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Stroke and Chiropractors

Updated on January 28, 2013

Do you know someone or have you had a Stroke after visiting a Chiropractor?

In the early morning hours of a cold day in November of last year, I woke up to use the bathroom and promptly fell to the floor, waking my wife. Several hours later, doctors were explaining details of the stroke I had in my sleep.

I could not speak or move anything on the right half of my body and I was very frustrated because no one could tell me what caused the brain attack or what to expect for the future. I was not in the best shape in the world but, still, I didn't expect this at the age of 42.

It is almost a year later and I am very fortunate to have had a remarkable recovery. I can speak and get around fairly well and, if someone didn't tell, you would probably have a hard time knowing that there was anything wrong with me.

I am very thankful to God that, with a lot of hard work and some very good doctors and therapists, I am able to live at the level I do-- going back to work and doing most everything I did before, albeit not as well as I did.

I did a lot of research on my condition during my recovery and, in the Spring, stumbled upon a study claiming that people, under the age of 50, that had been receiving chiropractic treatment, specifically neck adjustments, were 8-10 times more likely to have a stroke.

I had been visiting the chiropractor for several months for upper back and neck pain and had a neck adjustment a few days before my event. Could this have had something to do with my stroke? Is that why, after hearing of my condition, I never heard from that doctor's office again?

The purpose of this lens is two-fold.

To collect information from other stroke survivors that had been receiving similar treatment and offer support and understanding to each other and...

To inform individuals considering chiropractic treatment of the possible consequences of some of the procedures.

If you are one of those people or know one, please look into this information and sign our guestbook.

Thanks.

Jill Bolte Taylor: a brain doctor that had a stroke.

My Stroke of Insight - A brain doctor's experience with her own stroke recovery.

Trick or Treatment

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine

The author of this book is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association for his views on Alternative Medicine.

 

Books on Stroke and Stroke Recovery

More Chiropractic Stroke Information on YouTube

How Can You Help Prevent Chiropractic Stroke?

From the good Dr. SJ at Chiropractic is Quackery

How you can help fight Chiropractic Quackery?

Together, we can spread the word!

#1 -- Email this lens to a friend, vote on this lens, or leave comments in our guestbook (below).

#2 -- Post VIDEOS on Youtube.

Until recently, Youtube was totally overrun with chiropractic quackery. This gave a false sense of legitimacy to pseudoscience and put patients and students at risk.

Please continue to post news segments (if you have permission) about injured chiropractic patients, chiropractic student loan defaults, chiropractors getting arrested for fraud advertising, etc.

And if you have video production skills, consider creating a short video. It can even be just a "slideshow" with research, facts, or links to where consumers can go for more information. If you need links to research to back-up what you say, please email me and I will be glad to help.

Your efforts could help prevent someone getting swindled by a chiropractor or even having a stroke from an unnecessary manipulation. Thanks!

Read These Books... - Before going to a chiropractor!

What do you think?

Can chiropractic treatment contribute to stroke?

What is this?

Vertebrobasilar Stroke Following Manipulation
Vertebrobasilar Stroke Following Manipulation

If chiropractors do not believe that cervical manipulation causes stroke, then why is a book needed to educate them on how to avoid malpractice suits on exactly that?

 

I truly hope this lens can be an open forum to discuss the issue of injury from chiropractic care. Please include your argument-- whether supporting or opposing. All comments posed in a respectful way will be posted.

Stroke Survivor, Chiropractic Patient or Just Enjoyed the Lens? - Please sign the Guestbook!

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    • profile image

      detBits 3 years ago

      @DoctorSJ: Oh shut up, there's a risk with driving a car, people still do it. It's called acceptable risk. Do you think there is zero risk when performing surgery? No! There is a chance of DEATH with surgery. Do not be so naiive because media plays up the issue. Chiro has saved many people unbearable pain.

    • profile image

      AlexDaron 3 years ago

      I suffered a VAD at the hands of a chiropractor at the age of 22.

      The chiropractor did the upper neck adjustment 3 times! Not sure why but for him I guess you keep "adjusting" until you get a pop.

