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CJEM. 2018 Mar;20(2):307-312. doi: 10.1017/cem.2017.19. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Back pain in the emergency department: Pathological fracture following spinal manipulation.

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*Division of Emergency Medicine,McMaster University,Hamilton,ON.
†Department of Emergency Medicine,University of Calgary,Calgary,AB.


Back pain is one of the most common presentations to the emergency department. Though case reports of patients presenting with increased back pain following chiropractic spinal manipulations are rare, we have identified a case rarely reported in the literature where a potential injury from chiropractic manipulation resulted in a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. We have reported a previously healthy 66-year-old male who presented with persistent lower back pain over 4 weeks. An initial evaluation with thoracolumbar radiographs revealed no significant findings. Following initial presentation to the family physician, the patient underwent three treatments of spinal manipulation from his local chiropractor, which resulted in worsening lower back pain. A re-examination and new radiographs in the hospital revealed multiple compression fractures and an underlying diagnosis of multiple myeloma. We have explored current literature examining the prevalence of lower back pain, as well as the incidence of spinal fracture following chiropractic manipulation, and have highlighted a potential complication from chiropractic manipulation in a patient with an undiagnosed underlying neoplastic disorder.


back pain; chiropractic spinal manipulation; fracture; multiple myeloma

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