Chiropractic Cervical Manipulation, If Done Wrong, Can Be Deadly | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Each year in the U.S., 22 million patients are treated by Doctors of Chiropractic,more commonly called chiropractors, or “chiropractic physicians” in some states. It is estimated that there are 52,000 chiropractors currently performing such treatment.  The average chiropractor in private practice performs as many as 50-100 manual vertebral manipulations a day, at a cost of $25 to $40 each.

The goal of chiropractic is the diagnosis and correction by manual spinal manipulation or adjustment of a chiropractic condition called “vertebral subluxation.”  Although most chiropractors claim they perform thousands of cervical manipulations annually without any serious complications, malpractice suits have been successfully brought against chiropractors for injuries sustained as a result of improper manipulative technique and/or performance of spinal manipulation where it is contraindicated.  Patient injuries can range from headaches and post-treatment soreness to permanent complications of stroke, including left or right side paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder function,  vertebral fracture; disc herniation; rib fracture; and other serious neurologic syndromes.

According to chiropractic experts, neurologists and emergency medicine experts, inexperienced, or poorly trained chiropractors have performed the cervical manipulation in a disproportionate number of cases where serious injuries have occurred.