    • AzonShoppers profile image

      AzonShoppers 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @AndrewBlock: ALL and I mean ALL chiropractors are frauds! They claim to use "evidence based medical techniques" which is another fallacy. There's a growing number of chiropractors who claim to use nutrition and dispense herbs and supplements to "cure" a plethora of diseases. Food cures nothing! A good diet is essential for everyone, but claiming that food cures diseases? Oh! GIVE ME A BREAK! Many herbal supplements can be downright dangerous. More dangerous than even some prescription medications. Taking a multivitamin is pretty much the norm for supplemental intake. Coq10 is even recommended by many medical doctors as a good supplement for sustaining heart health. If you want sound medical advice go to an md. Science based medical treatments are the ONLY ones that provide authentic results. Don't be fooled by alarmists like Mike Adams who operates the Natural News website. Adams is a self proclaimed "expert" in the field of "natural cures." The alarming tales he has on his site are virtually all fallacies and downright dangerous to your health. Listen to your MD. Chiropractors like to pretend that they're "men and women of science." Would you go to a fortune teller for your health concerns? it's really no different than going to a chiropractor. They'll both scam you BIG TIME!

    • profile image

      AndrewBlock 4 years ago

      Thank God for chiropractors!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This was an eye opener. Thanks for putting this info out there.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This was an eye opener. Thanks for putting this info out there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am a 33 year old female in good health. I have been adjusted numerous times in the past. October 4th 2012 I had a stroke in the chiropractors office, was ambulanced to ER where I continued to have several small strokes from clots that were released in the cerabellum(? not sure if that's spelled right). MRI/MRA revealed I had a dissection in the back right artery. EVERY Dr I have seen since in the ER as well as internal med Dr. and neurologist have all confirmed it was from the manipulation. I am ok now but will have some small lasting effects with speech and memory for some time, maybe forever. Both arteries have been compromised and Im at high risk for a major stroke if anything happens to my neck like a car accident etc... My advice would be seek chiro maybe for other problems but protect your neck by stengthening muscles with a physical therapist who does not manipulate with that kind of force.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am a 37 yr old female with a 8 yr old and 17 yr old I had a stroke in my chiropractors office july 17th 2012 after a neck manipulation left in an ambulance after being misdiagnosed for 12 hours by the chiropractor ambulance and hospital er I spent 14 days in icu stroke trauma center I am now at a total loss for information nothing i am told about my condition is black and white~! feeling powerless and lost I have always been just a strong independent women.If anything could come of this I hope It is awareness for others oxox

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Skeeeeeetz: I already made a comment but just want'ed to make a statement on this . on all my reports from the stroke trauma center it states trauma induced stroke caused by a tear .NOT a RUPTURE.THE FACT i LEFT THE CHIROPRACTOR IN A AMBULANCE is proof enough

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 5 years ago

      @anonymous: So Dean... Are you a chiropractor? I see no other reason for you to accuse me of lying.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Interesting information. Hope your recovery continues.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am sorry for your condition, but this absolutely a lie

    • AgingIntoDisabi profile image

      AgingIntoDisabi 5 years ago

      Chiropractic has always helped me so I never considered it could cause a stroke. A lot to think about.

    • profile image

      restandrelaxbodywork 5 years ago

      Great post On Chiropractor Stroke. Very informative lens.

    • ChiroAustin profile image

      ChiroAustin 5 years ago

      As a Chiropractor I want to thank you for providing a forum of discussion for such a hot topic. It is terribly unfortunate what you went through and I am happy to hear about your recovery. You have done a lot of research and if you are open to it, I'd like to share some of my knowledge with you. Most of the time it comes down to patient education and the Doctor being able to properly recognize the signs of stroke, it's been proved that Chiropractors are not causing strokes, rather they have mismanaged the instances when patients have presented with a stroke. That's a human error, not a Chiropractic error. This is from an article on my page:

      "This scientific study shows that past assumptions attempting to relate chiropractic care with certain types of strokes were not due to the care, but rather to the fact that the people who went to chiropractors and medical doctors with certain types of problems were slightly more likely to suffer this type of problem anyway. Dr. Silver explained, "The association occurs because patients tend to seek care when they're having neck pain or headache, and sometimes they go to a chiropractor, sometimes they go to a physician. But we didn't see an increased likelihood of them having this type of stroke after seeing a chiropractor."

      ( http://www.squidoo.com/LifeChiropractic) will give you more info.

      Looking forward to discussing this with you further.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      No one should have a stroke at any time whether using Chiropractors or not. That is if you follow the advice of Dr.Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. See his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease also see The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for doing this! I had been going to my chiropractor for over 10 years when a neck manipulation caused my stroke. I have met many people since this happened who have had a similar situation, More people need to be aware of this!

