Forceful Chiropractic Manipulations Damage ArteriesArterial Injury can Cause a Stroke
Chiropractic care is often sought for neck pain and headaches. Certain chiropractic manipulations involve rapid movements that place significant stress on the neck. Within the neck there are vertebral arteries and carotid arteries. Trauma to these arteries by a chiropractor performing manipulations may result in the formation of blood clots that travel to the brain and result in strokes.
The underlying injury is a vertebral or carotid artery dissection. These are typically caused by abrupt spontaneous movements of the cervical spine. These injuries have been documented following chiropractic manipulations. A chiropractor should perform manipulations with care to avoid trauma to the arteries. Some chiropractors may attempt to avoid responsibility for strokes by obtaining the consent of patients to manipulations with an understanding that the procedure may involve the risk of a stroke. This is known as informed consent.