Read the News Today? Oh Boy.

hot air news

News: something frequently full of hot air and worthy of setting on fire.

“Did you see that thing on the news?” asked my patient of 13 years.

I was sure I hadn’t since I rarely watch or read news anymore.  I guessed she was talking about the same story that was catching most local people’s attention, “Oh, about the bear who fell out of the tree downtown? Sad, isn’t it?”

“No, I mean the chiropractic and stroke thing.”

“Oh!” I said, “Someone just forwarded that to me.  The one where the court decided that the force involved in chiropractic adjustments is nowhere near the force required to injure a healthy vertebral artery, and that if there had been sufficient force to injure the artery, there would have been damage to the surrounding bone?”

“Is that what that case said?” she asked somewhat confused.

“Sure.  Not surprisingly, it rides on the coattails of that recent study that showed that the risk of stroke was about the same whether the patient visited a chiropractor or a medical doctor.  They think is has something to do with the fact that people who are soon to have stroke might visit either type of doctor for headache and neck pain first.  At that point, it doesn’t matter if they get cervical manipulation, an Advil or a cheese omelet – they’re going to have a stroke.”

“Huh.  Well, my husband said there wouldn’t be an article about it if there wasn’t something to it.”

“Yeah,” I responded, “I just read an article about Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and UFO’s.”

“People actually fall for that crap!” she exclaimed, “Do you believe that!?!”

“Yes.  As a matter of fact I do.”

“My husband just wants me to minimize whatever risks I can,” she said.

“Okay, great.  You didn’t drive to my office, did you?  Since driving here is way more risky than walking.  Oh, and I hope you didn’t eat any animal products today since your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes is dramatically increased.  Oh, and you told me you took an ibuprofen last night.  You do know that increases your risk of gastric ulcer and some cardiovascular problems.  And you do know that living in an urban area, your odds of injury and illness are higher than in a rural area so did your husband put the house up for sale yet?”

“Uh…can you do something for this headache I have?”

“When did it start?”

“About a minute ago.”


Dr. Brett Kinsler blogs as RochesterChiro and is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY.


Chiropractic Care: Does the benefit outweigh the risks?

Are there risks to chiropractic treatment?  Well, some, but most of the adverse events (side effects) that can occur with chiropractic care of the neck and low back are benign and self-limiting.  This means they are mild, do not affect a person’s activities of daily living and typically go away on their own after a few days.  This generally means post-adjustment soreness, nausea, that sort of thing.

A study recently published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physical Therapeutics (Rubenstein SM. JMPT 2008;31:461-464) asked the question “Do the benefits of chiropractic care outweigh the risks.”  I’ll save you some reading….YES.

The author examined the minor and occasionally serious events associated with chiropractic care and found that the best evidence suggests that chiropractic care is a useful treatment for patients with low back or neck pain and the risks of serious adverse events should be considered negligible.

I once heard it described that if you drive more than a mile or so to your chiropractor’s office, the chances of having a serious injury are much greater on your drive to the office than during any time actually spent in the office.  And any link between chiropractic treatment and stroke has not been without flaws.  In fact, a recent study showed that the risk of stroke following a chiropractic visit was equal to the risk of stroke following a medical doctor visit.  It seems that patients who are about to have a stroke tend to self-refer to chiropractors and medical doctors.  Go figure.

Risks with any treatment shouldn’t be taken lightly but certainly we should use a rational and intelligent approach to them.  As far as chiropractors peforming spinal manipulation, we should keep studying the risks but I believe that no sleep should be lost worrying them.

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