Chiropractic and Osteoporosis

Posted in Back Pain Disorders on Mar 29, 2016

One question I am often asked, "Is chiropractic safe for pensioners?" Specifically, the concern relates to seniors with osteoporosis: that if too hard an adjustment is given that you can break a person's bone. Yes, it is always a possibility - usually ribs, seldom other vertebrae.

However, this is why Chiropractors are highly skilled and educated profession on par with medical doctors. It is to reduce risk. Still, the question may be asked, "What is the chance that something bad might happen?" There is a 2015 study from Spine journal found here called "Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years." (Of note, this study refers to Medicare in the USA.

The equivalent in Australia refers to Pensioners.) The researchers looked at over 10.5 Million chiropractic visits and 13.5 Million GP visits. I quote their findings: "The cumulative probability of injury in the chiropractic cohort was 40 injury incidents per 100,000 subjects compared with 153 incidents per 100,000 subjects in the primary care cohort."

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In other words, the risk of serious injury was 0.04% if a pensioner sees a chiropractor and 0.153% if a pensioner sees his/her GP. Both are exceptionally low (and excellent!) statistics … but note that the study found chiropractic safer for seniors!

The quote the researcher's findings again, "It is unlikely that chiropractic care is a significant cause of injury in older adults.” Yes, there were certain injuries recorded: of 10.5 million adjustments, there were approximately 1100 fractures, 1000 soft tissue injuries, 560 spine injuries, and only 33 blood vessel injuries (which matches known estimates of a 1 in a million event). …

One closing note: this study was with regards manipulation, which generally utilizes more force than an Upper Cervical Specific adjustment. Atlas specific chiropractic care is generally considered to be safe with a good satisfaction track record (see 2011 research by Dr. Kirk Eriksen). Even for seniors, pensioners, or other people with osteoporosis, chiropractic care can still help you to maintain your optimum level of health and enjoy life to the fullest.

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