Chiropractic Care: How Safe Is It?

When it comes to a person’s health, asking whether chiropractic medicine is safe is a reasonable query. However, it’s curious that there would be so much reservation about its safety compared to conventional medicine since they pretty much got their start in the same place. A number of cultures, from the Japanese to the ancient Greeks, knew the art of spinal manipulation and used it right alongside the many medical practices that now form the art of modern medicine.

Each year, billions are spent on studying new medical treatments and drug therapies, the results thoroughly detailed in respected journals. This brings a sense of confidence when it comes to dealing with something as complex as human health. At the same time, it also creates a sense of dependence. If a treatment doesn’t have “the facts” to back it up, how can one know whether it is reliable?

Chiropractic medicine has a remarkably extensive amount of scientific data to substantiate it as a safe, natural and effective treatment. In fact, once research proves its efficacy in one area, it routinely sparks further investigation into its helpfulness with other health issues. It is defining the complex details of how chiropractic medicine is able to create such therapeutic effects that have yet to be fully explained.

This is not all that surprising considering the approach to chiropractic treatment is to assist the body in its healing process rather than just attacking physical symptoms. Since the healing process is one that includes aspects of mental and emotional well-being (aspects whose effects on healing are not fully understood by anyone just yet) there are obviously more variables in the mix for chiropractic medicine.
Conventional or not, all medical treatments and therapies have their hazards. The potential risks of chiropractic treatment are bruising, headache, muscle strain, undefined soreness, bone fracture and stroke. A short-term soreness of the treated area is typical and the most commonly noted after effect.

Interestingly, it is routine for a study to accurately track the extent of side effects in a new drug or treatment; yet, it is difficult to do the same in chiropractic medicine. Harsh side effects so rarely occur in patients of proper chiropractic treatment, there has never been enough evidence to bridge a link between the two. In the instances dangerous “side effects” have occurred (such as stroke or bone fracture), a predisposed condition was often an underlying factor. This plays a part in why malpractice premiums for chiropractors often range from $2000-4000 while doctors who practice conventional medicine can pay up to $100,000, if not more.

Much of the hesitation about the safety of chiropractic treatment stems from attitudes taken by those not in the practice or who have likely never experienced treatment from a licensed provider. In addition, most have been conditioned to believe that illness and injury requires complex, intrusive therapies to help the body heal itself. Though not completely untrue, it’s not always accurate either. In all reality, the human body is phenomenally adept at healing itself and meddling with the process can sometimes hinder more than help.

The question of whether chiropractic treatment is safe is likely to be around for a while as people look for more effective and natural ways to maintain their health. Those who have grown weary of depending solely on conventional treatments for medical problems and coming out the poorer for it (physically and financially) are likely to find the approach of working with the body to heal itself a more suitable means of staying healthy.