On the Safety of the Chiropractic Adjustment

The term “chiropractic” comes from the Greek word “Chiropraktikos,” meaning “effective treatment by hand.” Effective treatment by hand is exactly what chiropractors do, delivering gentle adjustments to the spine and musculoskeletal system to maximize wellness and prevent dysfunction.

Complications resulting from any procedure are always unfortunate, regardless of the health care professional administering care. While a certain degree of risk accompanies all health interventions, specific concerns have been raised over the safety of spinal manipulation.

But have no fear: As a study in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia professes, the chiropractic adjustment is “one of the most conservative, least invasive and safest of procedures within the health care professions.” The study compared complication rates, specifically cerebrovascular accidents(CVAs)and/or death attributable to spinal manipulation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and numerous medical procedures. The author emphasizes that the potential risk of “catastrophic” side-effects from spinal manipulation is substantially lower than most common medical procedures.

If you’re interested in safe conservative care for yourself and your loved ones, schedule an appointment with a doctor of chiropractic. For more information on chiropractic, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/whatis.html

Rome PL. Perspectives: an overview of comparative considerations of cerebrovascular accidents. Chiropractic Journal of Australia, Sept. 1999: Vol. 29, No. 3, pp87-102.

Dr. Craig Anderson

Knee Pain and Chiropractic Adjustment

That pain in your knee is often what doctors call patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). Simple activities such as running, jumping, or going up and down stairs can contribute to knee pain, which means that most of us will eventually suffer from some form of PFPS.

It has been suggested that PFPS can be relieved by sufficient stretching and lengthening of tight structures around the patella (the kneecap). A study in the Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System investigated this potential intervention in 30 patients with PFPS. Patients were divided into two groups: The first group received “patella mobilization” (extension of the knee with pressure and movement applied for 10 minutes, followed by patellar adjustment in the direction of restricted movement); the second group received detuned ultrasound as placebo (five minutes of ultrasound, but with the intensity set at zero).

Patients receiving mobilization had positive improvements in PFPS symptoms compared with the placebo group. The authors note that this type of conservative care may be useful when combined with other treatment options such as exercise, orthotics and activity modification. If you're suffering from knee pain and would like to know more about nonsurgical approaches to relieving your pain, contact us.

Rowlands BW, Brantingham JW. The efficacy of patella mobilization in patients suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome. Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System: Vol. 7, No. 4, pp142-49.

Dr. Craig Anderson

An Introduction to Wind-Up

An Introduction to Wind-Up

By: Craig Anderson, D.C.

Every once in a while I like to lift the veil of health sciences and talk about something you probably have never heard of.  In this post, we’ll look at a neurological phenomenon that occurs in the spinal cord and Brain called wind-up.


Wind-up is a state of our nervous system where small stimulus (or no stimulus at all) can cause effects like irritability, anxiety and pain.

Without enough inhibition signals to the nerves, things can get out of control.  My work as a doctor of chiropractic involves daily helping patients that have this heightened response to stimuli.  Bad chemistry, eating a lot of garbage, taking strong medications and excessive worry are all causes of wind-up.

You can reduce wind-up with deep breathing, meditation, exercise and (of particular interest to me) a chiropractic adjustment.  An adjustment causes a blast of inhibition into the spinal cord.  This is one of the reason patients can feel an immediate reduction of pain after an adjustment.

If you would like to dig deeper and learn more about wind-up, review our archives.

Stay cool. – Dr. Anderson

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Blood Pressure and Chiropractic

When you think about chiropractic you are probably thinking about low back pain or maybe headaches. You may be surprised to know that chiropractic can help you generally be a healthier person.

It seems like most people have high blood pressure these days. Maybe it’s the stress of life or our less than stellar diets or our tendency to sit for long periods of time. Recently, I came across a study looking at blood pressure and the chiropractic adjustment.

The study looked at a vertebra in the upper neck called the Atlas (C1). When the chiropractic adjustment was applied to a subluxated atlas in subjects with high blood pressure, they had a 14 point drop in the systolic measurement as compared to a control group.

The results were equivalent to the drop in pressure seen in patients taking medications. The “procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD. This study was done on patient with early hypertension.


Craig Anderson, DC


More than Low Back Care?

Far too many people still believe that chiropractic care isn’t necessary unless they’re suffering excruciating low back pain.

The millions who do receive regular adjustments know that chiropractic can resolve their back pain, and more and more may also be learning about the potential nonmusculoskeletal benefits.
Take as an example the patients in a recent study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Twenty consecutive patients from each of 87 Swedish chiropractor’s offices (1,504 total patients) completed questionnaires within two weeks of previous treatment.

The questionnaires documented numerous reported improvements in nonmusculoskeletal symptoms, including:

  • easier to breathe (98 patients);
  • improved digestive function (92 patients);
  • clearer/better/sharper vision (49 patients);
  • improved circulation (34 patients);
  • less ringing in the ears (10 patients);
  • acne/eczema better (8 patients);
  • dysmennorhea (painful menstruation)
    better (7 patients); and
  • asthma/allergies better (6 patients).

The number of spinal areas adjusted was also related to the number of positive reactions.

  • Fifteen percent of patients reported positive reactions after having a single area adjusted;
  • 35% of patients reported positive reactions after having four areas adjusted. Overall,
  • 23% of chiropractic patients reported experiencing positive changes in symptoms that were not musculoskeletal in nature.

Have you experienced nonmusculoskeletal benefits following chiropractic care, and if
so, have you told your doctor of chiropractic? Always report any reactions (good or
bad) you experience during or following an adjustment.
Leboeuf-Yde C, Axen I, Ahlefeldt G, et al. The types and frequencies of improved nonmusculoskeletal symptoms reported after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Vol. 22, No. 9, pp559-64.

Slow Nerves?

What would you feel if your nerves were slow? Fatigue? Brain-fog? Pain? Weakness?

The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and connected nerves that go everywhere in the body. Most people don’t realize that our nervous system controls every function in the body, from how fast your heart beats to the perception of pain to digestion, just to name a few. If your nerves aren’t working right, then you aren’t working right.

The speed of transmission of nerve signals is different for different things. For instance, pain travels slower than touch. Touch travels about 350 feet per second; pain travels two feet per second. When you stub your toe you feel the pressure first, then the pain. Thinking is in the mid-range of speed at about 100 feet per second. Maybe even slower for some people you know!

Exercise and movement will keep your nerves firing. This is described in a great book called “Spark” by John Ratey, MD. Dr. Ratey reviewed studies of children and academics as related to exercise and brain function. An excellent book if you like that amount of detail and are a biology nerd like me.

People come to my office with spinal dysfunction. One type of dysfunction is subluxation, an abnormal movement of a vertebra causing nervous system interference. An adjustment is fantastic at restoring the speed of the nerves in the area and allowing the nervous system to do its job.

Chiropractic care helps your spine and nervous system by maximizing nerve transmission. If your nerves are working slow then your body will not be working like it should. Without good nervous system function you are not going to function at 100%.

So don’t let your bones get on your nerves. Get checked for subluxations and if found, get treatment. You will not only feel better but your nerves will be able to function better, making you a healthier person from the inside out.


Dr. Craig Anderson

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