In a recent issue of Nature Scientific Reports, researchers at Chiropractic Doctors Association of Hong Kong (CDAHK) concluded that serious side effects with spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) were extremely rare.

NEW YORK, NY, February 06, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Chiropractors utilize spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) as a primary method of patient treatment. In a recent issue of Nature Scientific Reports, Researchers at CDAHK came to the conclusion that serious side effects from SMT were very rare. Fewer than one in one hundred thousand spinal manipulative therapies result in a serious adverse event, according to a retrospective study of nearly one million chiropractic procedures [1].

Using information from 30 different clinics in Hong Kong, the researchers were able to identify patients who experienced adverse effects after chiropractic spinal manipulation over the course of 5 years. Complaint records, patient surveys, complaints, and clinician recorded incidents were all mined for information.

There were 39 adverse events reported among 960,140 treatment sessions for 54,846 patients; two were grade 3, both involving rib fractures in women aged 60 and up with osteoporosis; and none were grade 4, producing an incidence of grade 3 adverse events of 0.21 per 100,000 treatment sessions (95% CI 0.00, 0.56 per 100,000). Cauda equina syndrome and stroke-related adverse events were not seen.

While chiropractic treatment has been found to be a highly effective care for a wide range of musculoskeletal issues, the side effects are extremely rare. Prevalence of serious pathology presenting for chiropractic care is small [2], most of the patients who undergo chiropractic care report only positive changes in their physical and psychological wellbeing. Chiropractic care is a safe and highly effective form of treatment and its side effects are virtually non-existent [3].

1. Chu EC, Trager RJ, Lee LY, Niazi IK. A retrospective analysis of the incidence of severe adverse events among recipients of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 23;13(1):1254. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-28520-4.
2. Chu EC, Trager RJ. Prevalence of Serious Pathology Among Adults with Low Back Pain Presenting for Chiropractic Care: A Retrospective Chart Review of Integrated Clinics in Hong Kong. Med Sci Monit. 2022 Sep 27;28:e938042. doi: 10.12659/MSM.938042.
3. Chu EC, Trager RJ, Tao C, Lee LY. Chiropractic Management of Neck Pain Complicated by Symptomatic Vertebral Artery Stenosis and Dizziness. Am J Case Rep. 2022 Oct 19;23:e937991. doi: 10.12659/AJCR.937991.

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