RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Chiropractic adjustment is safe when it's performed by someone trained and licensed to deliver chiropractic care. Serious complications associated with chiropractic adjustment are overall rare, but may include:
- A herniated disk
- Compression of nerves in the lower spinal column (cauda equina syndrome), which can cause pain, weakness, loss of feeling in your legs, and loss of bowel or bladder control
- A certain type of stroke (vertebral artery dissection) after neck manipulation
Don't seek chiropractic adjustment if you have:
- Severe osteoporosis
- Numbness, tingling or loss of strength in an arm or leg
- Cancer in your spine
- An increased risk of stroke
- An unstable spine
- AskMayoExpert. Chiropractic treatment. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Chiropractic: An introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction.htm. Accessed Aug. 16, 2012.
- Shekelle P. Spinal manipulation in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 16, 2012.
- Plastaras CT, et al. Complementary and alternative treatment for neck pain: Chiropractic, acupuncture, TENS, massage, yoga, tai chi and Feldenkrais. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2011;22:521.
- Rubinstein SM, et al. Spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low-back pain.co Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/details/file/1018215/CD008112.html. Accessed Aug. 16, 2012.
- Knight CL, et al. Treatment of acute low back pain. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 17, 2012.
- Bauer BA. Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine. 2nd ed. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2010:138.
- Gay RE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 22, 2012.