This is not the first time I’ve written about Marge, my 80-something severely osteoporotic patient who was told by her PCP not to see a chiropractor in Mesa for her neck pain.
Yep. Don’t see a chiropractor. Instead, try steroids (which is what destroyed her bones in the first place) or NSAIDs (well known to destroy joints, cause ulcers and greatly increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke). If those don’t work, then certainly neck surgery is a safer option than those wickedly dangerous chiropractors.
I am sure that there are a large number of people out there, seniors and youngsters alike, that have been steered away from seeing a chiropractor purely out of ignorance for what we do. I know that in my 15+ years of practice it has been a story I hear occasionally.
With Marge, I’m not sure what exactly her PCP thought I was going to do. Maybe it involved jumping off of my desk, landing on her unsuspecting mid back region with a loud yell in the hopes of getting bones to move. The reality is that very, very few of these doctors out there (not just PCPs, but I’ve heard it from neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons as well) haven’t the foggiest notion of what we do.
Knock on wood, but in my 15 (almost 16) years of practice, seeing some 5000 patients for a countless number of treatments, I have not had a serious adverse event occur. Never fractured anything (although there have been a time or two that I really pissed off a rib with thoracic adjusting). Never caused a stroke. Never had anyone die from any type of treatment rendered in my office. And I’ve never heard of it happening to a colleague (although it’s not exactly something you post of Facebook or Twitter).
In general, chiropractic care is incredibly safe.
However, were you a medical journal “title reader,” then the title of this particular article, “Risk of Traumatic Injury Associated with Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation in Medicare Part B Beneficiaries Aged 66-99,” would confirm everything you always thought about chiropractic care. It’s dangerous and should be avoided at all costs because we are killing and maiming patients left and right.
I have to admit that, even for myself, when I read the title of this article I was instantly pissed off, expecting a research attempt to discredit my beloved profession. Reading the first paragraph didn’t help much: “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.”
Wow. Really seems like the authors have it out for us.
Before those of you out there who have never been near mortalty wounded by a chiropractor get too upset, here’s what the researchers found:
- Those seniors who saw a chiropractor were (are you ready for this???), 76% LESS LIKELY to experience a traumatic injury. (Yes–that is 76%).
The conclusion is not exactly in line with the title here. Basically, something occurs with a chiropractic visit that led to a drastically lower risk of a traumatic injury in the 7 days following the visit.
It is highly likely that the work done (stretching, adjusting, exercises) wakes up the nervous system and as a result, these patients have better balance and are therefore less likely to fall and suffer a traumatic injury. Kind of makes sense.
The bottom line is that Mesa chiropractic care is an incredibly safe option for musculoskeletal complaints; not dangerous like your doctor incorrectly believes.