(HealthDay News) – Adverse events are common after chiropractic care, but seem to be due to non-specific effects and are mostly benign, according to a study published in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.

Bruce F. Walker, DC, DrPH, from Murdoch University in Australia, and colleagues examined the occurrence of adverse events resulting from chiropractic treatment. Ninety-two participants were randomized to receive individualized care consistent with the chiropractors’ usual treatment approach and 91 participants received a sham intervention. All participants received two treatments.

The researchers found that 33% of the sham group and 42% of the usual care group reported at least one adverse event. Common reported adverse events included increased pain (sham 29% vs. usual care 36%), muscle stiffness (sham 29% vs. usual care 37%), and headache (sham 17% vs. usual care 9%). There were no serious adverse events reported and there was not significant relative risk (RR) for adverse event occurrence (RR, 1.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85–1.81), occurrence of severe adverse events (RR, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.98–3.99), adverse event onset (RR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.02–1.34), or adverse event duration (RR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.59–2.18).

“A substantial proportion of adverse events after chiropractic treatment may result from natural history variation and non-specific effects,” the authors write.

Funds from the Chiropractors Registration Board of Victoria were used to support this study.

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