Author(s): Dvork J, Loustalot D, Baumgartner H, Antinnes JA
Abstract Share this page
Abstract A survey of all members of the Swiss Medical Association of Manual Medicine was undertaken for the year 1989. Informative data were given by 425 respondents on the frequency of complications of manipulation as related to the spine. The number of thoraco-lumbar manipulations during 1989 (225 working days) was 805 for each respondent, and the number manipulations of the cervical spine 354. Thus, the total number of thoraco-lumbar manipulations was 342125, and the total number of cervical manipulations was 150450. The overall incidence of side-effects of transient complications due to cervical spine manipulation such as disturbance of consciousness or radicular signs was 1:16716. Seventeen patients (ratio 1:20125) after manipulation of the lumbar spine presented, in addition to increased pain, a transient sensorimotor deficit with precise radicular distribution. Nine of the 17 patients (ratio 1:38013) developed a progressive radicular syndrome with sensorimotor defict and radiologically verified disc herniation and had to be referred for surgery. Side effects and com- plications of cervical and lumbar spine manipulation are rare. Taking in to account the yearly number of manipulations performed by a single physician in Switzerland and the rate of complications, it can be calculated that a physician practicing manual medicine will encoutner one complication due to manipulation of the cervical spine in 47 years and one complication due to lumbar spine manipulation in 38 years of practice. However, it is important that a careful clinical assessment is carried out to avoid complications due to manipulation carried out on the basis of inappropriate indications. Furthermore, the decision as to which technique is indicated for any particular functional disorder of the spine should be made on the basis of rational criteria resting on a knowledge of clinical biomechanics, functional anatomy and neurophysiology. The authors recommend a prospective morbidity study to be carried out among physicians, chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists, taking into account the different indications and therapeutic techniques in relation to complications.
This article was published in Eur Spine J
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports