The risks associated with chiropractic treatment vary according to each patient’s condition as well as the location and type of treatment.
The risks include:
Temporary worsening of
– Usually, any increase in pre-existing symptoms of pain or stiffness will last only a few hours to a few days.
ation or bur
– Skin irritation or a burn may occur in association with the use of some types of electrical or light therapy. Skin irritation should resolve quickly. A burn may leave a permanent scar.
Sprain or strain
– Typically, a muscle or ligament sprain or strain will resolve itself within a few days or weeks with some rest, protection of the area affected and other minor care.
– While a rib fracture is painful and can limit your activity for a period of time, it will generally heal on its own over a period of several weeks without further treatment or surgical intervention.
Injury or aggravation of a disc
– Over the course of a lifetime, spinal discs may degenerate or become damaged. A disc can degenerate with aging, while disc damage can occur with common daily activities such as bending or lifting. Patients who already have a degenerated or damaged disc may or may not have symptoms. They may not know they have a problem with a disc. They also may not know their disc condition is worsening because they only experience back or neck problems once in a while.
Chiropractic treatment should not damage a disc that is not already degenerated or damaged, but if there is a pre-existing disc condition, chiropractic treatment, like many common daily activities, may aggravate the disc condition.
The consequences of disc injury or aggravating a pre-existing disc condition will vary with each patient. In the most severe cases, patient symptoms may include impaired back or neck mobility, radiating pain and numbness into the legs or arms, impaired bowel or bladder function, or impaired leg or arm function. Surgery may be needed.
– Blood flows to the brain through two sets of arteries passing through the neck. These arteries may become weakened and damaged, either over time through aging or disease, or as a result of injury. A blood clot may form in a damaged artery. All or part of the clot may break off and travel up the artery to the brain where it can interrupt blood flow and cause a stroke.
Many common activities of daily living involving ordinary neck movements have been associated with stroke resulting from damage to an artery in the neck, or a clot that already existed in the artery breaking off and travelling up to the brain.
Chiropractic treatment has also been associated with stroke. However, that association occurs very infrequently, and may be explained because an artery was already damaged and the patient was progressing toward a stroke when the CCPA 09.14 Page 1 of 2 patient consulted the chiropractor. Present medical and scientific evidence does not establish that chiropractic treatment causes either damage to an artery or stroke.
The consequences of a stroke can be very serious, including significant impairment of vision, speech, balance and brain function, as well as paralysis or death.