Often times people in our office ask us “Does Chiropractic Care cause strokes?” And the simple and easy answer is “NO, chiropractic care does not cause strokes”. Today we review two studies done by Cassidy et al. One in 2010 on the vertebrobasilar artery (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204390), and one in 2016 on Carotid artery dissection (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204390). Both of these papers published in prestigious medical journals showed a resounding “NO”, chiropractic care does not increase the risk of having a stroke. What they did find was that there is an association, which means that often times people who have strokes realize there is a problem and they seek out medical or chiropractic services.
A patient may come to a Chiropractic office with a stroke already in progress that isn’t caught or diagnosed. However, most of the patients that Chiropractors see are treating for post-concussion syndrome, facial pain or paralysis, musculoskeletal pain of the arm face or neck, and/or have numbness or weakness of a limb. These symptoms typically indicate a patient is experiencing a really bad flare-up, but they can also be signs of a stroke and it telling the difference can be very difficult. So there is no causation of chiropractic care and strokes, but we can see a correlation.
The signs of stroke are represented by the acronym FAST: Face (does one side of the face droop, particularly noticeable when smiling), Arm (when you raise both arms does one arm drift downward), Speech (is your speech slurred or irregular), and Time (time to call ER or 911). If you think you are having a stroke, or know of someone that has, call 911 immediately. The sooner they get to the ER the sooner the bleed or clot may be detected, imaged, diagnosed, and treated.
When it comes to risk, it’s important to understand the numbers. There are many things that we do on a daily basis that are very dangerous. The statistics that I like to use to put the risk of chiropractic care in perspective are reproduced below:
Number of events per 10 million people in the US:
Death from spinal fusion surgery: 200,000 in 10 million
Death from cervical or neck surgery: 68,966 in 10 million
Death from hospital mistake: 60,000 in 10 million
Death from laminectomy or spine surgery: 50,000 in 10 million
Death from Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, or Motrin prolonged use: 8,333 in 10 million
Paralysis or stroke from back or neck surgery: 7,143 in 10 million
Death from automobile accident: 1,500 in 10 million
Stroke from Birth Control Pills: 417 in 10 million
Getting struck by lightning: 14 in 10 million
Death from Aviation accident: 5 in 10 million
Stroke associated with seeing a Chiropractor: 2 in 10 million
If you have questions please call our office at 802-441-5223. We partner with Arete Chiropractic in Portsmouth, NH to provide subsidized Upper Cervical Chiropractic care to active duty military, veterans, and those in financial need. The benefits far out weight the risks for Chiropractic care!!! Call us today to find out more about how we can help your body be a better place to live!