsible manner.
Were you nervous about your first chiropractic adjustment? How did you feel before and after your treatment? Tell us in the comments below!