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.
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.
Many of you as patients have been admonished by your chiropractor and/or chiro-wise friends for self-adjusting (ie “popping your own back”). While there is no denying that doing so can provide short-term relief, it’s not a wise long-term solution. Here’s why.
Have you ever had a sharp stabbing pain with each breath? An even deeper breath makes the pain significantly worse. Some people describe this feeling as being just as bad as having a heart attack, while others feel an intense and constant dull ache that will not go away behind their shoulder blade. It's hard to explain what it feels like unless someone has experienced it for themselves because after they've been adjusted by the chiropractor, if they are skilled at mobilizing ribs, then there should be significant relief from any further rib misalignment issues in no time flat!
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Natalies story of how she was terrified to visit a chiropractor, until she realized the benefits and relief it provided for her chronic back pain.
This is the most common response I hear any time I ask to see a patient’s blood work. They have been told that everything is normal, yet they still feel awful. How could this be the case? This post is specifically about why medical and functional blood analysis is different and absolutely needs to be understood. Medicine evaluates "normal"/non-pathological blood values. Archetype uses "optimal" blood values which are smaller in a acceptable range but are compared other lab values to determine the cause of your issue..