A study published in the medical journal Spine on Dec. 9, 2014, showed that among Medicare beneficiaries, a visit to the chiropractor was much safer than a visit to the primary care physician. A second study published by Hindawi Publishing on Dec. 25, 2014, showed that there was no evidence of injury after chiropractic adjustments.
In the study published in Spine, researchers reviewed records for Medicare beneficiaries who had gotten chiropractic care in 2007 looking for reports of injuries. Specifically, they reviewed records for “…older adults with a neuromusculoskeletal complaint, to evaluate risk of injury to the head, neck or trunk following an office visit for chiropractic spinal manipulation, as compared to office visit for evaluation by primary care physician.”
The results of this study clearly showed that a visit to the chiropractor who performed an adjustment was safer than a visit to the medical physician for an evaluation. The study did not take into account the possible increased risk for any form of medical treatment or drugs as the medical comparison was only done on “…those evaluated by a primary care physician.”
The study reviewed the records for up to seven days after either the chiropractic or medical visit. In calculating the risk of injury for both the medical visit and the chiropractic visits, the researchers reported that “The cumulative probability of injury in the chiropractic cohort was 40 injury incidents per 100,000 subjects, as compared to 153 incidents per 100,000 subjects in the primary care cohort.” This showed that although no form of healthcare is totally without some small risk, chiropractic care was much safer.
In their conclusions the authors wrote, “Among Medicare beneficiaries aged 66-99 with an office visit risk for a neuromusculoskeletal problem, risk of injury to the head, neck or trunk within 7 days was 76% lower among subjects with a chiropractic office visit as compared to those who saw a primary care physician.”
In the second study published by Hindawi, researchers performed a “randomized controlled trial” to look at blood-work after chiropractic adjustments, to see if there were any chemical changes that would normally be present after spinal injury. They compared these results to a control group that received placebo or fake adjustments.
The results showed no indications of increased levels of any chemicals that would have been present if the subjects were injured. From these results the researchers concluded: “Our data show no changes in any of the studied damage markers. Although this study examined the outcomes in an asymptomatic population, lower cervical and thoracic manipulative techniques seem to be safe manual therapies techniques which cause no harm to the health of the subject. These data may be used as evidence of the safe application of spinal manipulation to healthy subjects.”