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Chiropractic Spine Manipulation Unlikely to Cause Injury

Last Updated: May 26, 2011.

Maximum chest compression induced during chiropractic thoracic spine manipulations is associated with minimal risk of Abbreviated Injury Scale 1 level injuries, according to a study published online May 16 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

THURSDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Maximum chest compression induced during chiropractic thoracic spine manipulations is associated with minimal risk of Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) 1 level injuries, according to a study published online May 16 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

Brian D. Stemper, Ph.D., from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues quantified chest compressions resulting from chiropractic thoracic spine manipulations and evaluated the risk for injury. A two-part experimental approach included placing a Hybrid III anthropomorphic dummy in a prone position on a chiropractic table and subjecting it to thoracic spine manipulations by two chiropractors. Chest compressions in the anterior-posterior direction were quantified and typical, and maximum-effort manipulation forces were recorded. The second phase involved positioning the dummy under a force instrumented mechanical piston design. The piston was used to induce compressions similar in magnitude to the ones induced during chiropractic manipulations and sufficient to induce injury.

The investigators found that incorporating the typical chiropractor efforts resulted in a maximum chest compression attaining 1.8 percent of total chest depth, and using maximum chiropractor efforts resulted in a maximum chest compression of 4.5 percent of total chest depth. Maximum chest compressions measured during the study were 22.7 percent of the compression required for a risk of more than 10 percent for AIS 1 level injury (characterized as minor severity and sternum contusion or fracture of a single rib).

"Results from this preliminary study showed that maximum chest compression during thoracic spine manipulation is unlikely to result in patient injuries," the authors write.

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