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Lower Rates of Injury from Chiropractic Care in Older Adults

Lower Rates of Injury from Chiropractic Care in Older Adults

For older Medicare beneficiaries with a neuromusculoskeletal complaint, the risk of injury is lower after an office visit for chiropractic spinal manipulation versus evaluation by a primary care physician, according to a study published in the Feb. 15, 2015 issue of Spine.

James M. Whedon, D.C., from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues analyzed Medicare administrative data on Medicare B beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with a neuromusculoskeletal complaint. The authors assessed the risk of injury within seven days for those treated by chiropractic spinal manipulation versus those assessed by a primary care physician.

The researchers found that the adjusted risk of injury was lower in the chiropractic versus the primary care cohort (hazard ratio, 0.24). The cumulative probability of injury was 40 versus 153 injury incidents per 100,000 subjects in the chiropractic and primary care cohorts, respectively. Chronic coagulation defect, inflammatory spondylopathy, osteoporosis, aortic aneurysm and dissection, or long-term use of anticoagulant therapy were associated with increased likelihood of injury among those who saw a chiropractic physician.

"Among Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with an office visit for a neuromusculoskeletal problem, risk of injury to the head, neck, or trunk within seven days was 76 percent lower among subjects with a chiropractic office visit than among those who saw a primary care physician," the authors write.

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