Review of ‘Safety of Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine SPINE Volume 32, Number 21, pp 2375–2378 2007″

Many people are afraid of chiropractic adjustments and even though I do gentle adjustments it is important to look at what the research says about there safety. This high-quality prospective study separates fact from fiction. Because the adjustment can look scary it is important to look at the facts. 

The authors of this study found not a single instance of a “serious adverse event” in over 50,000 cervical spine manipulations. Therefore the patients risk appears to be considered “low to very low” for cervical spine manipulation.

Of the treatment outcomes obtained from 19,722 patients. There were no reports of serious adverse events found. The risk rates of chiropractic described in this study are equal to or lower than drugs routinely prescribed for musculoskeletal conditions and acupuncture. So even though neck adjustments look scary they are safer than many medications used for neck pain. 

Serious complications were considered neurologic deficit and stroke and minor side effects were neck pain, stiffness, soreness, headache, and
tiredness. There were no adverse events reported in this study which is evidence that chiropractic has a high safety rating. 

Therefore chiropractic is considered to have low risk of serious complications.

Check out my eBook on Chronic Neck Pain.


  1. 1. Michaeli A. Reported occurrence and nature of complications following
    manipulative physiotherapy in South Africa. Aust Physiother 1993;39:
    2. Haldeman S, Carey P, Townsend M, et al. Arterial dissections following
    cervical manipulation: the chiropractic experience. CMAJ 2001;165:905–6.
    3. Rothwell D, Bondy S, Williams J. Chiropractic manipulation and stroke: a
    population-based case-control study. Stroke 2001;32:1054–60.
    4. Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H, Vassilaki M, et al. Adverse reactions to chiropractic
    treatment and their effects on satisfaction and clinical outcomes
    among patients enrolled in the UCLA Neck Pain Study. J Manipulative
    Physiol Ther 2004;27:16–25.
    5. Ernst E. Prevalence of use of complementary/alternative medicine: a systematic
    review. Bull World Health Organ 2000;78:252–7.
    6. Edwards IR, Aronson JK. Adverse drug reactions: definitions, diagnosis, and
    management. Lancet 2000;356:1255–9.
    7. Hanley JA, Lippman-Hand A. If nothing goes wrong, is everything all right?
    JAMA 1983;249:1743–5.
    8. Calman KC. Cancer: science and society and the communication of risk. BMJ
    9. Ho AM, Dion PW, Karmakar MK, et al. Estimating with confidence the risk
    of rare adverse events, including those with observed rates of zero. Reg
    Anesth Pain Med 2002;27:207–10.
    10. White A, Hayhoe S, Hart A, et al. Adverse events following acupuncture:
    prospective survey of 32 000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists.
    BMJ 2001;323:485–6.

Article originally published on Medium.