Have you ever heard that going to the Chiropractor can cause strokes? For many years, there have been off-and-on smear campaigns launched by various groups who allege that adjustments of the neck are dangerous and can cause strokes. In theory, if a stroke has already begun, just about anything can cause it to go full blown. Backing your car out of the driveway, stretching, doing overhead work, even tying your shoelaces could be the final thread that causes a devastating clot to burst loose. So yes, once in a while people have strokes after seeing the Chiropractor. Here is what you might not know. The chances of that happening are exactly the same as having a stroke right after seeing your family/medical doctor. Now, in your typical MD visit, they don’t crank around on your neck, do they?
The evidence suggests that this relationship is not causal, but coincidence. When a person starts to have a stroke, they don’t always get the classic symptoms (facial droop, arm weakness, speech impairment), but they often have pain, and when there is pain, it is common to see either the MD or the Chiropractor. If the oncoming stroke is not properly identified, they leave the office with the typical Chiropractic adjustment or script for pain relief medication, respectively. Minutes or hours later, the stroke that was about to happen anyway comes to full fruition. Paramedics, ER doctors, and lawyers have sometimes been quick to blame the chiropractor. However, when studying the anatomy of the arteries in the neck, the average Chiropractic adjustment does not stress these arteries more than any other routine motions of daily life.
A team of Neurologists through Johns Hopkins University released a study earlier this year that compiled all this data and came to the conclusion that there is no scientific evidence to link Chiropractic care as a cause for stroke. This is important because none of the doctors involved have any personal or financial vested interest in protecting the Chiropractic profession. They had nothing to gain from this conclusion. Here is the citation.
Church E W, Sieg E P, Zalatimo O, et al. (February 16, 2016) Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Chiropractic Care and Cervical Artery Dissection: No Evidence for Causation. Cureus 8(2): e498. DOI 10.7759/cureus.498