In comparison to allopathic medicine, which uses drugs and surgery as an integral part of treatment, chiropractic presents far less risk. Consider, for example, that in the United States an estimated 140,000 people die each year from drug-related reactions. And the risk of death due to gastrointestinal complications from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen is 400 times greater that the complication rate for people who receive cervical manipulation, while the mortality rate for people who undergo cervical spine surgery is 7,000 times higher.
Human error is another factor that tilts the safety balance in chiropractic’s favor. In the United States, it is estimated that up to 98,000 Americans die yearly from medical errors — a doctor accidentally making the wrong incision, a nurse administering the wrong medication, and so on.
But with all forms of treatment, whether allopathic or alternative, any risks, however slight, should not be ignored. While the methods used by chiropractors have proven to be safe in almost all cases, it is a constant concern for chiropractors to evaluate their patients to determine if treatment will cause an adverse reaction.