Is Chiropractic Care safe?
Absolutely. Compared to other medical treatments, which include medication and surgery, chiropractic is by far the safest. It is estimated that 140,000 people in the USA die each year from drug-related reactions and nearly 100,000 people die as a result of medical errors. Insurance companies who evaluate the risks of all professions, and charge a premium based on the risk the profession poses. Chiropractors have by far the lowest insurance premium of all medial providers. Even though millions of chiropractic adjustments are made each year, only a few complaints are registered.
What is an adjustment?
A gentle, carefully placed high velocity, low amplitude thrust which moves a vertebrae or other joint, thereby restoring the full range of motion to that joint. The chiropractor usually delivers the adjustment by hand, but occasionally uses other instruments. The purpose of the adjustment is to restore range of motion to a joint that has limitations or is "stuck".
Does the adjustment hurt?
Most chiropractic adjustments are not only painless, they actually feel great and relieving. In cases of a recent injury, adjustments may irritate inflamed tissue and cause some discomfort. Application of ice after treatment will soothe the irritation.
What causes the “cracking” sound during an adjustment?
The sound is no reason to be concerned. The sound is not coming from the bones themselves. It's coming from a lubricant called synovial fluid that's found in every joint. That fluid contains dissolved gases. During the adjustment the joints are slightly separated to move into proper position. This expands the volume where the fluid is contained resulting in the dissolved gasses coming out of solution. An analogy would be the “pop” heard when opening a can of soda. Not all patients “pop” and not all adjusting techniques produce the noise, which means an adjustment can be proper and effective, even if you do not hear any noise.
Will repeated chiropractic adjustment lead to arthritis?
There is no evidence to suggest that manipulation of the spine or other chiropractic care can lead to arthritis. On the contrary, chiropractors often care for people with arthritis by maintaining joint health. Motion is life when it comes to joint health.
Is it safe to crack my own back or neck?
This question is often posed to chiropractors and concern has been raised over its safety. While people might have the right idea by trying to relieve pressure on the joints, the "cracking" or "popping" of one's back or neck is not the same as a chiropractic adjustment. When someone "cracks" their own neck, the joints that actually "pop" are the loosest, not the one or two that are "stuck". The problem usually keeps coming back, which should be a clear indication that there has been no real adjustment. The cause of the spinal tension, the fixated or jammed vertebrae, has not been corrected. A manipulation or adjustment is applied only to the joints which have limited motion, not those with normal motion. Even a chiropractor cannot adjust him/herself. You should not try to do it yourself, either.
Can chiropractors refer patients to other specialists?
Chiropractors are part of a network of health-care professionals. Like other doctors, they will make referrals for patients when necessary. Chiropractors are trained to recognize risk factors and signs of disease that are outside their scope of treatments and they will not hesitate to make a referral when it's in a patient's best interest.
Can chiropractors prescribe medication or perform surgery?
No. Chiropractors can write prescriptions for orthotics and other physical therapy aids, but you need to see your MD or DO for prescription medications. In Texas, chiropractors cannot perform any surgery.