A stroke can cause severe disability or even death. Most people don’t realize that strokes can be caused by negligent chiropractic manipulation. Rapid or powerful manipulation of the neck can cause dissections or tears in the carotid, vertebral or basilar artery. These dissections can cause a clot to form. When the clot becomes large enough it prevents blood from reaching portions of the brain causing a stroke. Sometimes the effects our immediate, other times the symptoms start slowly and progress. While the reported incidence is unknown some studies show that 20% of basilar strokes have been linked to chiropractic manipulation.
Chiropractors are well aware of the risk and should not undertake chiropractic manipulation of the neck without fully informing the patient of the risk. Moreover, certain diagnostic studies should be performed before a chiropractor performs vigorous manipulation of the head or neck. Before allowing a chiropractor to manipulate your neck consider the risk and make sure that all forceful sudden movements of the head neck are avoided.
If neurologic symptoms develop such as numbness, tingling, facial droop, or difficulty speaking, go immediately to the closest emergency room.