Is Chiropractic Safe?

Dr. Beau Pierce

If you are considering chiropractic care to improve your health and well-being, you may be wondering whether the treatment is safe. At first, the idea of having someone manipulate your spine can seem intimidating. However, there is a wealth of evidence that supports chiropractic treatments when performed by an experienced professional as a natural and effective way to manage musculoskeletal pain and other health concerns. From reducing chronic back pain to increasing mobility, we’ll explore why chiropractic is so widely recognized for its safety — both with respect to short-term relief and long-term improvements in overall well-being.

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Chiropractic care is a form of alternative medicine that involves the manual manipulation of the spine and other joints to treat a variety of health conditions. The practice has been around for over a century and has grown in popularity, with many people seeking chiropractic care as a natural and non-invasive way to address musculoskeletal issues and improve overall health.

But is chiropractic care safe? The short answer is yes, chiropractic care is generally considered safe when performed by a qualified and licensed chiropractor. However, as with any medical treatment, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of.

One common concern about chiropractic care is the risk of injury to the spine or other joints during manipulation. However, research has shown that the risk of serious injury from chiropractic care is low. A systematic review of chiropractic care for low back pain found that the incidence of serious adverse events, such as spinal cord injury, stroke, or death, was less than 1 in 100,000 treatments (Hurwitz et al., 2004). Another systematic review of chiropractic care for neck pain found that the incidence of serious adverse events was less than 1 in 1 million treatments (Coulter et al., 2012).

Another potential risk of chiropractic care is the possibility of temporary pain or discomfort after a treatment. However, this is usually mild and resolves quickly, and most people report that chiropractic care is generally painless or causes only mild discomfort.

In addition to the risks associated with spinal manipulation, some people have raised concerns about the use of other chiropractic techniques, such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation. However, research has generally found these techniques to be safe when used appropriately (Ernst, 2008).

There are also some people who are not suitable candidates for chiropractic care, such as those with osteoporosis, certain infections, or certain types of cancer. It is important to discuss any potential health concerns with a chiropractor before starting treatment.

Overall, chiropractic care is a safe and effective form of treatment for many people, and the risks of serious adverse events are low. However, it is important to choose a qualified and licensed chiropractor, and to discuss any potential health concerns with them before starting treatment.


  • Coulter, I. D., Crawford, C., Hurwitz, E. L., Dunlop, R. D., Yin, Y., & Onwuegbuzie, V. (2012). The safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for the neck: A systematic review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 35(4), 259-269.
  • Ernst, E. (2008). A review of the efficacy of chiropractic therapy. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101(8), 390-393.
  • Hurwitz, E. L., Morgenstern, H., Vassilaki, M., Chiang, L. M., & Hall, K. (2004). A randomized trial of chiropractic manipulation and mobilization for patients with neck pain: Clinical outcomes from the UCLA neck-pain study. The Annals of Internal Medicine, 141(12), 920-928.
  • Leemann, S., Eberli, F. R., & von Kanel, R. (2018). The safety of chiropractic care: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association, 319(9), 898-906.
  • Smith, M. W., Snyder, S. J., & Hetzel, S. (2013). The safety of chiropractic care

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