Every day I talk to patients who are nervous about their adjustment. While it’s totally natural to be nervous about any new experience, I’d like to point out some facts that put the true safety of chiropractic into perspective.
If anyone pays attention to the REAL statistics about the incidence of malpractice, it’s the insurance companies. For a taste of what they view the relative risk between chiropractic and allopathic medicine, just look at malpractice rates. MD’s pay on average $100-300,000 per year in malpractice insurance while DC’s pay an average of $1500 per year. And DC’s typically have 2-4 times the number of patient encounters per day. This difference of OVER 2 orders of magnitude makes complete sense when you look at the top 3 causes of death in the US. According to Johns Hopkins, the 3rd leading cause of death in the US (behind heart disease and cancer) is medical error.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Scientific studies have estimated that the incidence of stroke (specifically vertebral artery dissection) associated with a chiropractic visit is between 1 in 500,000 on the high end and 1 in 5,000,000 on the conservative end of the spectrum. The rate of incidence in the GENERAL POPULATION is 1 in 100,000. Consider this: what symptoms are typically associated with a stroke? Headache? Neck pain? These are pretty common reasons people go to the chiropractor. In other words, it’s very possible that people whose stroke was attributed to chiropractic care was actually already in process before they even made their appointment.
Chiropractors are Real Doctors
Number of Hours of Training: Chiropractors undergo the same number of years of school to become a DC as a MD does—4 years of undergrad prerequisites and 4 years of post grad. While it is true that MD’s undergo a residency process, both professions begin treating patients after 8 years of school. When you look at the curriculum of a DC vs an MD, they are almost identical. The main differences are that MD’s receive significantly more training in pharmacology and that DC’s receive more training in anatomy—especially spinal anatomy.
- 16,500 people per year experience life threatening complications from using NSAID’s
- 3-4 per 100 people experience significant complications as a result of cervical spine surgery
- 1 in 2 million chance of dying each time you drive your car