Chiropractic and the risk of chest injury

Dynamic chest compression occurs during spinal manipulation.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, analyzed the magnitude of chest compressions during chiropractic manipulation.

First, the details.

  • Part 1: A crash dummy was used to measure chest compression during “normal” chiropractic manipulation and spinal manipulations with maximum effort at the midback (T7 to T8 vertebrae).
  • Part 2: A mechanical device was used to apply and measure the forces necessary to induce chest compression in the test dummy.
    • These forces were increased until injurious levels of force were reached.
  • The likelihood of injury was assessed and classified using the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) — a classification system correlated to injury thresholds.

And, the results.

  • Manipulations using typical and maximum efforts resulted in maximum chest compressions corresponding to minimal risk of minor (AIS 1 level) injuries.

The bottom line?

Interesting and reassuring.

A PubMed search revealed no similar studies.

5/18/11 19:53 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.