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Insurance Rates Reflect Relative Risk 

If you're a bad driver, you pay more for auto insurance. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, they are betting on you. If you are a safe driver and you get few tickets and are involved in very few accidents, you are a safe bet for the insurance company and your insurance payments are lower than someone who is a reckless driver. Careless or inattentive drivers pay more for their insurance because they are more likely to hurt themselves or someone else and cost the insurance company money.

The same concept is true for doctors and paying their malpractice insurance. If the numbers show that one kind of doctor is more likely to hurt someone than another kind of doctor, the doctor that is more likely to hurt someone will have to pay more for their malpractice insurance. While other primary care physicians (M.D./ D.O.) pay approximately $72, 000 to $100,000 per year for malpractice coverage, chiropractors generally pay $1000 to $5000 for similar coverage.  Chiropractic care is very safe indeed according to insurance companies. 

Adverse reactions to medications can be as high as 30% while the chance of serious complications due to spinal adjustments (performed by a chiropractor) is between 0.00001% and 0.00003%.

Putting Neck Pain treatment Risks into Perspective

Does Chiropractic Care Increase the Risk of Vertebrobasilar Stroke?

In the most definitive study on this topic, authors looked at 818 people in a claims database to determine whether neck extension and rotation during chiropractic care increases the risk of VBA dissection and stroke. The authors found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic care compared to primary care. - Church E W, Sieg E P, Zalatimo O, et al. (February 16, 2016) Systematic Review and Metaanalysis of Chiropractic Care and Cervical Artery Dissection: No Evidence for Causation. Cureus 8(2): e498. DOI 10.7759/cureus.498. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27014532 

Neck manipulation is a remarkably safe procedure. While some reports have associated upper high-velocity neck manipulation with a certain kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection, the best evidence suggests that this type of arterial injury often takes place spontaneously, or following everyday activities such as turning the head while driving, swimming, or having a shampoo in a hair salon. Patients with this condition may experience neck pain and headache that leads them to seek care at the office of a doctor of chiropractic or family physician, but that care is not the cause of the injury. The evidence indicates that the incidence of artery injuries associated with high-velocity upper neck manipulation is extremely rare – about 1 case in 5.85 million manipulations.

It is important for patients to understand the risks associated with some of the most common treatments for neck and back pain, such as prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) as these options carry risks significantly greater than those of manipulation. According to a study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology, approximately one-third of all hospitalizations and deaths related to gastrointestinal bleeding can be attributed to the use of aspirin or NSAID painkillers like ibuprofen.

Furthermore, surgery for conditions for which manipulation may also be used carries risks many times greater than those of chiropractic treatment.

Even prolonged bed rest carries some risks, including muscle atrophy, cardiopulmonary de-conditioning, bone mineral loss and thromoembolism.

Cassidy D, et al. Risk of Vertebrobasilar Stroke and Chiropractic Care. Spine 2008; 33:S176–S183.

Haldeman S, et al. Arterial dissection following cervical manipulation: a chiropractic experience. Can Med Assoc J 2001;165(7):905-06.

Public awareness is steadily increasing over the realities of risks relating to medical care. The assumptions over relative safety of conventional medical practices are challenged by the mounting statistics on morbidity and mortality relating to medical errors, fatal drug interactions, overuse and misuse of prescription medication, unnecessary surgery, hospital deaths, and other tragic experiences. The numbers are astounding, and while individual statistics may vary between different reports and different official agency sources including health research libraries and the National Institutes of Health, the nature of the data and the magnitude of the problem is increasingly acknowledged.

There have been a number of landmark reports and commentaries clarifying the safety of chiropractic care and describing the genuine risks of complications from medical interventions. Some resources present the accumulating data on the dangers of medical procedures and others illustrate the patterns of misrepresentation and exaggeration presented through mainstream medicine and the media in reporting and representing chiropractic care.

- 1.5 million people will be hospitalized annually because of iatrogenic (physician caused) reactions, and 100,000 will die,
- 1,000 people will die this week from complications of a surgery that was unnecessary,
- 1,600 children will die this year from allergic reactions to aspirin, and,
- thousands of people will die this year from anaphylactic reactions to prescribed drugs.
- "Safe health care: Are we up to it?" (Leape LL, Berwick DM; March 2000 edition of the British Medical Journal) and in "How your hospital could kill you", (Gerlin A; Readers Digest 2000) 

- The risk of stroke caused by birth control pills is one in 24,000. This means the birth control pill is from 16 to 240 times more dangerous than chiropractic neck manipulation.
- One out of every 145 cervical neck surgery procedures end in death.

- In a study of 1,000 workers' compensation patients who received lumbar fusions, 71 percent of single-operation patients had not returned to work four years after their operation, and 95 percent of multiple-operation patients had not returned to work. They remain disabled. - chiropracticissafe.org

Bottom line, chiropractic is the safest form of any healthcare delivery system