Posted on 11-13-2013
Why Sore After First Adjustment?
Good morning North State!
A recent study published on September 15, 2013, in the scientific medical journal Spine, looks at the slight incidence of mild pain that occurs in a small percentage of people who have a first adjustment. The study is titled, "Outcomes of Usual Chiropractic. The OUCH Randomized Controlled Trial of Adverse Events."
The stated purpose of the study was to, "Establish the frequency and severity of adverse effects from short-term usual chiropractic treatment of the spine when compared with a sham treatment group." In essence the study was trying to determine if chiropractic adjustments caused pain when care is initiated.
The authors point out that prior studies have looked at adverse effects after chiropractic adjustments but none of these studies have looked at comparing real adjustments to "sham" or fake adjustments. This allowed the researchers to determine if an adverse reaction was just due to the patient getting worse normally, or if the adjustments may have created an increase in pain.
The results of the study confirmed what other studies have shown in that adverse reactions are both rare and mild after chiropractic adjustments. However, this study also showed that an almost equal number of patients who received the sham adjustments also experienced mild adverse reactions.
The researchers showed that there was a slight increased in pain in 36% of those who received a chiropractic adjustment. However, 29% of those who got the sham adjustment also reported mild increase in pain. This meant that only 7% experienced an increase in pain due to the adjustment. Similarly, 29% of those who had a sham adjustment felt an increase in muscle stiffness, compared to 37% of those who got a real adjustment. With headaches, 17% of those who got a fake adjustment claimed to have a headache compared with 9% of those who had the real adjustment.
Because of the sham adjustments also causing mild adverse effects the researchers theorized, "A substantial proportion of adverse events experienced during chiropractic care for spinal pain may be the result of natural symptom fluctuation or from nonspecific effects." They also noted that their results showed that, "No serious adverse events were reported."
Dr. Robert Braile, a chiropractor, past president of the International Chiropractors Association and the Georgia Council of Chiropractic, who was not affiliated with the research commented, "It is important to remember that after a chiropractic adjustment, the nervous system should be functioning better. This means that it can accurately give feedback to the brain about body parts. If a part of the patient's body was not experiencing pain because the signals were blocked by subluxation, then removal of those subluxations will allow the pain signals to be transmitted to the brain. Although this is a rare occurrence, this is not a bad thing, but actually a positive step in healing."
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