Bad news if you love a good chiropractic visit. Neck adjustments, also known as cervical manipulative therapy, increases your risk for cervical tears or dissections. According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, these tears can lead to strokes.
For now, any relationship between your visits to the chiropractor and stroke risks have yet to be firmly established. Still, both associations want physicians and chiropractors to warn patients of the possible risks associated with the therapy.
Jose Biller, the author of the scientific statement discussed the announcement in a press release. “Most dissections involve some trauma, stretch or mechanical stress. “Sudden movements that can hyperextend or rotate the neck — such as whiplash, certain sports movements, or even violent coughing or vomiting — can result in CD, even if they are deemed inconsequential by the patient.”
“Although a cause-and-effect relationship between these therapies and CD has not been established and the risk is probably low, CD can result in serious neurological injury.”
So, the risk is low. At the same time, you probably don’t want to have neck adjustments just because. If it’s medically necessary, then great. What the American Stroke Association needs to do now is study the neck adjustments, and drill down exactly how much risk there is to the patient.
One wonders if the risk comes from the adjustment, or therapy not being done correctly. Human error could come into play here, and that’s where the risk could be. Expect studies to start popping up discussing any possible relationship between strokes and neck adjustments.