Is Chiropractic safe?

The New Zealand Commission Report

After looking into the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic, the New Zealand government published a 377 page report, which was a result of almost two years of interviews, surveys and hearings from recognised health care experts.

Their principal findings included:

- “Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy (spinal adjustments).”

- “Chiropractors carry out spinal diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level.”

- “Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe.”

- “The duration and training of a registered chiropractor are sufficient to enable him/her to determine whether there are contraindications to spinal manual therapy in a particular case, and whether that patient should have medical care instead of, or as well as, chiropractic care.”

(New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer, Wellington - 1979.)

The Manga Report  

The Manga Report is the largest analysis of scientific literature on the management of low back pain, primarily focusing on which treatments are the most effective and cost effective. It was commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of Health, in Canada.

After reviewing all of the international evidence, chief investigator Pran Manga Ph.D. found that the treatments provided by chiropractors were exceptionally safe – and in some cases, much safer than standard medical treatments of similar conditions.

- "There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain."

- "Indeed, several existing medical therapies of low back pain are generally contraindicated on the basis of the existing clinical trials. There is also some evidence in the literature to suggest that spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by non-chiropractic professionals"

- "Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."

(The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain (The Manga Report). Pran Manga and Associates (1993) - University of Ottawa, Canada.)

The Agency on Health Care Policy and Research Study (AHCPR)

The AHCPR of the United States Department of Health and Human Services has published Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. These guidelines were developed after extensive study of diagnostic and treatment methods for acute low back pain.

The guidelines were created by the AHCPR panel to provide primary health care practitioners with information and recommendations for the assessment and treatment of acute low back problems. The AHCPR panel was made up of 23 members consisting of medical doctors, chiropractors, nurses, experts in spinal research, physical therapists, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, and a consumer representative.

Their findings included:

- The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare;

- Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention;

- Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems.

(Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S, et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

And from Australia

A 2001 Australian Medicare Review concluded: “People under chiropractic care used 69% less medical care”, equating to a dramatic decrease in the need for drugs and surgery. 

Finally, according to research conducted by the Chiropractors' Association of Australia (CAA), over 200,000 Australians regularly visit their chiropractor each week. Chiropractic commonly helps with many musculoskeletal problems - let's see how we might be able to help you today.