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. I hope you have continued to be living a life of recovery. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great hub. This is super complete list with all the modules. Will give everyone the ideas about this topic. Thanks for sharing!

      chiropractor north sydney

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Alan

      Please all you Chiros trying to defend a practice that has no basis in anything other than in your minds, sublexation is a theory never proven to do anything, placebo effect is as high as 60%, you could hit ur victims in the head with a bag o crap and cure them. If you wanted to be a real health care provider should have went to MD school, but I bet you tired that. I have never met a person that stated they wanted to grow up and be a chiro and I have never heard of anyone not being admitted to chiro schools. On top of that, when you look at chiro bios, most are hacks that went to little know colleges and might have graduated, then after boucing around at various jobs decided on chiro school or should i say 'learn how to bill medicare/caid school'. Chiros stick to your fring pseudo science and sleep in the bed u made.

    • profile image

      chiropractorsalary 6 years ago

      This is very good information, but you didn't write nothing about chiropractor salary. For more information about chiropractor salary visit site

      chiropractor salary

    • profile image

      claim22 6 years ago

      Because of the complicated issues surrounding making a compensation claim against a chiropractor, solicitors have to be able to provide their clients with accurate Chiropractor Solicitor

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you, Julie. Be well and please forward this lens to anyone that you find that may be interested in the information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Skeeeeeetz: I've been finding much relief so far. Hopefully I will become pain-free. I do think that chiropractic care is not for everyone or for every back pain condition, but for me the benefits outweighted the potential risks. I don't think that there is anything wrong with informing the public about the risks and to push for chiropractors to admit that they do exist. The risks are not going to stop someone from seeing a chiropractor if they are on the verge of suicide because of the pain. Besides you can always tell your chiropractor not to do the cervical neck adjustment. Chiropractors, just think of it this way, you get paid the same amount for doing less work, how can you possibly complain about that? I wouldn't. Anyway, thanks Skeeeeeetz for indulging my curiosity, and you take care.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 7 years ago

      @anonymous: You're not bothering me at all. I created this lens so I could have discussions like this and inform people of the risks... There are several things that kept me from filing a lawsuit but the bottom line was there wasn't a very good chance that I would win. Although the phone call made me suspect something wasn't quite right, I was more concerned with my recovery than trying to place blame and it was several months before putting the two things together. By then, (months later) much of the evidence of the conditions that may have caused the stroke were changed. (We weren't looking for evidence that a neck adjustment could have caused it so doctors never gave me a reason...) Laws governing Chiropractic care is different in each state so I really had nothing that I could produce as evidence of malpractice.

      I really hope you find relief for your pain. This may sound very odd coming from me but, if the chiropractic adjustments are helping, I would stick with it. I swore by the treatment before I was injured and I do see the merit in the practice but think that the chiropractic community should be responsible, concede that there are risks and inform their patients about them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Skeeeeeetz: Did you sue? I think that I had to sign a waiver saying that I understood the risks of treatment--although I'm not too certain as the pain was screwing with my memory function... Either way, I agree that you should have been made aware of the risks envolved. Sorry if I'm bothering you, I've seen your posts on yahoo! answers when searching for back pain ideas and I got curious about your situation. It must have been a terrifying.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 7 years ago

      @anonymous: I should elaborate... I herniated two discs 15-years ago, or so and have problems with pain in my back and lower extremities but nothing very severe again (to warrant any treatment) until I started visits to the chiropractor a year-and-a-half before the stroke. There was three treatments per week for the first six-weeks and then we backed off to twice a week or once a week depending on schedules and the degree of pain. There were even periods when I would skip visits for a week or so...

      Interesting story... When I didn't see the chiropractor for a week or more, I could always expect a call from his office asking how I was and if I needed to make an appointment. Well, my stroke left me in the hospital for a couple of weeks and when I got home I received the call and explained-- in my slurred effected speech-- that I had suffered a stroke and wouldn't be in for treatment as I needed extensive physical therapy treatments daily. I thought the person on the phone was very rude to hang up on me so quickly, only to find out later that there was some correlation between chiropractic treatment and stroke in young people.

      But to get back to your comment... I agree that ethical chiropractors would not continue treatment that extensively. That however is a good example of the whole point to this lens-- an ethical chiropractor should also have no problem disclosing to patients that there is a very slight risk of severe injury as a result of the treatment they perform.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Skeeeeeetz: "three-times a week for a year and a half"

      That is really excessive... If you don't mind me asking what where you seeing him for? No ethical chiropractor is going to have you in his care that much for that long. My body and spine was so twisted from a car accident that I was almost paralyzed and I still didn't see my chiropractor that often.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Julie, this is a tough question for me to address... before my stroke I, too, believed that manipulative therapy was my only alternative for relief of the pain I suffered. Since that time, however, I have found that exercise, stress-therapy and medication has done the job just as well as the chiropractor. You may not have the same results and chiropractic care may be something you want to stick with.

