According to the American Chiropractic Association in Arlington, Virginia, Americans visit chiropractors at least 250 million times each year. Chiropractic health care, a mode of alternative medicine, works on the theory that misaligned vertebrae put pressure on nerves along the spine. This pressure interrupts nerve signals to the body, which causes a variety of ailments. Manipulation of the spine is thought to relieve these ailments; however, chiropractic treatment has a number of downsides, including soreness, potential to damage bones and a connection to causing strokes.
A common patient complaint after chiropractic treatment is soreness as the body attempts to adjust to changes caused by the chiropractic intervention. Aftereffects can include temporary headaches, tiredness or discomfort in treated areas.
Pain and irritation from chiropractic treatment should decrease within weeks of treatment. Seek consultation from a physician if symptoms persist.
The potential for bone fractures, as well as nerve damage, exists with use of chiropractic care. Patients with bone infections, bone cancer, prior vertebral fractures, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis should consult a physician before engaging in spinal manipulation therapy to discuss the risks.
Chiropractic care for children should be avoided in most cases. Physicians cite concerns about damage to growing bones from heavy-handed spinal manipulation, and most do not recommend chiropractic care for infants and younger people.
Neck adjustments have the potential to cause strokes. Although the risk of stroke caused by chiropractic adjustment isn't high, some physicians urge their patients to consider the danger before submitting to chiropractic care. A 2003 study connected stroke patients where the condition was caused by torn arteries to recently chiropractic care, indicating a causal effect. For unknown reasons, younger women display a higher risk of stroke from chiropractic adjustments.