Informed Consent to Chiropractic Treatment

The Nature of Chiropractic Examination and Treatment: The doctor will perform a physical examination. X-rays may be taken to evaluate your condition. The doctor will use his/her hands or a mechanical device in order to move your joints. You may feel a “click” or “pop” similar to the noise produced when a knuckle is “cracked,” and you may feel movement of the joint. Various ancillary procedures, such as hot or cold packs, electric muscle stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, or traction may also be used. Exercises may be recommended.

Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment: Many or most patients will feel improvement in motion, decreased muscle and joint pain, and improved well-being after a series a chiropractic adjustments.

Possible Risks: As with any health care procedure, complications are possible following chiropractic treatment. Complications could conceivably include muscular strain, ligamentous sprain, dislocations of joints, fracture of bone, or injury to intervertebral discs, nerves, or spinal cord. A minority of patients may notice stiffness or soreness after the first few days of treatment. The ancillary procedures could produce skin irritation, burns, or other minor complications. X-rays produce ionizing radiation. There are reported cases of stroke associated with visits to medical doctors and chiropractors. The best quality scientific evidence does not establish a cause and effect relationship between chiropractic treatment and the occurrence of stroke; rather, it indicates that patients may be consulting medical doctors and/or chiropractors for symptoms of headache and neck pain when they are in the early stages of a stroke. The possibility of such injuries occurring in association with chiropractic treatment is extremely remote.

Probability of Risks Occurring: The risks of complications due to chiropractic treatment have been described as “rare” to “extremely rare”.

Other Treatment Options which could be considered may include the following:

  1. Over-the-counter analgesics. The risks of these medications include irritation to the stomach, liver, and kidneys, increased cardiovascular risk, and other side effects in a significant number of cases.
  2. Medical care, typically anti-inflammatory drugs, tranquilizers, and analgesics. Risks of these prescription drugs include all side effects as above, plus patient dependence in a significant number of cases.
  3. Hospitalization in conjunction with medical care adds additional risk of exposure to medical error, infection, and other complications in a significant number of cases.
  4. Surgery in conjunction with medical care adds the risks of adverse reaction to anesthesia, as well as an extended convalescent period in a significant number of cases.

Risks of Remaining Untreated: Delay of treatment allows formation of adhesions, scar tissue, and other degenerative changes. These changes can further reduce skeletal mobility, and induce chronic pain cycles. It is quite probable that delay of treatment will complicate the condition and make future rehabilitation more difficult.

Unusual Risks: I have had the following unusual risks of my case explained to me:

I have read the above explanation of chiropractic treatment. I have had the opportunity to have any questions answered to my satisfaction. I have fully evaluated the risks and benefits of undergoing treatment. I have freely decided to undergo the recommended treatment, and hereby give my full consent to treatment. This informed consent will remain in effect unless there are significant changes in my diagnosis. I have the right to withdraw my consent at any time, upon written notice. I have the right to refuse treatment at any time.

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