      What is most important and the whole reason I am telling my story, is that you are making decisions about your treatment with all the information about the risks and benefits available. I am not blaming the chiropractic industry for my stroke but I do believe that they should step up and admit that there is a chance-- even if it is a very, very slight chance-- that manipulative therapy to your neck can cause a stroke in some people. And if you smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, or take an oral birth control or some other medications, the risks can be greater.

      I can't tell you for sure that if I had known that before any of the times I had visited my chiropractor three-times a week for a year and a half that I would have changed my mind and searched for a different option, but at least I would have had that choice...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am very sorry that this happened to you and I wish you continued success in your recovery. I am currently seeing a chiropractor and while I won't stop seeing him, I was wondering what your thoughts were on an alternative to a musculoskeletal injury that will only respond to manipulative therapy? I live in the states so there are very few osteopaths that practice manipulative medicine and my PT wouldn't touch me.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 7 years ago

      In response to Dr. Evan Carter's comments above... I am not dismissing the entire chiropractic industry, rather I am suggesting that the industry admit that the treatment performed may be a contributing factor (along with other lifestyle stress factors) to stroke. In fact, it is the chiropractic industry that dismisses the claims of the hundreds of people like me who have discovered that they have allowed themselves to be subjected to a procedure without being informed of all the risks.

      Chiropractors, will not have a job if patients stop believing that their treatment doesn't "cure" all the physical conditions and I can reference several cardiologists that disagree with your opinion and the "claims" of the chiropractic industry... many of which can be found on this lens.

    • profile image

      chiropractorbuford 7 years ago

      Nice post about chiropractic treatment and service from chiropractor. As a chiropractor I like it because it is a natural method to relief from nerve related problems and free from side effects.

      I have read your content all of are informative and useful. You not a chiropractor but you have add a more about chiropractic. Congratulation.

      Thanks for sharing good lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'll start by admitting to a bias, I am a chiropractor. I feel badly that you had a stroke which you attribute to a chiropractic adjustment, and I wanted to clear the air from a liberal chiropractic perspective. I would never say that the possibility of stroke is impossible. In fact, I warn my patients that there is indeed a risk. The risk however has been studied to be less than 1 in 1,000,000 cervical diversified patient visits. As a chiropractor, any technique I use on my patients, has been used on me during the learning process. If there was a risk of stroke that was tangible, I would not let someone perform this maneuver on me. Also, the incidence of stroke with a chiropractic adjustment has proven to be less than the incidence following aspirin injestion or a shampooing at a salon. Unfortunately, it is my belief that because many chiropractors simply adjust patients regardless of the problem, they might be taking poor histories and doing poor exams. I think many of the people who "get a stroke from an adjustment", were actually presenting to the chiropractor with symptoms of a stroke already under way. Due to unfocused interview techniques, it's very likely that an off focused chiropractor would miss this important diagnosis. This leaves the patient thinking one thing, "the adjustment must have caused the stroke, because I didn't have it before I went in." Let me give some of the warning signs of stroke for anyone on here who is concerned they are at risk. First and foremost, middle aged women are most likely to have an artery dissection, not elderly folks. If you are having "the worst headache ever", or a chronic headache in the same area of the head every time it is possible you are suffering from the warning signs of stroke. Blacking out, passing out, and total memory losses are obvious reasons a responsible chiropractor would send you immediately to a hospital for further testing. Lastly, if your vision is impaired and you are experiencing intense dull or pulsing neck pain, you should report to the emergency room. I hope this was helpful in dispelling some of the concerned with a chiropractic adjustment. I would be happy to answer any questions or comments any readers of this blog have regarding what I have said here.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 8 years ago

      [in reply to Are you going to actually post this one?]

      OK. I think this study was done in 2008: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195663?ordina... and states: CONCLUSIONS: Weak to moderately strong evidence exists to support causation between CMT and VAD and associated stroke.

      I know there is a lot of information out there-- I have read reports claiming both sides of the story. Have you browsed through the other information on this lens? As far as I can tell, there is a real question about whether or not chiropractic care is safe or effective.

      It is not really that much time that I am devoting to this cause. In fact, I wish I could spend more time informing people of the possible risks. I understand that this is the chiropractor's livelihood that we are talking about here... but it was my life that we are talking about.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 8 years ago

      [in reply to Are you going to actually post this one?]

