Chiropractor Questions Chiropractor

Can you get paralyzed from a chiropractor?

I am a 40 year old female. I will have a chiropractic adjustment and I worry about it. Can you get paralyzed from a chiropractor?

14 Answers

No, there is no case I've ever heard of such a thing happening. Chiropractors are trained to apply specific adjustment forces to specific vertebrae in a specific way to alleviate subluxations. It has proven over 200 years of practice to be the safest healthcare delivery system in the world which is why chiropractors pay the lowest malpractice insurance rates across the entire healthcare community.
Technically, yes. But honestly, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball AND the Mega Million Jackpot. The unlucky start REALLY have to align in order for this rare and unfortunate outcome to occur. These cases that you may have heard of include people that already had risk factors for serious conditions such as vertebral artery dissections before seeing a chiropractor, and they symptoms were indirectly or directly worsened in the short (or long) term following a chiropractic adjustment. As chiropractors we were all trained in recognizing these risk factors and taking appropriate action when identified. We do not adjust people with these risk factors. That is the standard of care. Do the occasional rarities happen where a chiropractor adjusts someone that may have risk factors for artery dissection? Unfortunately, yes. Just as it is in any profession, mistakes can happen. Secretaries accidentaly hang up on an important client. Chefs unknowingly handle food with a small cut on their finger. Surgeons leave a piece of gauze where an appendix used to be.
To wrap this all up, let me just reiterate that chiropractic adjustments are safe. If they weren't, malpractice insurance for chiropractors would be very high. Currently, chiropractors have some of the lowest malpractice insurance rates when compared to surgeons, neurologists, etc.
If you are still worried, express your concern with your chiropractor. I'm sure he or she will be happen to talk with you more on this subject. Good luck.
Chiropractic adjustments have been proven to be extremely safe and effective. There is a very small risk of a few adverse effects from a chiropractic manipulation. It is the chiropractors job to take a detailed history, ruling out red flags and making sure there are no contraindications before treatment.
In my experience, no.
Without citing a bunch of studies I can assure you that you are more likely to be hit by lightning than to be paralyzed from a chiropractic adjustment. A classmate of mine made a good point that in school we practice adjustments on each other all of the time, multiple times a day for at least a couple of years yet you never see or hear of a serious injury in the classroom setting. As practitioners, chiropractors have the lowest malpractice rates of all doctors, so that speaks to how often a severe occurrence happens. Nevertheless, your chiropractor will do an exam and take a history to make sure whatever care is needed is warranted and all known risks are mitigated. Also and probably most important part, it is your body and if you don’t want to be moved in one direction or another regardless of the benefits (or risks) then let your chiropractor know as there are probably other modalities that can be used. Maybe not as effective but there is usually more than one road to healing. Hope this helps.
It is possible, but extremely unlikely. I have been in practice for over 36 years and have never heard of that happening. Chiropractors are very thorough with their examinations to diagnose the problem and also look for any contraindications to adjusting. That is why we take X-rays as part of the exam. Talk to your chiropractor about your concerns before the adjustment. He or she will not be insulted.

Yours in health,

Doc J

Rule number one: Anything is possible when it comes to the body. The more reasonable question would be, "What is the probability?". I can only tell you from my experience I have never seen it happen, nor have I ever of it happening with another chiropractor.
No. We are highly trained so that we do not paralyze patients.
This is a very common concern. Many people hear "neck adjustment" and think it's going to be like in the "Rambo" movies. First, let me assure you that the whole "twist the neck and the person dies" thing, is purely Hollywood. You would have to generate a crazy amount of force with you arms for that to happen. Most chiropractic adjustments are high velocity (done quickly), but low amplitude (not a lot of force). I say most, because there will, of course, be those chiropractors who just use too much force, but these are not the norm. You should address your concern with your chiropractor, let them know you've not been adjusted before and that you would like them to go light at first. If they're a good doctor, they will listen to you and help resolve your concerns. If they don't seem to want to listen or you feel uncomfortable about having them adjust you, it is your right to say no. You can then look for another chiropractor who you feel more comfortable with and more confident in. Like with any medical treatment, there are risks involved. You may feel sore afterward (usually only last a short time if that happen). In rare instances, muscle strains or ligament sprains have occurred. In even rarer instances, disc protrusions or vertebral artery damage has been discovered after an adjustment. I say it that way, because it is unknown whether these conditions existed prior to the adjustment, only that the symptoms presented afterward. These are exceedingly rare occurrences and most people experiences quite the opposite. They feel better after being adjusted. They have better motion in their joints, less stiffness, less pain, and they often report feeling "lighter." It is very unlikely for a chiropractic adjustment to cause paralysis. If you want a non-chiropractic opinion, check out what the Mayo Clinic's website says about the risks:
Hi there, so the short answer to the question is extremely unlikely. Most offices will check your vitals, posture, range of motion, perform nerve testing as well as take into account health history before any adjustment is made. There are many techniques that can be performed even under high risk patients, so as long as the Doctor asseses a patient properly there should be little to no problem with a treatment at all. I have never had a patient experience any form of paralysis in my office nor have I heard of one in my career. Treatments will be safe and should provide you relief!
No. The only side affects could possibly be stroke according to studies. 1 in every 1 million adjustments. Chiropractic is truly one of the healthcare service that truly does no harm. The 2 tenets of the Hippocratic oath say to do no harm.

Dr. Reynolds

It's possible, but not probable.
No, a normal healthy spine will not allow you to be paralyzed by an adjustment.