Chiropractic Safety

As the largest existing analysis of scientific literature on low back pain, the 1993 Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study drew international attention when it recommended the management of low back pain be moved from medical doctors to chiropractic doctors. They recommended: "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. Pran Manga and Associates. University of Ottawa, Canada - 1993)
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research of the US Department of Health and Human Services released Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. The guidelines were developed after extensive study. Their findings included:
  • Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention.
  • Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressants 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)- US Department of Health and Human Services)
The government of New Zealand published a 377 page report which assessed the efficacy and safety of chiropractic care. Their 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. Serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare."
  • "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)