Acute fracture of posterior lateral fifth rib from chiropractic adjustment

Felt sharp chest pain after adjustment from chiropractor, and told him it hurt bad. He stopped the adjustments, and continued treatment on lower spine with heat and electric stim.

Pain significantly increased at home within the next few days, so went to urgent care for an X-ray, and was told that my rib is fractured and slightly displaced. it should take about 8 weeks to heal.

I'm a 54 year old female.

My sincere apologies for missing your letter.

I'm afraid that an occasional rib fracture is to the chiropractic profession what a broken root is to a dentist, and an allergic reaction to penicillin is to a medical doctor. It happens, and it has happened to eight of my patients in 38 years, and I think I'm careful.

I doubt if there's a chiropractor who's been in practice for ten years to whom this hasn't happened; it doesn't justify it, nor help your pain but despite the utmost care it does continue to occur.

I hope he ate humble pie, sent you flowers and continued to manage the problem once the bone healed for no charge; along with the fracture, sometimes the costosternal or costotransverse joint is affected.

Physical manipulation of the rib is the most effective treatment of a rib subluxation, and thousands benefit for every cracked or fractured rib. It's not a reason to stop the technique, but should make all chiropractors stop and reflect; first do no harm.

One last thought, it invites questions about the strength of your bones; I would recommend a bone scan, and perhaps some good may come of this misery that you went through; it could be a warning that your hip will be next if you are osteopaenic.

The best calcium for osteoporosis definitely comes from your food, not from a supplement; the latter raise the risk of heart disease. And if you are not active then the calcium isn't taken up, but deposited in the wrong places. Every woman should take a walk every day.

If you want to pursue this subject, then look at the osteoporosis page at

I hope your rib healed, and I'm sorry you had to go through this.

Dr B

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Physical Therapists providing a Chiropractic adjustment?

Many insurance companies now only pay for physical therapists to provide a chiropractic adjustment; that's in the face of powerful research proving that inclusion of DCs to perform their own technique would save them a good deal of money. One has to conclude that political medicine has gone off on another tack to contain our profession.

It's being successful with some doctors of chiropractic quitting. Others become involved in some dodgy practices, like demanding that patients sign up for a whole year of treatment in advance, in order to stay in business.

In recessionary times, the going is tough when the insurance won't pay.

Is the day approaching for a new Wilk versus the AMA and the insurance companies?

The chiropractic profession has tried hard to stay on the moral high ground; those who stoop to unscrupulous practices need to be exposed and disciplined if we are not to stoop to the low blows that medicine has often resorted to contain and eliminate us.

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