Research Confirms Saftey Of Chiropractic Neck Adjustments

The beneficial effects of chiropractic therapy for neck pain, back pain, and headaches has been confirmed by an overwhelming amount of evidence-based studies. The safety of chiropractic manipulations on the spine and the rest of the musculoskeletal system in general is supported by decades of research. However, recently concerns about the possibility of damage to the internal carotid artery (ICA) in the neck by the forces of chiropractic manipulation has become a question for some researchers. 

What exactly happens to the internal carotid artery when the neck is adjusted during chiropractic therapy was something that was difficult to observe due to the object of observation being located deep inside of the neck and obscured by thick layers of tissue, muscles, bones, and ligaments. A recent study, however, set out to design a research protocol that would allow scientists to be able to see what exactly happens to the internal carotid artery when chiropractic forces are applied to the upper regions the spine that move into the neck. The goal was to establish whether or not chiropractic therapy placed any more force on the internal carotid artery than what was naturally experienced when just going about average daily physical movements.

The study focused on measuring how much stress was experienced by the internal carotid artery when chiropractic adjustments were applied to the neck. This data was compared to the resulting stress from normal everyday movements. Results showed that the amount of force impressed on the internal carotid artery during chiropractic therapy was no more than what it must deal with on a daily basis from regular human movements. 

This study backs up the findings of previous studies into the safety of chiropractic neck adjustments. One such study was very large and used a sample size of 28, 807 chiropractic patients who in total represented 50, 276 neck adjustments. From all of these neck adjustments there was only one reported negative side effect: temporary, mild dizziness. Other than this, no other adverse effects were found.

In contrast, the benefits of chiropractic adjustment of the neck to manage chronic neck pain has been demonstrated by many studies. This pain reduction is effective for patients who experience problems related to the neck like whiplash, dizziness, and headaches. The neck is attached to the upper part of the spine, known as the cervical spine, and adjustments to this area have been noted to be unusually effective in certain conditions, like hypertension.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Steven Depolo