Aggressive Chiropractic Maneuvers Causes Extensive Neurological Damage

This case involves a nurse who sustained a work related neck injury that was isolated to the C5-C6 area of her spine, which later worsened, allegedly due to a physical therapist. After her injury, the patient went to a physical therapist that manipulated her neck with various maneuvers that made the condition worse. The patient developed signs and symptoms suggestive of a bulging disc. She subsequently required several surgeries to repair the neurological damage.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Is this a known complication of the procedure?

Expert Witness Response E-005890

Physical therapists are not trained to do chiropractic manipulation. If they have been trained in manual therapy, however, then they might be qualified to perform some procedures that involve what is commonly referred to as “manipulation.” Manual therapy, when performed properly, is easily distinguishable from chiropractic manipulation. One of the more obvious features of chiropractic adjustments is a “high velocity, low amplitude thrust,” whereas manual therapy is a slow and gentle procedure. Chiropractic therapy is specific to a precise osseous joint where manual therapy is directed toward a muscle group. In short, if this is a case of the physical therapist stepping in and giving an adjustment, then it is not only negligent but it is practicing chiropractics without a license.

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