      My lens. I will post what I want. There is plenty of chiropractic organization-funded propaganda out there to counter. I did not publish your last post because I felt it was rude and condescending and you didn't identify yourself with any more than an arrogant "realist". I had a "real" stroke and do not appreciate nor need your false sympathy.

      I would suspect, from your persistence, that you are a part of the chiropractic community and have, therefore, been conditioned to not accept any argument that does not put the practice in the best light (which is understandable) but in the interest of fairness I am going to post your comments in an effort to open a forum of discussion. I would ask, however, that you follow a few guidelines:

      I am not a doctor, but I am not an idiot either... please don't treat me like one.

      No personal attacks on me or any other contributor or their beliefs.

      Let us know who you are so we know your agenda.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to Skeeeeeetz]

      The contradicting study you cited was 6 years old. The one I used was 1 year old. The vast majority of "research" listed on those chiropractic-induced stroke websites is 10 years old. We want to look to the current literature. This is the only way to progress in academia and get the truth. I know if someone close to me had a stroke, I would look very diligently to determine what caused it, so I do feel for you. I'm sure you don't have an agenda, but I believe that you were misled somewhere along the way by people who do have an anti-chiropractic agenda. I can't understand how you can devote so much time and energy to something you can't possibly know for sure even caused your stroke. You are entitled to your opinion, but this isn't an opinion matter. This is research and data. The danger is that your efforts are scaring people, who could potentially experience the only relief they've ever had in their lives, from receiving safe, effective treatment.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 8 years ago

      I have recently received several responses to this lens and Answers on Yahoo that accused me of attacking the chiropractic community without the scientific research to back my claims. The individual-- a chiropractic student and researcher-- tried to site a study at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204390.

      I am not a student or professional researcher, but I am not an idiot, either and I have a right to have my own opinion. I have no hidden agenda (unlike the chiropractic community that has a financial motivation) and just want to inform the public that there are risks in cervical manipulation.

      There are many other studies out there contradict the one you listed, even on the same page that you referenced: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12743225?ordina...

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 8 years ago

      Hey Chris,

      I thought you might be interested in this:

      This is interesting- LifeWest (chiro school) has posted notes on vertebral artery dissection (VAD) (which can lead to stroke).

      http://www.lifewest.edu/classnotes/hipaa/vad81502....

      Read down, and you’ll see they list chiro as a cause of VAD. Most chiros have been denying any such connection and/or claiming it is so rare as to be inconsequential. One can only hope the school tells it students to absolutely stop cracking people’s necks.[in reply to Chris Denny]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Scott,

      Thank you for helping to spread the word. I will post your personal story on www.VertebralArteryDissection.com and include a link to your site there as well.

      Any additional information you share will be helpful as I am soon beginning a campaign of press releases in addition to the site.

      After three years, I have been contacted by sooo many people who've had VAD and now even neurologists and other specialists are starting to contact me. I consider it to be great progress.

      Keep up the great work.

      Chris

    • profile image

      jenndsp 8 years ago

      Nice job, Babe. I know this is important to you.

    • profile image

      DoctorSJ 8 years ago

      There are lots of people who have had strokes following chiropractic neck manipulations. One case well documented recently is that of Sandy Nette. Her website is http://sandynette.com . Her story is truly heartbreaking.

      As a former chiropractor myself, a graduate of Life University in Marietta, Georgia, I can tell you that chiropractic is quackery, pure and simple. The evidence for chiropractic treatment is lacking but the risk of stroke is real. Some chiropractors routinely manipulate necks on ALL patients. At my chiropractic college, we were taught to do this to "correct" imaginary subluxations (the lesion chiropractors claim to treat which has never been shown to exist).

      Any neck manipulations -- if they are ever truly a good option -- should be done by a healthcare provider trained in science (PT, MD, DO, etc.) because the other real problem with chiropractors is that they are not properly trained in medical diagnosis, and might not REFER you to a real doctor when CRITICAL.

    • Skeeeeeetz profile image
      Author

      Skeeeeeetz 8 years ago

      A lens is a Web Page that can be built by everyday, ordinary people without having to know a lot of html code or have an IT degree using FREE tools that Squidoo provides. I have 14 lenses now that I use to promote my cafepress shop or just for fun! This is my most important lens, though, as I am using it to raise awareness of Chiropractic Stroke and contribute to the charitable organization, StrokeNet.

      You can try it out for your own cause for free->>> http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/referral/Skeeeee...

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great info, What is a lens?