Chiropractic Care Expert Forum
Chiropractic risks, or am I just over-worrying?
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Questions in the Chiropractic Care Forum are being answered by Dr. Adam Tanase, a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic. Topics covered include Muscle Pain, Nerve Pain, Movement Disorders, Subluxation, Upper Cervical Care, Pain Management, Health Care Alternatives, and Wellness Care.

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Chiropractic risks, or am I just over-worrying?

My mom and I were recently involved in a car accident--hit from the back from an elderly man who wasn't paying attention to the road.

First session:
He didn't explained the treatment for that day, as he was doing it. I didn't even see the machinery because he had me face down on the seat (laying down).
- He clipped things on my neck and said something about pressure points.. or some kind of important places in the neck and switched the machine on. It felt like vibrations and he raised it up to a higher level. It was not painful at FIRST but after he left the office, it suddenly felt like someone was pricking me with a needle on my neck up & down. He FINALLY returned to the room so I told him it was painful. Only then did he turn it down.
- After-wards, he had me lay down and breathe in & out. When i breathed out, he used his hands and pressed down on it making a 'pop' sound--like when popping knuckles. He said he had aligned my upper back. CONFUSION: He only took an x-ray of my NECK. Treatment was for my NECK ONLY yet he did an alignment to my upper back? Then he told me that starting next week, we would do that same thing to my neck and I was like O___O .. he didn't even give me a warning or explain what he was doing to my back.
- Leaving the office, I felt the back of my neck and saw that my skin felt like it was torn X.X my mom said it was burnt... he put the settings on too high? >.< She told me I should have said it was painful. But it hadn't been painful until he left the office momentarily.

After some amateur research, I kept reading how there are RISKS to neck / back manipulation. Ex/ Strokes So now I'm completely scared & worried about any further chiropractic visits. My mom thinks my fears are completely worry-wart-driven. X: And that I should trust the Chiropractor because he's studied his scope of practice for a long time.
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Different chiropractors have their own ways of doing things... While it's not my personal style to perform care without thoroughly explaining it first, many doctors (dentists, MD's, and chiropractors) feel it's unnecessary to discuss treatment with their patients. Sounds like your chiro might be in that group.

I believe your confusion is perfectly valid. If he only took x-rays of your neck and then claimed to "align" the upper back, you absolutely deserve an explanation.

I think what we're dealing with here is more a question about this doctor's style of practice... If he's been doing this for 30 years, he may just be in a routine and not thinking about the fact that this is a brand new for you. While I personally wouldn't mesh well with this type of care, he still may be a very capable health care provider.

How did you go about finding his office? Did you open up the Yellow Pages and blindly pick a name? Did a car accident attorney send you to him? Was his name recommended by a friend or family member who went to his office previously?

Finding the right chiropractor is important; it's not something people should pick at random.

As far as the neck manipulation concerns go... Millions of people have their necks manipulated in chiropractic offices every day and live to tell about it. There are more adverse effects associated with taking aspirin or getting the flu shot, for example, than receiving chiropractic care.

That being said, it's not my personal choice when receiving care. I'm an advocate for "Upper Cervical Care." If you're fortunate enough to have this type of specialist in your area, chances are you'll feel much more comfortable because it doesn't involve any twisting, popping, or cracking of the neck or spine.

Email me or post your zip code and I'll see if I can find one near you. If there isn't someone close by, there are a few full-spine chiropractic methods that can safely and gently manipulate your neck without twisting. These include Activator Methods, Integrator, and Pro-Adjuster instruments.
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Chiropractic care is very safe, but this Dr should have done a better job explaining.

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