According to the recently published Medline Plus article, August 7, 2014, Could Chiropractic Manipulation of Your Neck Trigger A Stroke?, Dr. Jose Biller, chair of neurology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, stated, We strongly believe that patients should be informed of this association before undergoing neck manipulation.”
OK, So I have been a chiropractor for almost 20 years, I know about 50 chiropractors personally. Have worked with a half dozen or so. I have done thousands of neck adjustments and I taught and evaluated technique at a major Chiropractic College so I feel I know a thing or two about adjustments. So if you figure in all those adjustments I figure that HAS to be way over 1,000,000 adjustments to the neck, and yet I have never heard of one incident.*
Every month or so someone will come to me and tell me that their friend’s father’s neighbor’s uncle had a stroke from a chiropractor. Seriously??. This happens at least once a month. Never is it the person I have spoken to or someone they directly KNOW. It got me to thinking, so I looked up everything I could about strokes, CVAs, dissections, etc on the web. Lots of passionate info on the ‘evil’ chiropractic adjustment. Not one MRI, CT, Coroner’s report, or other documentation. It seems that with that kind of problem there would at least be something… NOPE.
So, if you are reading this and HAVE info, please send it to me. I would be a great supporter of change to chiropractic and neck manipulations… But keep this in mind.
Even if they do happen (I believe they can and do occur, but not at a ‘significant’ rate to muster an outcry). I do also believe. Now (* see above) an ‘incident’ would be something serious. The stroke, Cerebro-vascular accident, carotid or vertebral artery dissection, even a hematoma would be significant. However, sometimes people do suffer pain, stiffness, achy-ness, dizziness, lightheaded-ness after an adjustment. That, in my experience, is also rather rare.
Let’s look at this another way. An anesthesiologist’s mal-practice insurance is almost as much as I can make in a year. (around $60,000, go ahead, look it up.) and like car insurance, the rates go up with more risk. Ever insure a kid? A General Practitioner’s (your average family care MD) insurance is about $8,000.00 a year. Now get this… for me, my insurance is about as much as you would pay for liability on a 1998 Nissan minivan. Yup, just over $1,000.00 THAT is a YEAR. for the same limits as the GP (MD). So do the math. The insurance company does not love chiropractic more or less than any other profession, nor do they give any discounts to make it lower than the insurance for an MD. It’s all about that math…
OK, so our insurance is low, really low. That should be an indicator of risk. I can find no police reports, coroner’s reports, mal-practice claims that discuss stroke either. (SEND ME ONE IF YOU HAVE IT) Seems those that are up in arms about this would have some hard documentation. Although there is what seems to be a valid case from Canada, but that was years ago. ( If it is true, it still is a very tragic and terrible thing to have happened…)
In summary, I think I am a good person, vigilant about my art and science of chiropractic, I love and care for people and would NEVER do anything that I would think could harm my fellows. I would tend to believe I am a rather average personality in chiropractic and not over cautious or over zealous, neither are any of the 50+ I know and have worked with.
I would imagine that if anyone had a stroke it would be all over the news, right? It is such a rare event I would think it would get a lot of press. Nothing… Try looking it up.
Let me know if you know something I don’t. Send me the documentation. I really want to know. Of course we would need to change some protocols if it is a fact that CHIROPRACTORS giving CHIROPRACTIC adjustments are doing this. We can change, we definitely would change. We love our patients and have not only taken an oath to help but also sincerely care for our patients.
I would take out cases done by Osteopaths, Massage Therapists, Friends, That ‘guy’ at the gym, Trainers, Hair stylists, MMA fighters, any one that is drunk, Martial Arts teachers, Acupuncturists, Physical Therapists and the whole shebang that THINK they can do a chiropractic adjustment. Not the same technique nor the same forces involved in the same vectors etc. (I can go over that another time.)
So here is my stand. Yes they (strokes) can happen from a chiropractic adjustment. Yes, that is tragic, an accident, largely unforeseeable. Preventable? Mostly. There is ALWAYS an exception to the rule, unfortunately. From negligence? mostly no. Does there have to be legislation? no, go after something big first, something that is really causing problems with the public in real significant numbers like prescription anti-depressants or pain killers and suicides.
Am I going to change how I work? no. I am tedious in checking patients, I treat each one gently. My technique is solid and I am confident not harmful. Should there be studies? Yes, you betcha. However you might find out they are more helpful than you feared, tread lightly, and do good scientific study.