Chiropractic Manipulation and the Risk of Stroke
Experienced Louisville Medical Malpractice Lawyer: (502) 242-8877
Chiropractic patients should be aware that there is scientific data indicating an increased risk of stroke with spinal manipulation. A stroke can occur, even in an otherwise-healthy person, when a chiropractic neck adjustment ruptures an artery leading to the brain.
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation or neck cracking to realign the vertebrae and nerves and spinal cord to reduce pain and restore range of motion. While research on spinal manipulation is varied and inconclusive, neck adjustments may benefit some patients experiencing neck and back pain as an alternative to prescription and over-the-counter medications, surgeries and extensive physical therapy treatments. However,evidence indicates that some chiropractic patients have suffered strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) after receiving a neck manipulation.
In adjusting or cracking a patient’s neck, a chiropractor can occasionally cause the vertebral artery to tear or rupture. If the lining of the artery is dissected, a blood clot can form over the damaged area. The clot may break loose and travel to the brain or block the flow of blood to the brain. This can result in a stroke. Some of the warning signs of a stroke can be:
- Arm or leg weakness, especially on one side of the body
- Slurred speech
- Facial numbness, especially on one side of the face
- Difficulty with balance
- Vision disturbances
The occurrences of strokes as the result of neck manipulation appear to be fairly low; however, the risks and complications associated with chiropractic care are not well documented because of a lack of scientific studies in the field. It appears patients using chiropractors may want to be wary of chiropractors using “high velocity” or “high thrust” neck manipulation techniques, as these seem to be more likely to cause tears in the vertebral artery.
If you believe that you or a loved one suffered a stroke due to a chiropractic adjustment or neck cracking, you may want to contact a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney that can analyze and determine the merits of your case. Brett H. Oppenheimer, a lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky can help you with this process. You can call Brett at (502) 242-8877.